BabT

Olorunfemi Babatunde

Nigeria: A Nation Without Conscience?

“Make straight the way of the Lord” cried John the Baptist, forerunner of Jesus Christ. His earthly assignment was to call the people of Israel to repentance and prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. The bible records John as a righteous and fearless man. These rare attributes eventually saw him beheaded – He died for what he lived for and believed in.

For me, writing about Nigeria is sometimes painful, yet a patriotic exercise. I liken it to a parent who has given up on an errant child but decide to try one last time. I have reached a point where my hope for a better Nigeria is hinged only on HOPE. At the moment, the pointers to a prosperous Nigeria are largely elusive.

Nigerians are not unawares of the problems plaguing the nation. At the root of our many problems is lack of good leadership. Proper diagnoses of our leadership problems do not spare the followership of faults. We have a followership that is active in talking, finding faults but missing in action when it counts – at the polls. Are you 18 years old or more? Do you have your voter’s card? Don’t tell me votes don’t count in Nigeria – it’s the lamest excuse to give and I find it unacceptable.

During election, we all seem to focus on the “big” positions – Presidency and Governorship; we forget that every piece in the puzzle count. Going forward, we must ensure to give importance to Local Government Chairmen, Councillorship and House of Assembly elections.

We risk nursing a population that revel in trivialities on social media and lose contact with reality. It is an eternal truth that politicians who are well connected with the grass root and understand the language of the people are the ones that are victorious at the polls. How can technology be deployed by well-meaning and good intentioned political office hopefuls in engaging the grass root? Are there politicians and mobile App developers thinking in this line? Is there a value that can be delivered to the farmer, petty market woman, aging and students through a mobile app? or all we can do is throw banters on Facebook and WhatsApp while nursing a pitiable space for the unborn generation?

What values do you espouse as a Nigerian? As a Man of God, do you teach the truth from the pulpit without fear of who the truth pebbles hit? Do you charge your members who hold leadership positions in government to deliver on their mandates? Do you call them to meetings or write them letters appraising their performance and admonishing them as Apostle Paul would have done? As a doctor in a government hospital, do you sacrifice your duty for your private practice leaving the fate of dying men/women in the hands of interns? As a Youth Corp member are you impacting knowledge at your place of primary assignment or you made yourself a god to be served? As a Civil Servant, how devoted are you in the discharge of your responsibilities? As a teacher, how are you shaping the future of learners under your care?

It is true that the world is becoming a global village, should we not care about our side of the village? Search your mind for what you are contributing to the current state of the Nigerian nation. Like John the Baptist can you say you were sent to the people of Nigeria by God for a purpose? Can you say you are living for what you believe in? What are you living for? What do you believe in? We all must treat Nigeria as good parents treat their Children, giving, loving and working selflessly to ensuring a great future for them not minding the cost and price paid.

The soul of this nation is a summation of the consciences of her citizens. We all cannot be playing victims of failed leadership when those positions are occupied by our brothers and sisters and will probably be occupied by us and our sons and daughters sometime in the future. Take this piece as a call for examination of conscience and call to repentance. Lets give Nigeria a chance to be the Great Nation God destines it to be. Arise o Compatriot and lets make our Nation the pride and bride of Africa.

Photo Credit: therenaissanceng.com

My Grouse with the Fathers and Charge to the Sons

Whispers of America, Gods own country….” shifted my focus to the average height chocolate skinned teenager soliloquizing in the bus. She continued “I will get the American Visa one day, my application may have been turned down, I will try again!” she ended her reflection with, “America, Gods own country”.

I have witnessed the young and old alike give testimonies of how God helped them secure Visa to escape the Nigerian Nightmare. On a daily basis, thousands of Nigerians are praying, fasting, wishing and hoping that one day they will obtain a Visa to their dream country. Sad as this development may seem, it is our reality, the Nigerian reality.

I will not dwell on how we got here or who is to blame. However, I am baffled how a Nation with over 180 million inhabitants manages more evil, greedy and selfish citizens than the good and sensible ones – our choices during elections and how we allow leaders divide us along ethnic and religious line buttresses this position.

For successive governments, free and qualitative education is too much luxury to bequeath the Nigerian child, stable electricity remains elusive to the Nigerian entrepreneur and citizens. I sometime ask myself, “What is the Nigerian dream?” You have an answer? What values and vision drives and bind us as a Nation? The absence of a Nigerian dream explains why foundational cracks of mistrust, ethnicity, and greed surfaced, thrives and continue to dwarf our growth. These narratives must change.

We must not toe the path of our fathers; successive leaders who hold back the development of this nation with the “National Cake theory”, “Chop I Chop formula”, “Padi Padi syndrome” and the “Man know Man policies”.

How do we chart a new course for our Nation? Should we expect a Messiah? Should we take on the traits of the long awaited Messiah? My charge to you, young Nigerian; you are the hope and lifeline of Nigeria.

Coincidentally, I am publishing this article on the 87th Posthumous Birthday of Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe put Nigeria on the world map for writing and his intellectual prowess. Like Chinua, we must put Nigeria on the world map for excellence. It is no surprise to see him honoured by Google – did you see the Google doodle today? (It’s pictured in the image posted with this article). It may also interest you to know that Chinua Achebe is one of the personalities whose indigenous names are recognized by the Microsoft Office Word dictionary.

The potentials and abilities of the Nigerian youth are never in doubt. As individuals and as a collective, we must begin to channel our talents, resources and intellect towards changing our narrative and moving this nation forward. Let us join hands to save Nigeria from ethnicity, religious extremism and corruption.

The black man (in my opinion) is catastrophically self-centered. We can change this mindset by contributing our quota to the nation’s development, knowing well that building a prosperous Nation is the best present we can gift the upcoming and unborn generation.

2019 is around the corner, ensure to be part of the electoral process and join to hold our leaders accountable and responsible for their representation.

To Nigerians living in the Diaspora; NEVER forget your roots. The developed nation you now call home was built by humans. Therefore, do not fail to contribute your quota to the making of a prosperous Nigeria.

I am positive that Nigeria will wake up from her slumber someday; the day you and I decide that we are the long awaited messiah of change and begin to do things right within our sphere of influence. LET’S DO IT. YES, WE CAN!