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The Nigerian Patriots Or ‘Playtriots’ ~ By Prince Charles Dickson


Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey

To serve our fatherland

With love and strength and faith

The labour of our heroes past

Shall never be in vain

To serve with heart and might

One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.

So last week Mr. Buhari, the Nigerian President spoke during a taped interview broadcast on Nigerian Television Authority, he said so many things, but trust many a Nigerians to focus on the trivial and infinitesimal—like that “who is Muhammadu Buhari” question and the responses that followed.

And trust me, I don’t blame Nigerians for our comedic approach to many matters of national importance, after all a local axiom captures it as, “matter wey reach to cry, na laugh we dey take follow am”. So as bad as the economy is already, whatever brings out comedy we grasp it no matter how painful it is.

I am equally sure that for me, and few Nigerians we were concerned on matters that were worth a critical thought. In that recorded interview Mr. Buhari said on the delayed budget passage, “I think a culture was developed in the National Assembly that they should dictate the terms, which was wrong. It is the executive that dictates the terms and takes it before the legislature. It (the legislature) will examine it and agree or disagree with it.

“But when they go around posing that they are the government and not the executive, then that’s the problem. I felt and I spoke personally to the Senate President, Saraki, and the leader of the House, Dogara. They could not deny it.

“I asked them how they felt to hold the country at ransom for seven months without passing a budget. Unfortunately, they were not hurting me; they were hurting the country. So, really, in terms of PATRIOTISM I think I rated them very low indeed.”

Patriotism—the quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.

Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings relating to one’s own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. Wikipedia

The True Meaning of Patriotism—Patriotism is not something that can be simply defined. It is something that people feel inside of themselves, and this feeling is different for each and every person. Many people have varying views on what it means to be patriotic.

Can anyone tell if Dogara is patriotic, how about Saraki, is Mr. President patriotic? How many Nigerians are patriotic, how can a nation have patriotism in her spine when both leadership and the led doesn’t understand what the term means. How do you get a people that confuse ethnographic nationalism to patriotism, substituting party and faith affiliation to be patriotism?

A people that diffuses every action to self-interest and preservation, a nation that her politicians cannot even lay unalloyed allegiance to a political party irrespective of tides.

Our only iota of patriotism is Anthony Joshua, the Sagamu-British or the British-Sagamuite born boxer; don’t try Nigerians when the not exactly any longer “super eagles” are playing soccer. We are all patriotic! We pray and I have seen Nigerians fast so we can win. Nigerians across age and social strata are loyal to Arsenal, Chelsea, Madrid et al, some top ranking officials who won’t visit Chibok, would fly to the theatre of dreams in Manchester to watch Man United. We have Jersey Parties of European teams, and not many Nigerians possess undying and unrepentant loyalty to Zamfara United FC.

We are patriotic in the wrong directions, men of god, god of men across both major faith command more patriotism than the nation. I see patriotic Adeboye and Oyedepo faithfuls, I see zealous faithfully loyal and patriotic Nigerians who would not faint for Nigeria but will die for Baba Nyas, Sheikh Dairu or Yahaya Jingri. And no offense meant but it brings up the debate of who is above whom.

We mouth change, next level, any level but the nation is saddled with ‘playtriots’—they won’t pay tax, they would break traffic regulations, won’t update their vehicle registrations…by-cut the regular electricity channels and complain of the power distribution. We play with nationalism and are patriotic if the issues are religions driven.

For the likes of Messrs. Buhari, Obj, IBB they see patriotism as we fought the war to keep Nigeria together and united, however today’s Nigeria isn’t together nor united. Everyone wants to “hammer” no nails; all but none see the country as a honeypot and cash cow and act as undertakers.

So in 20 years of uninterrupted democratic rule, where are the patriots, check the class of ‘99? The patriots have disappeared, where are the Mantus, Boni Haruna, Vincent Ogbulafor…where is Chibudum Nwuche, how about Pius Ayim, Soludo; apart from a handful, many have died, two are in prison, these are men that should have stepped into shoes of statesmanship. There’s no serious politician or leader contributing in other ways to build a nation of patriots. We are a nation riddled with persons who are clannish in thoughts and action. Arewa warlords, IPOB Secessionists, Niger Delta Militants…it’s a long list of grievances.

When we take developments to a section because they voted you and deny those who exercised their suffrage differently is that patriotism. When we classify some Ministries as juicy and others not juicy and meant for a section of the country, how does that define as patriotism especially when the holder of such portfolio does not deal fairly with all.

Loads of ‘failed leaders and politicians’ would be jostling for political offices, as the next level train commences, none with a blueprint to excel, none with a patriotic spirit but rather all is about self aggrandizement. It’s very okay to criticize Mr. Buhari, blame the APC or PDP, but to wish him or them failure is akin to wishing your pilot to sleep while piloting a craft you are inside. Nigeria is in dire need of patriots, where are they, can they stand and be counted—Only time will tell

Prince Charles Dickson, PhD; Development & Media Practitioner; Researcher|Policy Analyst|Public Intellect|Teacher; 234 803 331 1301, 234 805 715 2301; Alternate Mail: pcdbooks@outlook.com; Skype ID: princecharlesdickson

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