Tuesday, 4 February 2014

My Country, your country



Patriotism to one’s country is not only in giving up lives for the country but it starts from everyday interactions and the pronouncements made about the countries.

Being a Nigerian, I may have lived in other countries but home for me is still home.
Some people move abroad and then the very place where their families are and where they once knew as home before suddenly becomes a dreadful place. Don’t get me wrong…I admit there are certain things that are which shouldn’t be or which aren’t that should be but let’s save that for another day…


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Miss A, a Nigerian, was brought up in a ‘face me I face you compound’ but eventually moved to the United States of America. A storm broke out once and there was a power outage for two days. Her reaction to this was over the top describing the situation in summary as unbearable. Her loved one was quick to remind her of their childhood in darkness and suggested sending her a kerosene lamp as she would do well with that. That shut Miss A up to the delight of most people. This conversation was made public thanks to social media. Why was she crying more than the bereaved anyway? The authorities were working hard to have the power restored and kept apologizing for the situation. The Americans understood that this was nobody’s fault and were exercising their patience. Uncomfortable as it was, they had no choice than to trust the government and in two days, the power was restored. Miss A on the other hand was so quick to forget how she grew up with power outages as a normal thing and each person would have to find solutions. When things are going well, everybody is fine but when the going gets tough, it is easy to forget where we are coming from or to have a positive attitude. This negativity is carried into everything and that impacts our efforts to change things or to encourage those who even try. “Na government work, no be your papa own” Does this sound familiar? This same Miss A doesn’t see anything good about her country anymore and has only negative to say about Nigeria. For someone who is trying so hard to fit into being American, she has refused to imbibe the love of country the Americans have for their nation. She isn’t the only guilty one amongst those who live in the diaspora. Some others sound and act like this about Nigeria so where is the hope?

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Miss B, a Ghanian, was born and raised for a few years in her country till her mother moved with her to the United Kingdom at the age of five. So for the most part of her life, she has been British. However, her father happened to be a polygamist and she is the youngest of all the children. She didn’t know how many children they were in total but she knew her father had four wives and may have had concubines. This is hard for any person to deal with but sadly she has put all African men in the same bracket and believes that they are all polygamous in nature. Her expression ‘typical African man’ could be used so many times in a sentence when referring to men. Bear in mind that her father is in his eighties and she is a fully grown woman now. I believe these are very different generations and the thinking pattern has certainly shifted. All people cannot be judged based on one person’s actions.

Today when jobs are hard to come by and economic recession is never far, not many people would have the courage to father countless children. Besides, that one man chooses to father the world does not make it typical to all the men in his race. And whatever the case may be, she is a product of that same man! That happens to be one positive thing.                           

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Bringing it home, many people talk about change all the time but how can it happen except we are willing to cooperate and do our own part? So many keep saying “be the change you want to see”. The support football fans have for football baffles me (I hope I am not about to bring trouble on myself by using this illustration…lol). These guys will give up anything to watch a game and can take on an argument for football at any time. After a game, I have seen some chaps take out their frustration from a team’s loss on their spouses/partners. It’s funny if you ask me :-) But think of the love we have for European football being converted to national football. I know the teams may not be the best now but how about these football lovers rising up to making it worth watching or arguing for? It is amazing how far a game can go to unite a country when things are all in place. Rugby played a role in the national unity of South Africa, didn’t it? How about this love for football being translated to love for country?

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These illustrations are simply my thoughts on your screen but how about we bear in mind that it is the little efforts here and there that make it all come together as one big whole.
One governor is doing his best to transform his state but some take offence at him doing things differently. Whether we accept it or not, there are some who benefit from the corruption that exists and stand in the way of change or good happening in Nigeria. Our civic responsibilities are somewhat a mirage as we are not even conscious of them.
This is all hypotheses but I wonder and I ask when that change we need in Nigeria will begin to materialise. Nevertheless, take a step back for a moment and do not play the role of judge. Instead, ask yourself how you can make your own contribution to humanity and your country, however small…




Expressions

 - “Face me I face you” – An expression used to depict houses that are built facing each other, generally not in the best areas.

 - “Na government work, no be your papa own” – It’s the government’s work, not your father’s. (There could be a laid back attitude to work in government institutions as such people work as it suits them)

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