May God bless our nation, Nigeria. I am beginning to understand the conventional axiom that says that you do not know what you have until it is gone. I pray we don’t get to that point. I have always nursed the belief that Nigeria is nowhere close to greatness but not until I discovered some “hidden truth” about the nation. I am not just trying to be patriotic as many reading this may think. I am rather being realistic. This does not also imply that I am turning deaf ears and blind sight to the happenings in my country.
Nigeria, no doubt is endowed with manifold natural resources that if properly harnessed and utilised under a leadership of a God-fearing and visionary leader will pedal the country to its pinnacle. Failure to see the fruition of this has made us to lament, throw tantrums and bite our fingers in utmost disappointment and displeasure. Consequently, we become inevitably blind to our potentials.
Every nation has different strengths and weaknesses. The most successful people are those that were able to identify their dream and harness their strength to pursue it.
In my quest to ruminate and elaborate on the pivotal ingredient to national growth, I had an eye opener.
In the late 1990s, ,militants currently known as the Niger Delta Avengers from the south south zone of the nation rose up their ugly heads to the very detriment of lives and economy of the nation. In 2002, from the northern part of the nation, a deadly terrorist sect, Boko Haram surfaced. Their operations and attacks have eaten into the fabrics of the nation, causing lives and properties. As if that was not enough, in 2018, the Fulani herdsmen registered and added their name to the terrorist group causing serious insecurity mayhem among the people.
Moreover, as further instruments of division, the religious bigotry and political unrest prevalent in the nation has claimed the lives and properties of many and it still continues. The Biafrans from the east have been non-violently agitating for independence. These got to a point people felt Nigeria has gotten to her climax, the breaking point and they needed a true prophet to foretell what the future holds for the nation as panic took the order of the day.
Amidst all these, Nigeria still stands and her flag continues to dance to the rythmic movement of the wind. I can hear of inter-ethnic marriages, see people from different races and backgrounds in the nation harmonise and unite to work together in the same firm and government parastatals. The higher institutions, National Youth Service Corp scheme, the national sports team among others, are highly indiscriminate in accommodating and welcoming people from different works of life in the same nation.
What else does a nation need to grow? What else can be more potent than LOVE among the people. I can see love in disguise in my nation. It is the hidden truth. This was what went missing in the historic Rwanda civil war. A country with only two tribes. This same ingredient was nowhere to be found when the Modakeke and Ife of the old Oyo empire in Osun decided to be at loggerheads if not for divine intervention.
Nigeria has the best ingredient and necessity to grow the nation because the first step to national growth is national integration. We have this fire power, lets utilise it to achieve our dream.
Nigeria, Great people Great Nation!
•Lebara writes from Rivers State, South-south, Nigeria