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By Frank Ediagbonya
If the Nigerian constitution makes it mandatory for any Nigerian seeking special privilege(s) from the Federal Government of Nigeria by way of paid employment, contract, appointment or election into public office to undertake oral and written test on patriotism, National Consciousness and how to boost the national treasury for economic and social growth of all Nigerians, seventy-five percent of Nigerians who now enjoy those special privileges mentioned herein, would have been disqualified on the ground of hypocrisy, pretence, lack of national consciousness, lack of genuine patriotism, greed and looting of tax payers' money with impunity.
Which is worth dying for; your country, your tribe or looting the national treasury? Since the end now justifies the means in modern day Nigeria, many Nigerians would chose to loot the national treasury and wait for the "consequences", of which 94% high profile cases of looting are consequential in Nigeria. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria anti-graft agency would confirm their frustration in this regards. There are reported cases where those who looted the treasury have broken the long arm of the law stretched to them by the EFCC. The EFCC is being suppressed and confined by looters of the national treasury to pursue low profile cases. Those who are privileged to be occupying juicy government positions know the answer to this question without mincing words. For those who try to get appointments, win elections by rigging and failed because of their ineptitude as well as their past "unofficial" criminal records know the answer to the above question. To cover their tracks, they would set one tribe against another. The most comical Nigerians, are those who parades themselves as "nationalists" yet they take pleasure in plundering the nation's scarce resources to finance their conspicuous consumption.
They would tell you that they love Nigeria till thy kingdom come. The masses whose destinies is being manipulated and reordered into the abyss of social mysteries, a life-wire that has disconnected them from the real world. They would ask you; "which Nigeria are you talking about?" "Theirs" (the rich, the unstoppable, the law breakers and the untouchable). "Or ours?" (those who wallows in social exclusion). "Let's not talk about it my brother, "shine your eyes", we look up to heaven and wait for divine intervention". Patriotism, National consciousness and national unity comes alight when the Super Eagles of Nigeria is playing international matches and when stopping IBB political ambition suddenly became a platform of national unity regardless of social class, political bitterness, tribal and religious differences. Is stopping IBB and the National Football Team what Patriotism and National Consciousness is all about?
Patriotism is an emotional journey of loyalty, allegiance, impartial love and total obedience to one's country or one's chosen country other than one's own country of birth; the country which has given you all the rights and privileges accorded to you by the constitution. The most challenging quest before many law abiding Nigerians is their total submission, full obedience and impartial loyalty to their country. Unfortunately, Ninety-five percent of Nigerian leaders have tinted patriotism with looting of the national treasury, just as they painted Nigerianess with tribalism and religious fanaticism. The task of reviving patriotism, accountability, transparency and National consciousness in a materialistic Nigeria remain daunting unless drastic measures are put in place. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
The current tribal divide in Nigeria has become a source of nightmare to most people who want Nigeria to progress in the speed of lightening. There is one thing I am not very sure of, why some politicians are making a big deal of why the North must complete Yaradua's tenure. Is that where the solutions to problems of Nigeria lies? In a country where Voters decision matters, there can be an upset to political tradition. What bothers political analysts is if PDP's alleged gentleman's agreement represent the decisions of eligible voters in Nigeria? There is definitely something wrong some where.
An alleged comment from Buhari, Atiku and Bafarawa that "Nigeria is set to disintegration in 2011 if there is an imposition of candidate on Nigerians", reflects how leaders creates problems for ordinary Nigerians out of frustration. I will assume that they were misquoted by the press. This men are role model to millions of Nigerians. You can read the full story from the following link (http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5475019-146/Buhari,_Atiku,_Bafarawa_say_Nigeria_may.csp). If they did made the said statement, it demonstrates the height of Diluted Patriotism from role model like Buhari and Atiku. They should do better than that. They could have said "Nigerians would revolt if there is an imposition of candidate". Not "disintegrate" as alleged.
Some Nigerians perhaps out of frustration are placing their tribes over the good cause of Nigeria. It is unfortunate that most Nigerian politicians are not willing in a million years if given the opportunity to learn from their past mistakes. The notion that Nigeria must continue to wait for one tribe or some ex no good leaders before the country can move forward still remain a mystery. ( Continues below….. )
Globalization has brought positive CHANGE to politics in most serious countries of the world. The patient of hungry and angry Nigerians has been overstretched to the limit due to incompetent and non performing leaders who have managed Nigeria for nearly five decades. Using all sort of threats to find your way into power is not a very good tactics. Toying with the Nigerian voters with words that may lead to violence could backfire for those who want to use threats of disintegration to achieve their political ambition. Leaders caught in the web of defamatory comments against Nigeria should be barred from competing or holding any public office.
