A cursory look at few headlines from a cross section of Nigerian newspapers tells you that the story of Nigeria is one comical entertainment, when the subject matter is serious, and of course by persons that should know better.
So I dare ask Nigeria, a nation so blessed yet in too much peril that one begins to wonder what really is the problem, what really did or have we done wrong? There are so many questions and too few answers.
Today, more than ever, despite all the song of unity, why is Nigeria so divided? There is hardly an online forum or group that has been able to discuss a matter for an hour without the ethnic and religious question propping up. What is the matter with us? Why do we hate one another so much? Are we really a nation?
Where is the Nigeria in which the patriots stood, the one with the beautiful green, white, green flags waved at the Tafawa Balewa Square during Independence Celebrations, or match past on May Day? There used to be this feeling of ‘this is my nation’s flag, this is my nation’, Where went that feeling? We still had our identities as wazobia with other relations, but today in public buildings and institutions, the flags of the nation do not exist until our maligned soccer team, Super Eagles, is on duty. In other cases, they are flying at half mast not on purpose but because the other half is missing.
Our kids can sing all sorts of nursery rhymes from ‘Old Roger is dead’ to ‘My mother’, and sadly they can hardly get the nation’s anthem. At their tender age, they are taught that they are Michika, Ibo, Fulani, Yoruba and they must not forget that.
Where is the Nigeria and Nigerians that, despite the Lord Lugard lopsided nature of our creation, their brothers’ keeper, the Nigeria that existed in spite of the civil war? There was that Nigeria that did not need EFCC because even from home there was EFCC. Indeed, while the late sage, Chinua Achebe, wrote that There Was a Country, my debate has always been was there ever a country, or rather a wazobian?
Nigeria, despite very recent efforts, remains a nation that simply does not know where it is headed to, or does not want to face what I term realistic, reasonable and responsible approach to its diversity.
This nation has become one that everything goes; the normal is disdained, while abnormality is rewarded. And for lack of critical thinking, we do not have a collective on what exactly is right or wrong but rather which tribe or faith is concerned.
You and I need to think Nigeria without losing our identity, or continue to suffer the wazobian dilemma. Nigerians need to become noble in understanding themselves. Are we ready?
Prince Charles Dickson PhD