Time To Reclaim Nigeria’s Pride - by Violet-Odiete Ikomi

There is absolutely no doubt that Nigeria is a great country and indeed a land of plenty in terms of human, material and mineral resources. Yet, a vast majority of her population live in abject poverty. It is so bad that most of the poor in her land live below the acceptable world poverty line.

Crude oil, otherwise known as black gold, flows like a river run wild; deep beneath the earth on which she stands but the refined petroleum products required to make life productive and comfortable for her citizens are a rarity and almost viewed as a luxury and privilege rather than a right.

Nigeria is blessed with a vast arable land which lies waste because farming has not been given its pride of place. As a result, farming is neglected for white collar jobs which are limited and hard to find. This has led to massive unemployment amongst the country’s once proud and vibrant youths.

University graduates roam the streets in search of jobs to enable them to survive; but many find none. In anger and frustration, many have turned to crime and many more have been reduced to suicide bombers as well as spontaneous and sporadic killing machines.

Inequality of the wealth distribution amongst her citizens has increasingly widened the gap between the “haves and the have-nots”; (a term I borrowed from the famous Karl Marx). This has created venomous hatred in the hearts and minds of the have-nots, against the Nigerian state.

Her once cherished communal life, where everyone genuinely loved, cared and protected one another regardless of religious or tribal affiliations has been thrown to the dogs and is long gone with the wind. It has seemingly been replaced by somewhat more personalised western civilisation where the dominant focus is self; nuclear family and society.

The dreams and aspirations of her founding fathers and nationalists who fought for her independence, have been flushed down the drain by Mr. and Mrs. Greed and their children; Bribery, Corruption and Mediocrity.

Her pride amongst the comity of nations has been buried for selfish gains and ambitions by a select few. Her currency, the naira, hitherto stronger than the dollar, which once upon a time was accepted as a legal tender abroad, has been reduced almost to a loaf of bread. Sit tight rulers with no clue to the nation’s problems nor solid and creative plans to solve them have previously held on to power for many decades, refusing to let go.

Hardwork, honesty and integrity have been laid to rest as mediocrity, corruption, connection and kick-back have become illegally enshrined in our polity even as the blood of innocent citizens waters the earth.

Nigeria; arise! Awaken from your deep slumber. A giant you are; a giant you will remain. A sleeping giant no matter how powerful is of no real threat to anyone and is at best of no use to anyone.

No group of people no matter how strong or powerful can be greater than the collective will of the people. Let all Nigerians arise and unite! Let us send poverty; bloodshed, mediocrity, ethnic and religious divisions and dissentions, packing from our land. Let our bands of unity be for a new and better Nigeria and better quality of life. A place where improved services, youth employment and empowerment as well as the security of lives and property are key; a place where our children can go to school and return in peace and of course a place where basic infrastructure and amenities are provided and life is held sacrosanct.

Arise; Nigeria! The time has come for you to take into captivity all that held you captive and to take back your pride of place in the comity of nations and in international politics.

Nigerians have arisen and spoken boldly and bluntly at the polls. It is now time to act.