During my early teenage years, I was fascinated by epic stories; enthralled by accounts of the heroic deeds of the rulers, warriors, statesmen and other exceptional minds of ages past. My late father, Joseph Idumebor Obuseh, noticed my love for adventure books and spared no costs in ensuring that my voracious appetite for books was constantly nourished by supplying me with some of the most sought-after masterpieces available, especially those with strong historical backgrounds. So, before the age of twenty, I had read classics such as: Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, Guns of August, Battle Cry of freedom: The Civil War Era, Bhagavad Gita, John Adams, The Odyssey, Cleopatra: A life, The Twelve Caesars, all the works of Shakespeare, along with several other classic pieces of literature I could lay my hands on. Of all these fascinating books, those on American history made the deepest impressions on my young mind.
American history is replete with the exploits of its illustrious leaders and peoples who strove, in concord, to establish the “home of the brave and land of the free” as we have it today; accounts of the heroic deeds of the mighty men and women of substance who stood up to be counted when it mattered most; exceptional individuals whose deeds have continued to define the currents of the times; the select species of individuals who defied all daunting odds to perform mind-blowing feats; irrepressible champions who strove to defy both natural and manmade limitations in building a nation founded on the foundations of liberty, freedom and justice; indomitable gladiators whose foot prints are boldly etched in the sands of great American heroes; mighty minds who – through dints of sheer bravery and sacrificial dispositions to protecting the values of family and country – rewrote the history of their nation and turned around the fortunes of their people for good.
Outstanding political leaders such as Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy et al; writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thomas Pain, Henry David Thoreau et al; military leaders such as Ulysses Grant, John Paul Jones, Gen. Robert E. Lee, Col. Jimmy Doolittle, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhoweret al; and other patriots, too numerous to mention, saw the U.S through the most difficult times of her history. These men and women, against all odds, when others cringed in fear, stood up to be counted by taking up the sacred assignments of fighting for the establishment and nurturing of the U.S, as we have it today.It is the dividends of the hard work of these American champions that their descendants enjoy today. No wonder Americans are now known as the proudest human beings on planet earth; a people who see themselves as God’s own people living in God’s own country; a select breed of Homo Sapiens singled out by divine oracular fiat to exercise dominion over the rest of mankind. For a land overflowing with milk and honey, where everybody can aspire to be the best that they can be, America fits the classic description of a real life Eldorado; a land of exceeding possibilities where a man’s dreams can truly come true.All thanks to the efforts of their heroes past (and present), Americans can raise their heads anywhere in the world and say: “We are Americans and we are proud people”.
Apart from perusing the impressive chronicles of America’s evolution, I have also read several impressive works on the lives and works of some great Nigerians; accounts of the breathtaking deeds of some illustrious sons of Africa’s most populous country; stories of the evolution of the most naturally endowed treasure chest populated by the some of the most gifted beings on planet earth. The stirring, striking and awe-inspiring foot prints of some iconoclastic Nigerians – some of who qualify as true heroes – might tempt one into drawing a parallel between Nigeria and the U.S.
However, any attempt at such juxtaposition throws up contrasting pictures. The truth is that comparing the evolutionary history of the U.S – as defined by its people, especially its leaders – with that of Nigeria – as defined by Nigerians – is like comparing the Northern and Southern stars; an exercise that is bound to sap any sane mind of all its energy; a wasteful, pitiful and ultimately futile excursion in every sense of the word. Nigeria, unlike the U.S, lacks real heroes in the true sense of the word; lacks men and women who believe in the ideals on which their country was founded and who work assiduously to protect, sustain and promote them; bereft of patriots with altruistic dispositions – fearless loyalists who, above every other consideration, remain faithful, loyal and honest to the Nigerian State and its defining principles.
In the midst of the rank rot that has become the lot of the Nigerian State and its people over the years, consequent to the villainous dispositions of its past and contemporary crop of leaders, in tandem with the docility of the larger population to the systemic bowdlerization of their fatherland, the need for the emergence of true patriots to arrest the gradual rotting away of the system has become very expedient. Today, Nigeria wallows in a tar pit of confusion, despair and hopelessness; a mazy, hazy, dark and dank labyrinth from which there seems to be no escape; an avoidable condition that is the direct result of several years of clueless leadership and blind followership. The shameful conduct of Nigeria’s past and contemporary crop of leaders, paints stark pictures of a country in free-fall – images of a country being sucked into a gigantic black hole.
