Nigeria at the Crossroads of History

WITH the dark and dank, treacherous hour stealthily creeping up upon us, and menacingly casting its dark, foreboding shadows and silhouette on the jittery nation dying for some relief, it is perhaps time to sound the final warnings, and perhaps share some advice and home truths, too, with both the government and the Nigerian people whom Democracy has already savagely ripped apart and thrown into two deadly warring camps.
If there are reasons at all, what are they? Why has nobody cared to tell us why we must destroy one another and ourselves and everything our glorious ancestors had laboured to build for a 100 years and bequeathed to us for the sake of democracy?
Nigerians, just like other peoples all over the world, for the most part desire to live together in peace and harmony as citizens of one nation for which a civil war was fought and millions sacrificed their lives.
For no reasons at all, it has turned the North against the South, Northeast against Northwest, North Central against Northeast and Northwest; Southwest against Southeast and South south, and Southsouth against Southeast, Southwest and the North and vice versa. It has not spared neighboring ethnic groups either.
And even within the same ethnic groups it has set one section against another, resulting in blood feuds that take forever to heal, if at all. Not yet done, it has even gone further and trespassed into sacred family territories and turned husbands against their wives, parents against their children and vice versa. Democracy is the harbinger of chaos and disunity and Nigerians must be wary of her alluring seductions. However, the Nigerian people, knowing full well that there is far more to be gained from peace and unity than war and disunity, must in one accord, rise above their sentiments and resist these artificial divisions.
It’s the smart thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. And this position is informed by the fact that cumulative experience has shown conclusively that those who were dumb enough to fight and died for politicians fought and died in vain.
Therefore, against all temptations or sentiments predisposing and directing them otherwise, it is not in their place to hang around polling stations looking for trouble after casting their votes in order to “protect and defend their votes” as the candidates would have them do. That is not their job, but that of INEC, security agencies and the party agents. Save for a few in the past, politicians are not even worth a-dime-a-dozen and, therefore not worth dying for.
If anyone wants to die and be remembered doing it, there is a place for it and it’s called the military. Go die for your country while defending it, not for some politician. I don’t care whether your country made you rich or poor, educated you or not, or gave you free cellphone or healthcare or not.
Or for that matter, whether it has good roads, first class healthcare and educational institutions, electricity or water supplies or not. Those are mere conveniences and utilities, which cannot be equated with your country.
It is unconditional love and I would commend to you the memorable words of an iconic American President JFK contained in his oft-quoted inaugural speech.
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
Amazing, isn’t it? Just pause and think about it for a brief moment. What a remarkable statement and an inspiration!
What can you do for your country? That is the question being asked of you not what can your country do for you, which you have been asking all along since you were born. Citizens build a nation, which in turn conditions and protects them. It is not the other way around. And that’s why we’re supposed to pay our taxes and do our own bit to build her up collectively, and in turn protects us against internal and external aggressions. Incidentally, those who do not perform these civic responsibilities are the ones who demand heaven and earth from their nations. I have no idea why those who don’t work and pay taxes to the government complain the most about this or that not working or government not doing this or that. They are the dregs of society.
When I emigrated to the US and was confronted with the high costs of higher education running into tens of thousands of dollars that required a student loan albeit guaranteed by the US government with monthly interests payable upon graduation, it immediately occurred to me just how much debts I owed Nigeria for the higher education I had acquired all through Law School for a tiny fraction of the costs.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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