Judging from the situation we have found ourselves since independence, nay, from our existence even as separate tribal units, can we still justify this blessed notion? If we are blessed, should we still be groping about in the dark for good leaders? And if we agree that we are blessed specially by the Almighty, so also are we cursed with extreme poverty and other sufferings caused by bad leaders, as exemplified by their corruption, lack of ideas, prevarication, insensitivity and depravity.
In a lot of cases, some of the so called blessings have actually been converted into curses for the majority of our people. Oil is one of them. What enjoyment or benefit is it to Nigerians when we have so much oil and other resources, but which dividends have not filtered down to the common Nigerian on the street or in the village? What is the benefit of our oil wealth to the Ogonis, the Ijaws and the people of the Niger Delta for example? Or for that matter, the people of the high hills of Adamawa or the â€œtalakawasâ€ of Kano and Maiduguri, or to the poverty-stricken people of Iseyin and Abakaliki? Or the suffering people of Mushin and Ugwashi-Uku? And the under-siege citizens of Port Harcourt and Benin?
Yes, Nigeria may be a blessing or a blessed nation to the corrupt ruling elite who we tolerate everyday stepping over us and slapping us in the face with their ill-gotten wealth. But to me, Nigeria, in its present state, is not blessed. And I said before, it is indeed inapposite to use that term
Blessed Nigeria indeed! The sixth largest producer of oil in the world having such inept people in government, despite their so-called education, mismanaging our vast oil wealth and people. A blessed country where corruption in high places, and even in low places, is the order of the day; a blessed country that cannot feed its people, provide education and jobs for its youth, light the streets and provide energy that is required to drive a modern country; that cannot provide even the most basic of health care for its people; or provide effective, efficient, cheap and safe transportation modes for the movement of its people and services. And all these after almost fifty years of independence from colonial authority, who in fact, bequeathed a progressive legacy to us, and all we needed was move it forward and develop it.
Wealth, like power and other blessings, is a unique gift from God, and it is not specifically designed for a particular set of people in the world. When a newborn baby arrives in the world, irrespective of race, tribe, religion or gender, the baby represents a blessing from God, not only to the parents, but to the society of the world as a whole. It is then what this baby does with its life that matters to God and humanity. When a people are blessed by God, God expects us to use that blessing to benefit other people or the whole society, not a few people in the society. It is not a mundane gift to be trashed about.
In a country where we pretend to be very religious, blessings and forgiveness from God, and progress, will inevitably continue to elude us because of our hypocrisy, wrong-doings and wickedness towards one another. I am not a Mullah or a Pastor. The goodness of Man is within him and is expressed and judged by what he does to his fellowman. In Nigeria, it is the opposite. We have so many Churches and so many Mosques that any alien from another world that visits the Earth; will think, at first look, that Nigeria is the country where God has put His children (despite what the Israelis say). You should see what is going on in those churches and mosques. You should see what the mullahs and pastors are doing, and you should see what the congregation themselves are up to. No good at all. Lord, forgive me if I am wrong.
Please by all means, go to church (I do) or your mosques, believe in God, but God knows your intentions.
But let us look at ourselves first as a people, a country, a nation or a state and define ourselves properly, and then we can really start counting our blessings, if indeed, we are blessed more than others.
Here are some definitions:
Â· In political geography and international politics, a country is a political division of a geographical entity. Frequently, a sovereign territory, the term is most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation and government. ( Nigeria seems to fall into this definition)
Â· A nation is a human cultural and social community. In as much as most members never meet each other, yet feel a common bond, it may be considered an imagined community. (From all our history of agitation for separatism or federalism, including a Civil War and unending agitation for creation of states, we are not a nation, but that is not to say we cannot co-exist peacefully and share common bond or other mutually progressive initiatives)
Â· A state is a political association with effective sovereignty over a geographic area. These may be nation states, sub-national states or multinational states. A state usually includes the set of institutions that claim the authority to make the rules that govern the exercise of coercive violence for the people of the society in that territory, though its status as a state often depends in part on being recognized by a number of other states as having internal and external sovereignty over it (Again, we may fall into this category, but I will leave this to social and political scientists to categorise)
Â· The nation state is a certain form of state that gets its legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity. The term “nation state” implies that they geographically coincide, and this distinguishes the nation state from the other types of state, which historically preceded it. If successfully implemented, this implies that the citizens share a common language, culture, and values ( Nigeria, by this definition, is certainly not a Nation State)
I just gave these insights for us to be able to judge ourselves and determine where we are going. Sharing common bonds is certainly akin to sharing a common blessing. Are we doing this at present? Does it matter whether we are a state, a nation, a people or a country? America, that icon of the world, hardly falls into many of these categories, yet it is acknowledged to be the greatest country in the world. This might be because they proactively and positively utilised all the blessings (natural resources, climate and environment, the diversity of its people, etc) to the benefit of their people. The progress and welfare of the American people come first, as far as their leaders are concerned. It is entrenched in their constitutions and laws, and is not negotiable. That is what made them great.