My expression today is ecclesiastical. I want to let it all out before our Creator on behalf of one of the greatest nations in the world. The afflictions besieging Nigeria may truly be many; but this nation is great. I am not alone with this opinion. I therefore rope my hope around millions of others’ all around the world that the best days for Nigeria are not too far out.
Nigeria took a swift swing into its 55th year of Independence yesterday with a subdued celebration. Every year, the country grows old but it’s not growing up. We are united without unity in many hearts; we face immense struggles in all shapes and on all fronts. Many of the elements that make up this country are still groping through pages of history books to find the justification for why Lord Lugard amalgamated a people who many believe can’t see eye-to-eye. The last century of the union has been tumultuous; and the marriage doesn’t seem to make sense no longer to very many.
I am not one of those who blame all the woes of humanity on the invisible God. Human beings out of ignorance do create intractable problems for themselves. Nations relishing in abundance and prosperity today exist because their men work hard sacrificially in unison to make those nations great. When men fail, a nation fails. Before every nation is the extant opportunity to harvest peace and prosperity. Their men, therefore, must be ready to play their essential parts.
Prevalent despair and torments stare a majority of Nigerians in the face daily. These are stark realities that aren’t going anywhere. Where are our great men? Where those great men and women who can help us achieve greatness? Over the last 55 years we have had men we still celebrate up till today. Many of them are now late, but they were all great men in the own rights.
Obafemi Awolowo was acknowledged great in the West; Nnamdi Azikiwe was an admirable tower in the East, and Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, was an enigma in the North. Together with many others dead and alive, they emboldened their footprints on the interlock of Nigeria’s history. Those who are no more did their best; they raised disciples who took over the batons from them. The disciples in turn raised other disciples who are attempting to raise others in a combined effort to make Nigeria a beauty to behold.
Today, unfortunately, Nigeria is still lying in the dust. On the surgeon’s table she still lies with confusing diagnoses. As the nation strives to cure an ailment in one part of its body, others sprout up with symptoms of worse illnesses. Vital organs of Nigeria remain battered and bruised. Corruption has metastasised like inoperable cancer; ethnic hate and religious intolerance have been the surreal weapons of mass destruction. On this 55th Birth season of Nigeria, in a soliloquy, I am assigned to pray that: God give us men; God, give us great men!
Great men, according to American author and Chemist, Henry Eyring, are those who can catch hold of men’s minds and feelings and inspire them to do things bigger than themselves. Great men are those who stir feelings and imagination and make men struggle towards perfection.
I humbly postulate that great men are not just those who are intrepid and passionate about making others great. They are those whose words are trusted, who mean what they say and say only what they will strive to make happen. Great men are those entrusted with the gavel and authority of government, and will not rake in for themselves inheritances meant for their children’s children. Great men are those who daily strive to make ordinary people’s lives worth living. By no means should great men be expected to solve all of humanity’s problems; they just have to do their part. For South Africans, Nelson Mandela was great unto death. For African-Americans, Martin Luther King Junior stood on the platform of greatness for his people until his life was cut short by the assassin’s bullets. Where are those great men in Nigeria? God, give us men.
Give us men who will see the dreaded, slow-killer garroting corruption as an abnormality. We need men who will keep the vice of profligacy away from the presidential palace, the governor’s mansion; the senators’ quarters, and the ministers’ boulevard. God, give us great men who will lead with modesty, simplicity, tenacity and quick-wittedness; men who are firm yet fair; who are tough yet temperate. God, give us men who to whom money is not as a god to be worshipped with a cornucopia of desperation to garner and amass. Give us men who will stand in the forefront commanding, instructing, directing aright and not pretending. We want men who are not lovers of tarradiddles, not paramours of prevarication, and not fanatics of fibs. God, give us men who will not only talk the talk, but also walk what they talk as they work to make things work in Nigeria. Give us men who will not employ an analog mentality to attempt success in a digital age. Men, who will chart new paths, with boldness, dump old ways that have failed; and explore the new that will bring the winning formula. We want men with class acts, not crass acts; and men whose hearts and souls freely embrace others who don’t dress like them or speak their language. God, give us men whose hearts are detribalised. God, Nigeria needs men!
We are tired of men who put self first; men who will not heartily do anything pro bono; and men who believe that the whole world is about them and them alone. God, give us men who are not wont to grabbing it all without conceding anything; who fleece the people without consideration for the needy; and who desire to hang on to power for eternity without thinking that nothing in life lasts forever. We are tired of men who pitch us against one another just to seize power; men who pole us apart with divisive tactics based on Faith.
We need great men in the church and the mosque who will lead us to the throne of God with purity in their hearts and humility in their bones. We want men who are representatives of God, not ambassadors of aggrandisement and envoys of silver, gold and bling. We ask that God give us men whose lifestyles will attract us to God. We need great men who will not take advantage of the government joining others in secretly fleecing the people and not feeding them as required by God. God, give us men who can sustain greatness with a span long enough to build greatness in others. We want men who will make this country achieve great things. God, give us men!
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