Oh! How can I express the love I have for my beloved country, Nigeria? Words are not enough to vividly capture my deep affection for her. I love her just the way she is! Some have said, Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Yes I know. But I love her anyway. Others have taunted her as a country where nothing works; no electricity, escalating unemployment rate, no water, no good roads, no adequate health care facilities, youth restiveness in the Niger Delta etc… Even over 70% of her populace live in abject poverty. Of course, while these are factual realities of her existence, it will not diminish my romance with Nigeria. I am committed to love, appreciate and, remain steadfastly faithful to her, in spite of her socio-economic travails. I will sacrifice my all, even to the point of laying down my life to making her realize her potential as the giant of Africa and the pride of the black race. I believe in her and I know that very soon she would evolve into an economically developed nation. You know when a man loves a woman he would do anything for her.
The love I have for my 'bride' -Nigeria pre-dated my existence on planet earth. After God had created me, he needed to send me to a country where I would fulfill my divine assignment (purpose). In the process, a 'beauty parade' was organized, where different countries would pass before me, flaunting their 'beautiful' endowments and I was expected to pick a ‘bride’ from amongst them that appealed to me.
The first country that came before me was Japan. She was very 'skinny'. In terms of natural resources, she had no crude oil; no gold, just an aggregate of tiny islands. I didn't like her. I rejected her. Then the second country came. 'Miss USA'. Although she was very 'beautiful' in terms of economic development, I didn't like her, because she was 'disabled' with racial discrimination. She was 'Limping' as a nation. China came along, she looked very ugly because of the scars of natural disaster like earthquakes, cyclones, etc… In fact her presence was nauseating and so one after the other all the countries were paraded before me, but none caught my fancy. At this point, I was exasperated and confused. I then asked God: "Sir, are all these the countries you have?"
"Oh, my Son, there is this last one that is yet to come, I know you would like her" he replied.
While we were yet speaking, she just came along and God announced, "here she comes, 'Nigeria'. Immediately, I saw her, my heart skipped. She was indeed a beauty to behold. She was the most beautiful amongst all the countries in terms of natural resources (endowments). She had everything: Crude oil, Bitumen, Surplus arable land for agriculture, luxuriant rainforest vegetation, suitable climatic condition (the only country where you can work for 12months in a year -no extreme cold, no extreme heat). While I was still dazed by the arrays of her 'beautiful' natural endowments, God quietly whispered into my ear: "My Son, I know you would fall in love with her. I took quite some extra-time and interest to adorn her with all these beautiful endowments. She is a masterpiece of my creations… "
As if suddenly jolted from the romantic enrapture,I stammered in response: "Sir, she is the one. I mean this Nigeria. She is the one I would marry. Please give her to me as a 'wife' now." God sensing the urgency in my tone and attitude quietly asked again: "My dear son, are you sure she is the one or are you just carried away by her beauty."
"She is the one sir" I replied.
"Okay. It's your choice" he re-echoed.
Then the day of my ‘marriage ceremony’ came. The almighty God himself was the officiating priest. The following marital vow ensued: "My Son, do you promise to take 'Miss Nigeria' as your lawful 'wife', in sickness and in health, in poverty or riches, in war time or peacetimes till death do you part"
"Yes, I do."
"Do you promise to love, preserve and protect and contribute sacrificially for her, to attain her potential greatness as a nation that would be envied by other countries of the world"
"Yes I will."
"Okay, at this junction, by my authority as the Almighty God, I hereby pronounce you married to 'Miss Nigeria'." Immediately after that pronouncement, I became born a Nigerian to a humble Parent in a rural settlement in Edo State.
