By Prof. Chris Nwaokobia Jnr
“Nationhood is definitely the product of hard-work; it is not an event nor is it the product of happenstance, wistfulness and or presumptuous historicity. Nations are built not wished.” – Prof Chris Nwaokobia Jnr.
The aftermath of the 2015 General Elections leaves our Country with profound questions seeking urgent answers; questions ranging from how tenuous the woodwork of this collective edifice sustains to how variegated the fouled waters of our corporate existence appear. We cannot pretend that all is right; we cannot pretend that governance will sail pretty without national cohesion; we cannot pretend that the CHANGE we preached will not meet with despair if we do not etiolate the fires that raged during the campaigns; and we cannot pretend that all is well.
We saw a campaign that was inundated with hate, a campaign that was replete with caustic diatribes, a campaign that snow-balled the deluge of dichotomies that litters this space; the dichotomies of creed, of clan, and of region dominated our politics. Debates on issues were in short supply, the prelude to March 28 and April 11 saw a Nigeria split effusively and profusely along the lines of ethnicity, religion and region. That the CHANGE MOVEMENT prevailed at the Polls compels a national task that must be handled as imperative and germane. We must heal the wounds and unite our peoples.
The linchpin of the present challenge is a vibrant national orientation paradigm. We must above all emphasize the beauties of this enterprise. We must water the trees of patriotism. We must clear the bushes of ethnic distrust. We must level the mountains of religious fundamentalism. We must diminish the shrubs of partisan discord. We must etiolate the fires of the pre and post-election angst. And we must coalesce at a place where Nigeria becomes the winner.
Today our National Orientation mantra must soar beyond ONE NATION GREAT PEOPLE; we must begin to address the fundamentals of national integration, we must locate the cords that unite us and prize the jewellery that presents us as the hope of a continent in search of leadership. We must remember the halcyon beats of our history, we cannot forget that not only were we a nation of great wealth, we were the Big Brother to most African nations. We cannot overlook the realities of our history, and we must seek to replicate and surpass the great mementoes of our co-existence.
I have worked my mind on the realities of history. I have discovered that most nations emerged like Phoenixes from the ashes of the Civil Wars that sought to immolate them to forge great symphonies of brotherhood and community. History is replete with Statesmen who did not sulk over the pain of battle and the internecine conflagrations that traumatized their space, but who seized the moment and wove nations out of variegated seas of distrust and angst. We can yet do the same.
I was born a year after the Nigerian Civil War, I did not meet three of my grandparents because they died during the War. I was suckled by the only one standing, Ma Christiana Nwanze my Mother’s mother. She did a marvellous job teaching me to love and to think. She was so forgiving that she saw nothing but a great Nigeria where the difference in creed and clan will count for nothing, where our strength will devolve on the well of our minds and the content of our character. She died at 92 never loosing that faith.
She lived in the North before the 1966 pogrom, she returned home just before the Civil War, she lost her businesses in Northern Nigeria to the War but that did not stop her first daughter Aunty Justina my mother’s elder sister from making Funtua and later Malumfashi in Katsina State her abode and base for close to 30years after the War. I learnt from this the inviolableness of our togetherness. My Igbo brothers have made the North their home irrespective of the many pitfalls that rehearse the shortness of our National Orientation stratagem.
Lagos is today a copious experimentation of our love for each other; we can replicate the same spectacle across the country. The shortcut to the nation we seek is to make patriotism our pride, wealth and job creation our passion, corruption our national foe, social security a collective challenge, and to make a rework of our national canvass an urgent imperative. Yes, we can together as a People create a Nigerian Dream, we can build a great Nation where the prime is the primacy of lives and properties, where the summon bonum shall be the well-being of the masses, and the centre-point of our collective intercourse COUNTRY FIRST.
