Religion is one of the reasons Nigerians continue to pray and do nothing. Even God won’t do for us, what we can do for ourselves. Religion is the bane of our cohesion as a nation.
I am crossing the River Niger, with nothing to do but sleep again; the raging political discussion in the bus won’t let me. You see, I am one of the few believers in the school of thought that this generation will change Nigeria. Then it dawned on me (crossing the Niger), that this generation has the odds stacked against it, and I might just be holding on to straw in a raging ocean. Social Media has brought a new era. I see young people doing great things with it and my heart floods anew with hope. The petition for the Mob Justice Bill and the Save Citizen Relief for the victims of the flood (It turns out on of the states I just passed through is one of the affected ones (Anambra State).
I see young people, who are not rich, dip their hands into their pockets to give to someone whom they’ve never seen, in a place they’ve never been, who need their help. And all this happens on social media. Seeing these, who would not be hopeful? A dying man would hold on to anything that resembles hope, even if it is a pin. So do not blame me. In the midst of my euphoric hope, it has finally dawned on me; reasons our generation won’t change Nigeria.
The most obvious reason is our inherent tribalism. The average Yoruba man, won’t let his daughter bring home an Ibo boy. The Ibo man won’t stop feeling different from the Hausa man. Do you see that a house divided against itself cannot stand? How do we change a country, when we are against each other? Is it not time to discover the root causes of this evil trait and destroy it from the root?
Look atthe United States, the most ethnically diverse country on Earth, still stands as one America. From blacks, to Hispanics, to Asians to the whites; Americans will still remain Americans. Though they still have their issues and separations, they have learned to live together.
The second most obvious reason is religion. I called it a curse a while back and some labelled me the anti-Christ. Religion is one of the reasons Nigerians continue to pray and do nothing. Even God won’t do for us, what we can do for ourselves. Religion is the bane of our cohesion as a nation. It has created friction even within tribes. Nigerians are very religious people and we take our religion very seriously. While this is true, most of us only practise hypocrisy; despite our religion, we still have hatred, killings, and corruption. Who are we deceiving? How can a country of hypocrites move forward? Some even use religion to justify their bigotry and intolerance. How can we come together and build a nation with this mind-set?
The “me-me mentality“ will be the Waterloo of this generation. How, you ask? We want success, money, and power. Some are even using social media as a stepping stone to getting political appointments. Nothing would have been wrong with that, if they were joining the right political parties that they didn’t criticize earlier. It is obvious that they are joining for their own personal interests. They end up much like their godfathers dipping their fat hands in public funds. Sadly, this is where most young people today are headed. The testament to the saying: “If you haven’t been bought, you haven’t seen a man who can pay your price yet”.
Many generations before us, believed they could change Nigeria. What happened? Where did they go wrong? Is it not obvious we are now making the same mistakes they made? Can we indeed change Nigeria, the way we are going? Aren’t we on a wild goose chase? Nigeria may slip from our hands, like it slipped form our parents, and their parents before them. If we do not pause and address these problems, the Nigeria of our dreams may just be slipping away… again.
Opemipo Adebanjo is a writer, columnist, social media lover and boundary mover. She blogs at www.opesays.com and tweets from @opesays
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.