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“Which Way Nigeria?”




By Emmanuel A.C. Orji,

For some time now, one Radio Station in Owerri has continued to play the music with the above title, Which Way Nigeria?, composed by Sonny Okosuns. Each time I listened to it, my mind is agitated as it reminds me of the irresponsible attitudes of Nigerians that cause me to regret being a Nigerian.

Listen to the song by Sonny Okosuns released in 1984:

What pains me most is that the younger generation of Nigerians has degenerated into a people without love of country but a generation of money worshipers that prefer filthy luster to their country.

An incident that once occurred in a Parish, (Name withheld) deserves mention. At the end of Mass one Sunday, members of the Finance Committee of the Parish, after assembling all the money collected that Sunday, handed it over to a Mission boy to deliver to the Parish Priest.

While the boy was going to do so, he took some of the money and put into his pocket.  But while doing so, he did not know that the Parish Priest saw and observed his dishonest behavior. When the young boy arrived the Parish House and handed over what was left of the money to the Parish Priest, the Parish Priest  asked the Mission Boy to search himself. When he did, a lot of money was discovered in his pocket and he had no explanation for how he came by the money. The Parish Priest asked the Mission Boy to sit down and sent for his mother.  The mother of the Mission Boy came and witnessed the dishonest and shameful conduct of her dishonest son. The woman was ashamed of her son, the embezzled money was released to the Parish Priest and the woman and her son went home disgraced and ashamed. It is not impossible that that was not the first time that the dishonest Mission Boy stole mission money. As the saying goes, “Every day for the thief, one day for the owner of the property”.

There is also this interesting story. After beating up her son who stole mercilessly, a woman asked him(his son), “Do you know where you will end up if you continue to steal?” And the boy readily answered by claiming that he knew. And the mother asked him “WHERE”? The boy readily answered “NATIONAL ASSEMBLY”. This takes me to another shameful story about Nigeria.

 Writing in the Guardian Newspaper on Sunday,  March 28, 2010, Reuben Abati reminded us that “ ‘Senator Nuhu Aliyu once warned Nigerians that the National Assembly is full of criminals’ and although he had promised to identify a few of these, his forthrightness was met with such high hostility from his colleagues that he quickly made a volte-face. Are the lawmakers saying that there is no problem with having indicted persons, even convicted persons in high office?” Rueben Abati asked.

While delivering a lecture some time ago, the outspoken Catholic cleric, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah also told Nigerians that the thugs of yesterday have become the rulers of today. Many politicians show no mercy in looting public funds. The greatest tragedy of their looting propensity is that they steal what they do not need. Because there is no modicum of patriotism in them, they stash the looted money in foreign countries that are better off than their own country! If they believed that Nigeria is their country, then they would not steal from Nigeria – no one ever steals from himself.

The people themselves are the more guilty. Rather than be angry over money stolen by public office holders, they eulogize them, sing their praises and join them to share some pittance of their loot. But no sane person sings the praise of one who steals his money except the Nigerian. So, from the above analysis, it is clear that no one believes that Nigeria is his country, because no one loves it. In particular, Senior Citizens will always lament over their plight if they are not taken care of in their old age. For Nigeria to survive, its citizens must love it. But its citizens can only  love It  if it is made lovable. And this is only possible through good governance based on the rule of law and respect of the fundamental human rights of citizens.

The premium that Nigerians place on money will ruin us. That is why we deserve a u-turn from our present conduct by putting our future in the hands of the best among the best of our land or we shall perish.

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