I am certain of a bright future for myself. I see it in the little leaps and successes I have achieved on the way there. I see that brightness on every turn of my journey to that legendary top. No government policy can stop this dream of mine because it is not built on the vagaries and inconsistencies of a national government but on the foundations of a common world.
As bright as this future looks, it becomes a dark abyss when seen through my bigger picture; my origin and identity. I come from a society where poverty has become my every other neighbour, where success is defined in materiality, where the quest to amass wealth through means illegal and evil reigns supreme. If this society continues its plunge down the tortuous path of underdevelopment and mediocrity, my big picture would be a mass of dirt, penury, destitution and every pain imaginable. If it crashes on the wall of tribalism and lawlessness, my small picture success would become a bastard of sorts because if this happens, I’d be nothing else but a lost citizen of an old forgotten country.
This is why I am not just Japheth Omojuwa, it is why to say “I am Goodluck Jonathan” would be a bigger lie, and to identify myself saying “I am Kris Okotie” would be a discombobulating conundrum. I am that man with a college certificate without a job, I am that boy with a bowl in his hand without a meal, I am that father with a passport in his hand without an identity.
I am Nigeria. My current reality is a mass of shame hence my being called the Giant of Africa, a mass of shambles. In the midst of this darkness, my future reality is a cascade of beautiful possibilities hence the hues of joy on my horizon at every dawn.
I am Nigeria. I was privileged to have been born by a Yoruba man, to have answered his name all the years of my life but my identity, my true God designed identity lies in my being Nigeria. The boy risking death on my roads to earn a meagre living is my responsibility, the woman who died in my hospitals must not be allowed to die if she lives tomorrow and if tomorrow comes her daughter must have the best education. The politics of desperation and callousness must be my enemy. Now they all cling to their tribes, seeking whom to lead me each from his myopic, tribe laden lens, with no care for who is right or what is, but who is theirs. So while I reel in the pains of what could have been, while more children die of hunger despite my arable fertility, while my sports men and women battle mediocrity and lack of medals, they continue their plunder of my wealth. All my children have since forgotten the promise of diversity, that in our diversity lies our strength, that in our unity lies our prosperity and that until it is One People rather than Six Regions, One Nation rather than one thousand divided tongues, though I may control the wealth of Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote combined, still I am Nigeria and a poor Nigeria is a poor me.
As a new day dawns, I will reach out to my likes, co-believers in one common identity, those men and women who would rather share my identity of being Nigeria than prejudiced units designed by men to divide and rule those who don’t how Nigeria they are. Beyond being Nigerian, all must be Nigeria. Being Nigerian is an unavoidable reality of birth, but being Nigeria is a choice, the choice that stems from knowing that when tomorrow comes, corruption should not see another light of day, the path that leads to liberty and opportunity for Nigeria. Politics will seek to divide us, politicians will always divide us, but we can rise above tribal and political partisanship, we can become saints of unity by stopping the cells of religious bigotry finding root in our brothers and sisters.
I am Nigeria, I will not tire, I will not falter, I will not fail. I am Nigeria and wherever I go, whatever I think, say or do, I will always do to live, to rise and fly, to soar beyond the emptiness of today to the fullness and abundance of tomorrow. I am Nigeria and this I pledge: To serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory…To be Nigeria till I see greatness and brightness forever and a day more. If they say I can’t, I just take the “t” off because Nigeria Can!
God Bless Nigeria.
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