I am not saying that we do not have cause to worry; I am saying that it is not sufficient to lose faith in the journey set before us. I am not saying that Nigeria has been fair to all, I am saying that we can make Nigeria a fair, just and an equitable enterprise. I am not saying that leadership has been responsible; I am saying that WE can make leadership responsible and responsive to all. I am saying that we can set forth to the Isle of Peaceful Co-existence when we make followership engaging and commit leadership to decorum and sincerity.
An era where the National Orientation Agency made its primary responsibility reportage and documentary of and on terror and the attendant war thereto must be made Shibboleth. It is incontrovertible truism that that error dealt some blow on our collective psyche and mores. A vibrant national orientation paradigm must look beyond villainy and see our common nationality, our common humanity and our collective citizenry. A proactive national orientation must seek to foist a template of dialogue and national concord such is the basic quid pro quo.
We must create a national orientation network that must set out at dawn without hate or bias to unite all fair interests, and begin an overhaul of our collective morality where imperative. We must make noble values prime and celebrate patriots. We must lampoon quick fixes, corruption and villainy and hail hard-work and rectitude. We must salute dedication to service of fatherland and condemn any form of dereliction of national trust. We must create for posterity fabrics of reference, such that must confer honour on acts of heroism and patriotism. And we must create monuments of deterrence such that our nation must flee from fleece, sleaze and thieving.
A national orientation praxis that seeks the reorientation of villains is germane, and the one that seeksto inspire the virtuous to continue the noble stride for the good of fatherland is imperative. I cannot be more hopeful that the incoming regime understands the urgency of now. We are here because we rode on the mantra of CHANGE; we cannot therefore sacrifice same at the altar of politics. We must fix square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes. We must as was promised the electorate create jobs, and kill corruption. We must ensure human capital development and improve national security. We must provide social security and more homes for the masses, and make real the promises of our 31page manifesto. We must make true the promises of democracy.
We are at that point in history where Statesmanship latches in on the monumental goodwill it enjoys, we have an unequalled goodwill and as Statesmen we must hit the ground running. We must in all that we do engrave the praxis NO LONGER BUSINESS AS USUAL in our collective thought. We must wage the war against indiscipline and fight the good fight of faith.We must make Peace, Progress and Prosperity the Nigerian Dream and work for all that must guarantee this 3Ps.
Countrymen and women, the fierce urgency of now is such that we must bury the hatchet, all hatchets and confront our fears. Do not forget that fear thrives only when False Evidence Appears Real, the truth is that the 54years plus of our nation is not all melancholic, we have a litany of highs and lows, and we must search the reasons for the lows, fix them and soar, whilst celebrating our highs. We must create a nation that shall truly surmount her differences and build the harmony that shall lead Africa to the top of the new world. Yes we can.
The moment is indiscriminate of which Party controls State A or State B, the urgency of the now demands nothing but service to the country and the citizenry. We must rise above partisanship and make this country the pride of all. We must together chase the Nigerian dream. We must dedicatedly work for the good of all. We must make the amazingly munificence with which the good Lord has blessed our nation count for nothing BUT for Peace, Progress and Prosperity.
We owe this moment to the Almighty who brought our boisterous planet out of primal vapour. We owe this epoch to the electorate. We owe this era to the many victims of the conflagrations that trouble our space. And we owe the reality of the present challenge to history, we must work such that in the end it will be said that there came a moment in time and a great people came at it. We must work such that posterity will remember in halcyon light this generation of Nigerians, to the bridge my Countrymen.
In confronting the moment we must not be unmindful of the fact that the task before us is onerous, the faint will say monumental but the faithful must seize the moment and show the world what great people we are. I cannot be more confident that WE CAN because the body language of our President Elect assures us that things will be done differently. I cannot be more hopeful now that the mantra of CHANGE resonates. I am indeed positive that we shall set forth at dawn to do that which is needful and imperative.
God Bless Nigeria.
(Nwaokobia Jnr is the Director General
CHANGE AMBASSADORS OF NIGERIA CAN.
Lawyer, Writer & Humanist.
Tel: 08023361983, 08038604312, 08073958013
Pin: 27169311, 5588BE17, 55EDA68C.)