In the past, leaders have been caught in the web of questionable behaviour and comments capable of tearing Nigeria apart. These were comments from some so call Nigerian leaders; "Nigeria is a mere geographical expression." Nigeria is an unholy marriage of nations by the British." "Nigeria is gradually becoming a failed state." "The North must produce the next president in 2011" etc. Does these comments reflect the tone of Patriotism or tribal chauvinism? This is how Nigeria has and is being governed by leaders who want their followers to be patriotic when majority of them lacked the spirit of patriotism.
Just like any prosperous nation in the world today, Nigeria has pass through many ups and downs. The reason why the downs seems to outweighed the ups is due to Diluted Patriotism which is prevalent among most leaders and then copied by their followers. Nigerian leaders especially those that has been diagnosed with the syndrome of diluted Patriotism are the ones stopping Nigeria from reaching the full fledged of patriotism and National consciousness. Ordinary Nigerians are helpless in this regards. They only copied what they saw from their role model. The syndrome of diluted Patriotism includes:
*Statements capable of tearing Nigeria apart.
*Placing one tribe above the other or down grading National interest for selfish reasons.
*Placing one's religion above National interest.
*Placing one's pocket above National treasury.
*Converting money for the progress of Nigeria, state or Local Govt. into fraudulent and personal use.
*Not showing the spirit of Patriotism when settling national issues.
*Failing to provide basic Social amenities to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe or religious affiliation.
*Failure to provide security for lives and properties to all Nigerians irrespective of social class.
*Aiding and abetting electoral fraud.
*Inflating government contract.
*Discriminating against fellow countrymen/women on the ground of tribe and religion. (this includes the obnoxious Quota system).
*Using Federal government infrastructure and resources to achieve tribal and personal gain or; to frustrate other tribes who also are Nigerians.
*Denying fellow Nigerians from equal opportunities in their fatherland. etc.
Diluted Patriotism has becomes the mechanism within which tribes and individuals pockets are prioritised over Nigeria's progress. It construes why most Nigerian leaders are persecuting those who are calling for accountability, transparency, electoral reforms, true Federalism as practised by the United States, the rule of law, sanity and civility in the way Nigeria is managed. These people who are fighting for the good of Nigeria have been labelled Public enemies by those who are benefiting from the largesse and booty of the National Treasury. For example, Ibori said he was contented with the way Nigeria was being governed when the former Attorney General of Nigeria, Aondoakaa took it upon himself at tax payers' expense to make sure that Ibori eludes Justice in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Now Ibori is not contented with the way Nigeria is being governed because his sister and accomplices were jailed in England for helping him to launder money he looted in Nigeria. Nigeria is good for the untouchables when they break the law and evade justice. When they loot the treasury with impunity and are rewarded with national honours. This is Diluted Patriotism in action.
Diluted Patriotism overtly or covertly gave impetus to the Nigerian Civil War in the late 60s. It became the pivot of Quota system and state of origin in the Nigerian social system. A system consciously designed to encourage mediocrity. It marks the origin of discrimination against some tribes in Nigeria. Nigerian leaders whom millions emulates have exhibited the love for their tribes and their pockets more than the love they have for their country. There are suggestions that the new phenomenon of divided and rule Nigeria through Arewa consultative Forum (Hausa/Fulani and Middle Belt), South-South(Niger Delta), South East(Ndi Igbo) and Oduwa (Yoruba) etc. is evidence that things are not working constitutionally in Nigeria. Politicians have taken the shortcut to satisfy their tribal and personal enthusiasm at the expense of a united Nigeria. Why not settle for devolution of power as obtainable in the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments of United Kingdom through constitutional means. These regional consultative phenomenon only came into existence in less than 12 years in Nigeria. It has energized the level of diluted patriotism amongst ordinary Nigerians. It is a clear indication of how Nigerian Politicians have unconstitutionally, consciously and unconsciously remodelled power sharing in the outlook of tribal and religious platforms. ( Continues below..... )
Diluted Patriotism has made it impossible for Nigerians to chose a good leader from anywhere in the country. Patriotism is in intermission in Nigeria. Those campaigning against Goodluck Jonathan Presidency are suffering from induced syndrome of Diluted Patriotism if they are doing so on the ground of ethnicity and religion. If Goodluck Jonathan is good enough to put Nigeria in the centre of global excellence, he can win election as an independent candidate if votes counts in Nigeria and If Nigerians knows what they want. If he is not good enough, it mustn't be on the ground of his tribe or religion. Loving Nigeria less and tribe more is a myopic and barbaric concept. The next president must possess the quality of a Servant-Leader, a listener to yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians as demonstrated by Goodluck Jonathan. He did this when he removed the enemies of Nigeria from their positions. His first three major decisions when acting as President earned him the respect and popularity he now enjoys.