Nigeria, like the U.S, is a country that is extravagantly blessed by the Almighty God. It has all the resources – human and natural – that can turn it into one of the richest, most powerful and influential countries in the world – a vast treasure chest that has remained a perennial underachiever, despite the potentials available to it and its people. But unlike the U.S, which has been able to leverage on its resources to become the greatest global power the world has ever known, Nigeria has failed to translate its potentials into the finished product it is supposed to have become since its creation; a heavyweight that spars with amateurs; a King-Kong trapped in a wooden cage; the sick man of Africa, so to speak.
Come to think of it, who are really Nigeria’s heroes? Are they the thieving rulers – not leaders – who mercilessly rob the people of their commonwealth? Are they the vicious hit men – operators of the machinery of governance – on the prowl who are guilty of some of the most reprehensibly horrendous crimes against humanity? Are they the selfish ingots who are pre-occupied with lining their pockets and those of their cronies with ill-gotten wealth, at the expense of providing the greatest good for the greatest number? Are they the ethnic, tribal and religious bigots who have kept this country divided since its creation? Are they the class-conscious Illuminati who have created a caste system comprising of the superrich and desperately poor? Are they the manipulators of the political processes – the election fixers? Are they the conflict instigators and entrepreneurs who don’t give a hoot whether Nigeria remains one or not? Or are they the cowardly citizens who are afraid of fighting for change?
Those masquerading as Nigerian heroes are actually devil incarnates with selfish demeanours; eaters of flesh and drinkers of blood whose treacheries are well documented; false apostles of political correctness whose infamies are legion; masters of doublespeak whose false doctrines bewilders the populace; power mongers who have been absolutely corrupted by their love for a fleeting ideal; saboteurs who have no love for the country and its people; enemies of light who are committed to keeping the people in darkness. Unfortunately, some Nigerians, either out of primordial loyalties, or gro
ss ignorance, sacrilegiously call elements like these, “heroes”. No wonder the country continues to levitate over a bottomless pit. Simply put, some members of the larger politic – the masses – are accessories to the damning crimes being targeted at them by the traditional traducers in the country – the local comprador elements who have kept this country off course since its birth.
According to Edmund Burk, “evil thrives when good men keep silent” (emphasis added). Nigeria has remained a dilapidated project partly – if not wholly – because its people have been tolerant and quiescent in the face of the visceral intransigencies of their leaders. They have watched while a little cloud turned into a mighty squall; buried their heads in the sand while things fall apart around them. Like their leaders, they qualify as traitors for failing to check the country’s gradual descent into oblivion of the atavistic kind. By omission and commission, the citizenry have aided and abetted the decapitators of this country in their inglorious mission. That is the fact of the matter. Nigerians have simply relinquished power to those to whom it is not due.
If Nigeria is to get out of the doldrums, both the leaders and the led must rise up to the daunting challenges of nation building. Nigerians, this is not the time to stay pigeonholed in your hellish comfort zones; not the time to contemplate, any more, on what to do. It is time for all stakeholders in the project to strike off together, in unison, in the collective task of building a Nigeria every Nigerian can be proud of. For the leaders, on whose tables the buck stops, duty calls on you to begin to perform the fiduciary responsibilities as defined by the privileged offices you occupy. You must rethink your selfish dispositions to governance by seeking to redeem yourselves from past misdemeanours’.The rudders of governance are in your hands; use them wisely that the ships you navigate may sail safely to their destinations. You should endeavour to write your names in gold, that future generations may look back proudly to your glorious days and say,” indeed, those were good old days when men were men; days when our leaders strove to build a nation founded on the principles of justice, equality, freedom and liberty”. Great leaders don’t just lead, they inspire.
For the citizenry, the time has come for you to rise up to the challenges of building a truly virile Nigerian nation. It is your primary duty to save Nigeria from the strangulating sleeper hold of the taskmasters who have led her astray for so long.Americans and the citizens of other prosperous sovereign states enjoy the good life today because their ancestors set a precedent of closely censoring the conduct of their leaders; a tradition that has been successively carried into the current dispensation. “Nothing good comes easy”, as the age-long maxim goes. The time has come to begin to walk the walk just as you talk the talk. Great nations are not built on pipe dreams, but on deliberate, constructive and well-targeted actions. That is the only way out of this avoidable national mess.
Nigeria needs true heroes, who are ready to sacrifice their all for the common good of all – not self-seeking individuals without direction. Nigeria needs people of character, courage, and ability to inspire to change the course of its history. The Americas of today were not created by super humans, but by mere mortals who utilized the resources the good Lord made abundantly available to them. Nigerians can do the same, despite the gargantuan challenges facing the republic. All that is needed for change to occur is for brave men and women to rise up to the occasion and committing themselves totally to the sacred task of re-inventing and re-engineering Nigeria. It will require unalloyed sacrifice, excessive passion and indefatigable commitment to change this country for the better. No effort will be too minute or too much to rescue this country.
God save Nigeria!