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No One Loves Nigeria

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Author: By Eric Osagie
Posted to the web: 6/11/2005 6:27:14 AM

Do you love your country? Well, you may be in the minority if you say you do.
 The truth is: majority of Nigerians don’t love Nigeria. They don’t believe in Nigeria. Nigeria is a poor, pathetic orphan. Raped at dusk in its formative years. Badly sucked and squeezed at adolescence. And now disparaged by its citizens in its adulthood, because it has been unable to provide them a reason to love her. Poor country! Of course, there is every reason to feel sorry for Nigeria: A giant with the feet of a dwarf. A nation full of hopes that has turned into hopelessness. Anation filled with promises at birth, the promise of a great kid that has simply refused to walk. Stuck to the wheel chair of despair and motionlessness. Enveloped in a long hatred and turf fight amongst brothers. Who will love a child of hate? A child of rape? A strange kid fathered in a perpetually acrimonious union? We all pretend to love Nigeria. We speak of one, indivisible nation, but each time we speak in a gathering of clans, it is the language of bile that spew out of our mouths, our hearts are filled with the spirit of hate for those we call brothers. We fight for tribe rather than nation. We speak the language of ethnicity rather than nationhood. To many Nigerians, Nigeria may well be an abstract term existing in the realm of imagination, not a reality in substantive terms. Something the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, once described as a mere “geographical expression.”Awo was right. We are not yet a nation. We are several nations pretending to be one nation, and doing everything possible, knowingly and unknowingly, to retreat to our ethnic enclaves. We may call ourselves one nation, but we don’t behave as one nation. We don’t speak the language of one nation or one people.We are a nation in perpetual search of unity. Little wonder, progress and prosperity continue to elude us. How can there be progress when there is no unity? How can there be prosperity when those who lead us can’t speak with one voice? When most of them shouldn’t even be in positions of authority? When they don’t believe in Nigeria? And why should any one believe in what may ultimately be a mirage?I am sad and concerned as I write this piece. Sad for a nation without nationals. Sad for a nation with prodigal kids, who have been busy destroying rather than building. A nation many don’t share its vision, because the visioners have largely been unable to define that vision and how to go about realizing that vision. Instead, what we get are platitudes and exhortations, urging all to love their country, without ever defining the essence of our nationhood or why love should germinate overnight after a long stretch of the reign of scavengers who have been punishing us with the evils of their satanic outing?You don’t need to go too far to see in practical terms the drift of my argument. The on-going national political conference in Abuja presents for every one a classic case of how majority of our political elite have abandoned the concept of Nigeria. Almost every one who has spoken at the conference has come out more as an ethnic champion rather than a nationalist. Sorry, there are no more nationalists around since the days of the Ziks, Herbert Macaulays etc. The northern delegates at the confab have been speaking for the north; ditto the south-south; south-west; south-east; middle-belt etc. No one is speaking for Nigeria, yet the conference is supposed to be about the Nigerian project. Yet all the agitation for political space and the 2007 is supposed to be about who controls the political soul of the nation. Isn’t it ironic and tragic that Nigerians[?] will gather to discuss the Nigerian project only to retreat into ethnic and tribal cocoons? Something definitely is wrong somewhere. And what is wrong, dear brothers and sisters, is that Nigeria has not been operated on the basis of fairness and justice. Nigeria is a nation of injustices. It’s a nation that hasn’t done its duty by the weak and the powerless. A nation that flaunts might and affluence.Oppresses the poor, and dares the cheated to go take a dive in the lagoon. How can there be love and happiness where there is no justice? Why, for example, should the land of the black gold be cursed with poverty? Why should a group of people be consigned to the pathetic lot of drawers of water and fetchers of wood, simply because they belong to minority ethnic groups? Why should there be thousands of dying poor in a land that ought to be flowing with milk and honey? Why should those who lead us be getting fatter, while we the people are suffocating in poverty? Why should only a tiny cabal be trying to foist on us again a leader we don’t need in 2007? Why then should anyone blame the people if they don’t love a country that sadly reminds them of everything except equality of persons and privileges? All these posers, I guess, should interest those who genuinely preach love of the fatherland. Love of country by countrymen and women. Love of Nigeria by Nigerians.The problem, certainly, is not with the common folks. It is with those who haven’t been able to properly define Nigeria, the Nigerian and the aspiration of the Nigerian. Until that is done, we will continue to live with the sad reality of a Nigeria without Nigerians. Too bad, too sad!
WABARA: LONELIEST GUY IN THE SENATE Wednesday, June 1, 2005, was the birthday of former Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara. No drums rolled. No trumpets were sounded. No champagne flowed, at least not publicly. Not even a whimper, not to talk of a bang.Apart from a public show of affection in the newspapers by his wife, Felicia, the day would have passed unnoticed, unheralded.
Yet, in his days of power, the newspapers and magazines would have been filled with several congratulatory messages by family, friends and foes, as well as, the ubiquitous sycophants always hanging around the corridors of power. Not anymore. Wabara made the grievous mistake of allowing power to slip off his fingers, for whatever reasons. Now, he knows the meaning of loneliness. He surely now must have time for deep reflections: nothing is forever. Power is a transient visitor.
Indeed, power or the Senate presidency, may be the least of Wabara’s problems at the moment. He is battling not to make history as the first ex-Senate President to go into the dark room, where all dreams go crashing before the dreamer. Life, oh life!

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