By Suleiman Hassan Gimba.
Dry your tears, Nigeria. Dry your tears o!’ wounded nation and find lasting peace but before then, find everlasting love and before that, find unconditional forgiveness and before that, embrace a fair chance of understanding each other’s differences. After going through this process, sit back, relax and dine in celebration of clinging unto each other through a few ups and plenty downs in the fifty-seven years we have been brothers, and not by accident as some would love to make us believe.
Nigeria’s existence came about by the sheer act of God, the All-knowing. By creating unique sets of people that, to borrow from Divergent, may comprise of: “Abnegation (the selfless)”, “Amity (the peaceful)”, “Candour (the honest)”, “Dauntless (the brave)”, “Erudite (the intelligent)” and “Factionless”. A lack of cohesion between these sets of people, as we saw in the TV Series, led to the rise of the “Allegiants (the loyalists)” and “the Insurgents (the Rebels)”. Supporters of GMB and other people that owe blind loyalty to politicians fill of the former and the latter is filled by Boko Haram and depending on how you categorise IPOB, they may be in it too.
The truth is that we owe more allegiance to our leaders than we do to our society. In the storm of judging what is right and what is wrong, the struggle of reaching the promised land and attaining personal goals we let “the labour of our heroes past” to be in vain, we forgot that “to be faithful, loyal and honest” is a pledge to the country and not to any region, state, tribe or leader, we decided to create a shortcut when logically there shouldn’t be any. We see our leaders as the last wonder of the world when the only thing astonishing about them is their ability to loot us dry, have zero progressive ideas and still amass a wealth of support from the victims.
We forgot that we are the actual holders of the office while they are our representatives, chosen by us because we supposedly trust their capacities to serve us faithfully, govern us fairly, enhance the unity between us and work entirely in our best interest. That is why we supposedly gave them all the bonuses, wardrobe allowance, children’s tuition fee, health and more ridiculous allowances because serving the people is a very demanding task and we had to make the environment conducive enough for them to not give up.
Until we change our mentality and start seeing each other as brothers and being our brothers’ keepers and at the same time seeing them (the leaders) as our trusted servants, then there should be little or no reason to celebrate Independence Day. We could however be a tad bit more unpatriotic, make every leaders’ birthday a public holiday and sit at home for 365 days a year because that is the railroad we have taken in our sand boat led by pilots-turn-pirates, heading to where we do not know in the hope that we would individually achieve our goals while forgetting the larger picture – everyone would eventually fail if we don’t change the vehicle and our direction.
Gimba writes from Yobe and can be reached on 08100000888 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org