The New Nigerian Story

In 4 days, Nigeria will be four-dozen years old (well, maybe young, considering that others are more than four times older). On that day, which happens to be the last day of a five-day weekend, many things will be said. Politicians, business leaders, religious leaders, citizens, foreigners, men, women, young, old… many will take advantage of the day to say what they hope others to remember long after the day. Counting from one to forty-eight isn’t what you do in a flash, so don’t blame those who say things you wish would not be not added to the long list of bad things that have been tied to this beautiful nation. You will hear (or read) some others and shake your head in disbelief. A few activities may make you proud of the nation of your birth but please brace up for the usual “we shouldn’t be here right now” advice from many who suddenly, on October 1, will become experts at solving every possible problem that exists within the Nigerian space.

But… Beyond what others will say and/or do, what are you saying right now? And how does what you say — and do — add or remove from the dream that exists in your mind for Nigeria? In a generation that respects what we see beyond what lies on (or comes from) the inside, how can I ensure that my daily actions bring Nigeria closer to what I envy in other nations? Regardless of your present location or vocation, it is difficult to deny your silent or spoken wish for a better nation. In fact, that is why you get so angry (which gets so bad at times you dismiss it off as mere indifference) when you hear the not-so-pleasant “songs” that have almost become a daily experience! Watching and listening to a sister earlier today (see video here), I identify with that yearning I have heard (and seen) expressed in various forms as I complete my assignment from one nation to another.

We have celebrated the emergence of a New Nigeria but I ask, as we inch closer to October 1, for the New Nigerians: that generation that will use what they have to create what they wish for. And we do have a lot — don’t look too far, watch TV (and you may add Hi- or DS- as a prefix), listen to the radio, check out that talent at the event! In 2 years, the drums could be rolled out in celebration of the attainment of the gloden age; and the content of that celebration may either be “patriotic denial” (not much to celebrate but at least we turned 50) or pure joy arising from the celebration of your deliberate acts of moving the nation closer to one we can be proud to call home. By the day, I meet young Nigerians who make me proud of being around at such a time as this — a time we have the opportunity to take the destiny of a nation in our hands and rewrite her story.

I don’t know what chapter you’re writing, but I hope your pen has ink for the days — and years — ahead. We are writing the story, and in the days of its publication, many will call the authors lucky. At that time, the smile that will sit comfortably in the corner of their (that should read “our”) mouths will only be traceable to the deliberate acts of contribution that form today’s investment. What will Your Chapter be in the New Nigerian Story?

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