By LIVINUS UKAH
Who is really a patriotic Nigerian today? Is it the man with coat of many colours or a man of different ideological garb? Many pretend to be good Nigerians in order to obtain political posts. Is Alhaji Lai Mohammed; the Minister of Culture and Information a truly patriotic Nigerian by approving the rehabilitation of “repented” Boko Haram Members and bandits but condemns the UK’s planned granting of Asylum to IPOB and MASSOB’s members? Where is the truth coming from? Is it from the ideological religious bent or through Nigerian’s political construct? Nigerians always see his statements not as a Minister of Information but more like a party spokesman because his statements are always twisted and politically coloured to protect party cohorts. Before he speaks we have already known what he wants to say! He is a rustic politician who doesn’t mind what he says and how people respond to it.
With the current situation of Nigeria today, everybody is just desperate to survive. Everybody plays Machiavellian politics. This is why we have a lot of killings, betrayal of trusts, using bad means to make money and even reintegrating Boko Haram members into the society because they belong to the same tribe and religion. The desperation leads to bringing people from neighboring countries to become Nigerians without proper checks which undermine our security system. Everybody is called a Nigerian! How can we be true Nigerians when we don’t share same ideologies? When giving appointments, we play multiple games; Nigeria, our religion and our tribe and forget to be patriotic. We can destroy or sell our country for a plate of porridge. We have seen many Nigerians with extremist religious ideologies who still came back to take sensitive government posts. How are these amenable? If government belongs to their camps, they are given political space without background checks. Now who is truly a patriotic Nigerian? Are they from the North, West, East or South? Why are people from other states interfering with others in other states? Why the supplies of guns from unknown sources? Is it to kill ourselves? Is being a Nigerian a Myth? Is it believable with the atrocities we commit in our so-called country because of money?
In the search for truly patriotic Nigerians, one can ask if the current Government establishments harbor them. But in all earnest, those with patriotic mindsets even lose it when they join any of the establishments due to pressure to follow their current sharp practices. If you want to act otherwise, you either risk being fired or killed! They deviate from what supposed to be followed. Sharp practices now become a norm. Many do their “government jobs” with half minds and become more active in the lip-singing for the ruling party of the day. Nobody wants to be truly involved to change the ailing system. Even the politicians try to escape from the mess they create by sending their children abroad to study and going on long medical tourism including the president while our medical and Educational systems remain in comatose. We have enough funds to strengthen our medical and educational systems but we keep sabotaging them.
Nigeria is a country of number not a country of political ideology where people can come together and learn about its governance. The politicians are part of the backward games in Nigeria. They are part of Nigerian problems. They play this game because our political system is not well developed and it favours them. Politicians overseas cater for their people and make sure they fulfill their campaign promises to them but it is not the case here. During campaigns, our politicians and wives can do several unimaginable things to make people believe they are with them and can connect to the grassroots. They jump around dishing out heavy promises while distributing foods to the hungry masses. Immediately they win elections and get their largesse, they return to their cocoons, some relocate from their old neighborhoods and come back to visit with heavily armed entourage and tinted glass cars. They become inaccessible to the people that elected them and only manage to wave them from afar with skeptical smiles. That is their political stupidity and gains because they fail to know that there is another election. The electorates are supposed to sharpen their senses to avoid them in next elections and avoid continuous mistakes in their lives.
In Nigeria now everyone struggles to survive on their own since the government doesn’t care for them anymore. The law makers are struggling to sponsor funny frivolous bills instead of making laws to benefit the citizens. It was in the news recently how a law maker proposed a bill to create a database for cattle and goats! This is funny. More priority is given to cows than human beings going by what we see and hear every day.
Nigeria is becoming like the Middle East where you are not sure of returning home after going out and even America where the struggle between the police and the black is eternal. In Nigeria we hear all kinds of News on banditry, their actions and how an Army shut down camp in Niger as the bandits abducted 15 persons. We hear of police brutality all over. We hear them say they have a fresh attack and needs money to tackle it. We also heard of suspected herdsmen killed in Benue and Buhari assisting Northern governors to end the war. Now Imo state and other south eastern states are boiling. How much political oxygen is in Buhari’s statement? Some Northern governors are asking for help. Why would they keep being at the receiving end?
Are Nigerians really patriotic and honest? Recently Twitter and Hyudai chose Ghana over Nigeria to establish their African headquarters which made the Minister of information blame Nigerians for being unpatriotic through their utterances. If Nigeria had the basic infrastructures and favourable economic climate, utterances from the citizens would never matter because investors look out for viable environment which Ghana offers. With this action, can we still call Nigeria the giant of Africa? Nigeria is fast losing her relevance due to poor governance. Even our leaders that preach patriotism are not patriotic; they go for medical tourism abroad, send their children abroad and import virtually all they use. Ina recent interview, one foreign CEO mentioned that the reason Innonson Motors is suffering a setback is because Nigerians don’t like indigenous products. That is the fact! If distinguished Senators of Nigeria could reject Innonson motors and request for Toyota and others, tell me where we are heading to.
The politicians know how to get us during election but many Nigerians are now more informed. If you look at what is happening now, you will find out that Nigeria has lost its vibe and energy. Everything is packaging to attract those who are not really deeply rooted in politics. They know how to use the divide-and-rule strategy to disunite us not to speak with one voice. Their attitude towards governance has made the masses lose faith in politicians and the country.
This is the major reason for lack of patriotism among the citizens. Patriotism brings great development in any country and it cannot be forced on the citizens because they become patriotic voluntarily.
Very Rev. Msgr. Ukah