However, many years after my birth, I was confronted with the harsh realities of being a Nigerian. I just graduated from the University and I had completed my one-year compulsory service for my nation. My immediate challenge then was how to get a job that would enable me to cater for myself and my Parent who have sacrificed all they had in sending me to school. But the cruel realities of acute unemployment dashed my hopes of a prosperous, financially secured future. As I looked around me, palpable gloom seemed to have enveloped the nation. Every facets of our socio-economic life was in an ailing state. There was economic rot in the system. Virtually everything was falling apart. Name them: Poor and decaying social infrastructures, no electricity, no adequate healthcare services, the list was indeed endless. No thanks to the corrupt and selfish leadership, we have had from independence who diabolically conspired to strangulate the Nigerian Nation through the callous embezzlement of our collective wealth especially the notorious role played by the Military elites that hijacked power from the political class. Only to exacerbate our woes as a nation.
While in this moment of sober contemplation for my beloved nation, I wept profusely. I was completely despondent and sunk into an unredeemable despair. As I thought of the way out of this paradox called Nigeria. The most attractive option that came to my mind was to 'jet' out of the country perhaps, to America or Europe, where I could find greener pasture and prospects of a future of my dream. At this point, I began to query God, "Why did you create me a Nigerian." Curiously he did not reply. So I continued with my preparation to travel out this country. Every day, I would join thousands of disgruntled Nigerians in some of the foreign Embassies: USA, Italy, South Africa, Togo, Niger, Kuwait etc.. to process my traveling documents just to escape from this
'Hell on Earth'. Nigerians where daily leaving the country in droves, in spite of the humiliation they suffered in these embassies. They were not perturbed in their desperation to 'escape'.
Then one day, after I have returned from one of the embassies, disappointed and confused, because my Visa request was denied. I lay down on my bed trying to recover from the shock of the Visa denial, I dosed off. Then as if, in a trance, I heard a still voice:
'Why do you want to leave this country Nigeria?" Remember you chose her before your birth. My Son, it will be unfair to 'divorce' her now that she needs you the most. You need to stand by her during this period of her political and socio-economic travails. Remember! you promised to love and always cherish her. Don't abandon her now. She needs you dearly." The still voice continued: "Interestingly my son you have the capacity to transform her and the ability to help her realize her great potentials. The solutions to all the problems that have be-deviled her are in the inside of you. Moreover your relationship to her is a permanent one."
"You talked about, America for instance, during their struggle and challenges of building their nation: I sent men like; Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Henry Ford, J.F. Kennedy (remember him, the man who said: 'think not what America can do for you rather think what you can do for America.') What about Martin Luther King Jnr. who said: 'I have a dream' and his dream brought an end to racial discrimination.' This list is endless. What about your African brother -South Africa? I sent Nelson Mandela to redeem her from the ugly grip of apartheid policy that almost tore the country apart."
"Oh! Mandela, my son! Because of the love he had for his nation, he spent 27 years in Jail. But at the end of the day, apartheid was dismantled. Do you need more examples? Okay, do you know it was the love of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, Anthony Enahoro and a host of other patriarchs had for Nigeria that motivated their struggle for Independence?"
"Now my Son, go therefore and tell Nigerians to passionately 'fall in love' with their country. To love her to the point of even sacrificing their lives for the enthronement of a better society. Remind them that, everyone should be married to Nigeria and that they have a responsibility for her restoration and transformation."
"Tell them that they carry in their inside, solutions to the problems of Nigeria which ought to be unleashed. Herein lies the fulfillment of their divine assignment!"
"Enjoin them to stop this blame-game and pointing-of-accusing finger. Such unproductive pastime will not move the nation forward."
"Go now and mobilize, patriotic men and women that would champion the birth of a new Nigeria" And then, I answered. "Yes sir" immediately, I woke up and realized, it was all a dream. But the divine mandate of that encounter has fueled my passion to campaign for the birth of a NEW NIGERIA.
So let us join hands together and make Nigeria a better place.
God Bless Nigeria.
God Bless you.
BY AZEMOBOR GREGORY
International Coordinator, Voice of Change Network Int’l
Follow him on twitters @gazemobor