My back leaned comfortably on my little reading table. It was a cool evening, and I had chosen to stay alone in my room. There was absolute silence, except the tick of the rotating arms of my broken clock on the wall. I turned on my ricktety radio on my study table for a little entertainment and enlightenment. Fortunately, there was a program commemorating the sixtieth independence anniversary of Nigeria on the radio station I tuned to. I listened for about an hour before the audience were given an opportunity to air their views. I dialled the phone number of the radio station only to discover that I had no airtime. I rushed through the hallway of my hostel to meet a lady in our hostel common room to purchase an airtime. I returned back to my room to make a phone call to express my views. It seemed so hard to get my call connected to them because of the multitude of people attempting to call them. After several attempts, my phone call connected with the radio presenters, and I expressed my thoughts with pains in my heart.
“Little by little, our entity is lost as a country. Step by step, we move away from patriotism. The citizens blame only the government for being corrupt, meanwhile, corruption is cemented in the hearts of almost all Nigerians. We pay attention to understand the whole problem, but we fail to realize that our challenges need to be broken into pieces, and treated as tiny fragments. We need to cuddle with the words of Ellen Hopkins: “Sometimes the little things in life mean the most”. Nigerians have to start rebuilding Nigeria from little by developing our minds”.
“Nigeria is celebrating her sixtieth anniversary after Independence with a smile on the face, but with injuries in the heart. Every citizen blames the government without even knowing that the government is the people. An average Nigerian condemns the presidency for the current increment in the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) pump price, but still exploits people if given the tiniest opportunity.”
“The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not get only an iota of praise from most of it’s citizens. The citizens on the other hand do not have the power to blame the government completely. A Nigerian who is comfortable with throwing wastes on the ground to litter the environment has no power to blame the government for not doing what is expected of them. A Nigerian that is greedy, and does not wait for the traffic light to turn green before moving his/her on the road should not have the guts to blame the government. A Nigerian that skips queue on the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) does not have the right to blame the government. If we change our usual habits, we will turn our despair as a nation to our power. That is why the little things matter most. They make the bigger things better.”
“In as much as these attitudes portrayed by Nigerians are bad, the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not exempted from blame for the despair roaming with pride within the borders of the country. Presently, there is flood in Kogi State, Delta State, and many more states in Nigeria. The government does very little to curb this challenge. The flood in Lokoja, Kogi State has swallowed up part of the main expressroad in the state. Recently, the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, was shut down because some gunned men attacked the hospital, and several citizens that were patients in the hospital were thrown into confusion and absolute difficulty. The government did not intervene quite well to ensure most people, despite being moved from the hospital are still taken care of.”
“A country that does not have a standard health system, and most of its political leaders receive medical care outside its borders is in shambles. A country that always has its educational system disrupted by either The National Union of Teachers (NUT), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COESU), and other academic labour unions is in chains. A country where some state civil servants are being paid percentages from their salaries is in bondage. A country that embraces tribalism is enslaved. We are expected to be United in our diversity. A country that cannot boast of good roads is in despair. A country that has Hydro Electric Power Generation dams, but lacks electricity is in shame. A country that most of it’s citizens do not have access to good water supply is in sorrow. The graveyards of all our late independence fighters would be bathed with tears if only the dead could cry. It will be sorrowful for them to see the nation they fought for being trambled upon by it’s citizens and leaders.”
“Conclusively , I’ll like you all to know that Nigeria as a landmass and enclosed border is blessed, but Nigerians are wrong. Nigeria does not make Nigerians, rather, it is Nigerians that make Nigeria. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Nigerians have to be the change we want to see when we celebrate our 61st independence anniversary on October 1st, 2021″.
I dropped the call when I finished talking, and I felt a little relief off the worries in my heart for my dear country. Nigeria cannot change Nigerians, only Nigerians can change Nigeria.
Ojocheyi wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org