What is the best for Nigeria? Mediocrity or competent reliable leaders? The best of Nigeria is being edged out of limelight while the worst of Nigeria are being elevated to limelight to handle affairs of Nigeria for tribal sake. Who would have thought that Nigeria have fearless, patriotic and intelligent minds like late Gani, Femi Falana, Dora Akunyili, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Nuhu Ribadu, Col. Umar rtd., Donald Duke, Fashola, Pat Utomi, Wole Soyinka, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Adams Oshoimole and many other great managers of human and material resources.
At 50 in October, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should implore all Nigerians at home and abroad to task themselves with the goal of promoting the best of Nigeria; resist, discourage, disassociate themselves from corruption and work against those who are working against Nigeria's progress. Enough is enough. The need to ensure that Nigeria's progress remain on course after 50yrs cannot be overemphasised. Nobody should be allow to compromise Nigeria's prosperity no matter how big or how highly placed in the society. If the progress of Nigeria is cursed, all Nigerians must do everything within their power to reverse it. The media should stick out their neck even if it is a matter of life and death, to make sure that Nigeria becomes one of the greatest countries in the world. The media should target, expose and disgrace those leaders who are spreading division and hatred through their utterances among Nigerians. There should be more investigating journalism in the Nigerian media to enable people account for their action and utterances about Nigeria.
At 50, Nigerians should place their country first before greed and tribal chauvinism. The secret behind Britain and America greatness is impartial patriotism and zero tolerance to corruption. Tribal Importance should be used to promote Nigeria's tourism, culture and greatness. Tribalism and religion should not be an avenue to disturb peaceful coexistence or divide law abiding Nigerians.
The election of President Barack Obama exemplified how American interest superseded pettiness and the way the British Politicians Placed National interest above Party and personal interest to form a coalition government shows that the name Great Britain did not just fall from the sky. Can Nigerians rise above pettiness like the American? Can Nigerians put their country first for the interest of the nation and its people as exemplified by the British politicians who solved their recent political logjam in a wink? It is up to Nigerians to decide what is best for them. Those who are pretending to serve Nigeria with all their strength and all their heart yet, are paying lip services to the progress of Nigeria would soon have themselves to blame. Those who are dwelling in tribal and religious politics in a 21st century Nigeria, are sunbathing in the gallery of stupidity if they cannot bargain for the very best.
Does it matter who rule Nigeria? Does it really matter whether an Isoko, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Edo, Ijaw, Tiv, Isekiri, Urhobo, Calabari, Fulani etc. rule Nigeria? Does the Nigerian constitution forbids some certainty tribes from becoming the Nigerian President? Why is this a BIG ISSUE in Nigeria if some tribal chauvinists haven't got some ulterior motives to destabilized Nigeria? I opined that it does not matter. What matters to many Nigerians is wealth redistribution. Wealth is poorly distributed among Nigerians. What really matters to Nigerians is for them to have power (energy) supply 24/7, for all Nigerians to be gainfully employed anywhere in Nigeria; even those without employment can be on dole, for all Nigerians to sleep in their houses at night and leave their doors and windows open if they so desire. It matters to all Nigerians to have three square meal a day. It matters most to Nigerians to have good roads, free education and free medical care. It also matters if Nigerians pay their taxes to the government in order for the government to provide them with these basic amenities. If Nigerians continues to play tribal politics at the expense of National Unity and good leaders; Nigerians should not expect answers to their prayers because they would have deliberately told God that they have rejected Him.
Just like Dr Martin Luther King, he had a dream that he saw the day when Blacks and Whites in America would no longer fight each other or discriminate against one another because of the colour of their skin, Dr. King saw the day a Black man in America would not be judge by the colour of his skin but by the content his character. In that same spirit, I saw the day when a Nigerian would not be considered for a job or appointment inside Nigeria because of the content of his/her tribe, cult or religion but on merit and on the account that he/she is a Nigerian of good behaviour, patriotic, incorruptible and a zealot fighter of corruption. I also saw the day in Nigeria, when evil doers would no longer hide their wickedness under tribalism. A day when every Nigerian who'd embezzled public fund in Abuja or elsewhere would be ostracised in his/her home town for bringing disgrace to his/her tribe. If this dream becomes reality like that of Dr Martin Luther King, then, Nigeria is fulfilled.
*Tags: Nigerians, Patriotism, Governance, Secrets, Abuja, Lagos, Yar’Adua, Jobs, Africa, Masterweb
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