In honour of Nigeria’s Independence day celebration, I will be throwing back to this poem I wrote seven years ago. Sadly, it still re-echoes the present state of our dear nation.
Recently on Twitter, someone tweeted: “So, 5 hospitals didn’t have oxygen and we lost you, Chris! 5 goddamned hospitals! Loving this country is HARD!!!”
I didn’t know how to respond – or better put, had no response as it was touching two areas I am both passionate about: Nigeria, and her health sector. What’s worse, I could not take away the sadness from them. Could not. Even if I wanted to. With all the insecurity, strikes, poverty and hunger that threatens the intergrity and sanity of Nigeria and Nigerians, I can’t help but agree that indeed, loving Nigeria is HARD, as they put it.
The land of my ancestors
A vault of many resources
The giant of Africa, they say
A name to us that seems stale
A hubbub of talented youths
Straining to unleash their gifts
But with no stage or audience
Their efforts prove futile
How corruption has eaten in deeply
Virtually all our leaders are greedy
Stealing the nation’s wealth in lump sums
For their daughters and even their son’s sons
The rarity of good paints wrong right
A nation where black is called white
It’s obvious our nation is decaying
What role are you playing?
Are you a force for correction or corruption
Nigeria, a nation that needs redemption.
I love Nigeria. I can’t help but love her. I am just wired to. And I believe in her. I believe in me, because I am Nigeria and so are you. Do you?
When I recently re-read 2nd Chronicles 7:14, I saw our problem AND solution in one verse.
2nd Chronicles 7: 14 – “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV, emphasis added)
A 2015 statistics released by the Pew Research Centre data ranked Nigeria as the 9th most religious country in the world. So, it is not prayers I am talking about now. We have done too much of praying, and less of acting. Remember, faith without works is dead. So, our solution lies in turning from our wicked ways. First, as individuals and then collectively as a people. This is where the responsibility of building Nigeria into the great nation that it was and is supposed to be falls back on us.
So much degradation has happened to her in the past years. So much worth tearing her apart of recent. But somehow she still manages to stand tall.
I’m not about to beguile you into joining the faithful that believe in all Nigeria carries, and is willing to deliver her future – even though I would enjoin you to, but I hope that before you point fingers at all her corrupt leaders and everything that’s not right about her, that you look inward and see for YOURSELF if you are truly different and any better. I do hope though that you can believe in her enough to fight for her. I do hope that you look on her inside, and see all the beauty she possesses and all she is capable of becoming, and can point others toward that. Nigeria is ours, the land of our birth, the land of our fathers, the land of our children.
We are so much stronger, so beautiful, the pride of the African continent, when we stand together than when we fight against ourselves; when we are united and fight for her cause, than berate one another.
We can be better. We can love her even when it’s HARD to love her. Isn’t that where it all boils down to in the end? Love. The ones we love sometimes are not befitting of the love. But we hope that through love, they can begin to see themselves through the eyes of the ones who love them, and rise to become the truest versions of themselves.
Unity, Peace and Progress 🇳🇬
Someone just turned 57!
Happy Independence, Nigeria!