In the last few months, I have reflected on the state of my dear country Nigeria.It has been one sad matter after another. We have hardly even digested one shocking news before another comes rolling at us. Election rigging, post election violence, Jos crisis, boko haram, 3million naira rice and dodo for the president’s feeding (its got to be designer rice by Giorgio Armani and runway dodo by Louis Vuitton), subsidy removal protest and even plenty more boko haram.
Since my childhood and many years before then, Nigerians have been struggling to survive. Struggling because too many lies have been told us we don’t even know what the truth is anymore. There is no faith in the government that we painstakingly queued to vote for with hunger in our stomachs. There is nothing left for us to swallow but our pride. Our minds have been continually raped by falsehood so much that we don’t know what we deserve anymore. When the government throws breadcrumbs at us we are too weak to fight and too quick to say “oh they have tried”.
News headlines like 150 peoeple being killed in a suicide attack used to sound like an American story made up by Jack Bauer till I lost a dear friend’s mom in the August 26th UN building bomb blast. To say the least, it was very tragic. More tragic is the fact that bomb blasts have occurred again and again. We live in complete fear and insecurity that the sound of a christmas ‘banger’ sets tension in the neighborhood. And yet no concrete measure has been taken to solve this. Imagine being insecure in your own house.
I have seen Nigerian children, women and men alike walk miles to fetch drinking water from the taps of few who can afford to drill boreholes, all because the money to fix our dam has been shared amongst a few. I have seen countless Nigerians die on Benin-Ore express road all because the money to fix the road has been used to send a government official’s son abroad to school. I have seen many young people almost give up on life and living because ASSU won’t call off their strike. I have seen Nigerians die in hospitals or leave the hospital in worse off coditions than the went in because there is no proper health care system.
But in all these things, we have endured. Oh! We have endured hardship. In all of these, we have gained strength and survived. Price of food has constantly gone up but we have drank our garri like that without sugar nor groundnut, with agile olympic race bodies to show for it.
We have survived, oh! We have survived. Amongst us we have produced graduates who studied with candles and no fod and can yet match their counterparts abroad. Our bodies are now so used to drinking ‘satchet water’ from what source we do not know, but Odeshi, Typhoid no de catch us. We have been forced to mature and grow up without any support. We are our own government. We generate our own light, drill our own borehole, buy dogs for security, patch our bad streets with sand and gravel so we can drive through, and most of all sleep with one eye open. We don’t know when or where Boko Haram will strike again but we still dilligently go to work. Muslims take on the job of watching christian brothers when they worship, christians do likewise in brotherliness, unity and as compatriots.
I dare to call us PATRIOTS, because only patriots can stand defiant against all odds. We have been through it all, and this is the worst it can ever get. Some of us have died unfortunately in the struggle, but the rest of us will continue to keep the faith. We are sad, but we keep the signature Nigerian smile. We smile maybe to ensure that those who died didn’t die in vain. We smile perhaps because we know that it can never get worse than this and that good times are appearing in the horizon. Whatever it is, we have survived, and for this, I am a Proud Nigerian…
…To the strength and enduring spirit of the Nigerian people, I doff my hat.
Dedicated to the memory of late Mrs Kate Demehin and countless others who have innocently died for Nigeria.