by Obinna Igwebuike and Osita Egbubine
Could it get any worse than this? Why would a generation with such promise be submerged in so much uncertainty? Sad times we live in. The evil that men do unleashes terror in the land. We look to our leadership, but we glean no inspiration. The mother of all misfortunes occurred when a Dana crash recently claimed over 150 compatriots. Hope wanes but Nigeria is worth fighting for.
It may seem convenient to give up hope. Why not? We live in a hurried colonial fabrication. Different lives under the same roof. We do not seem to have gotten the leadership issue right. We have not done so in over a generation. What is there to hope for? Many have given up hope in very vocal terms. Others have resorted to quiet resignation, but Nigeria is worth fighting for.
We are perhaps the most significant generation Nigeria has ever had. The country is attracting huge global attention. Opportunities abound as a growing middle-class and a youthful and vibrant population get exposed to the opportunities in information and technology. We should ideally, have no problems creating opportunities for the next generation. However, in almost the same proportion, we have had a dreadful lack of inspiration from earlier generations. Such a paradox is the reality for our bridge generation that lies somewhat uncomfortably between the wasteful one of the past and the hopeful generations of the future. But Nigeria is worth fighting for.
Over the years our generation has gone from being naïve about how much of a mess we really were in, to hoping that we could somehow escape its effects. When that didn’t work, we embraced religion and prayed hard, and some more in hope that somehow, the Almighty One will create quasi-sanity in our chaotic sphere. We then realized that it was going to be impossible to have that so we sought good paying jobs that will take us from the derelict neighbourhoods of the bottom-of-the-pyramid folks to the upper echelons of society’s finest. But even then, as we have climbed up the social ladder, we have been unable to escape the effects of bad leadership. We still fix our end-of-discussions with more money than we ought because the roads are bad; we still have to paint the cars as often as we can because the ‘danfo’ drivers have neither been educated nor trained to know to drive; and we still have relatives who die because the public health system could not cater to them due to industrial actions.
The unfortunate Dana Airline crash shows us the transience of life. Any one of us could have been on that flight. Nobody on it was more deserving of death when it came knocking. And sad as the incident was, it was only a microcosm of the several other needless deaths that have plagued the country in recent times. Lest we forget, there were families on the ground, probably having Sunday lunch in their homes when they were visited by a megaton bird. At least 20 other people died same day albeit earlier in Bauchi State. The day before people died on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway as oil tankers exploded. In trying to make sense of these and other painful episodes in our nation’s history, we identify a much more fundamental issue – Nigerians’ complete lack of faith in Nigeria. We are no experts at interpreting the details but it doesn’t seem that that national apathy has paid or will pay us in the long run.
Nigeria is worth believing in and fighting for. We need to live each day pursuing our life’s purpose, for each of our lives’ purposes, in being fulfilled, will give this country the life-support it needs to make it out of intensive care and back to the tracks. We do not imagine that there is a more important purpose at this time for the bridge generation, than to get our country back on track.
We need to keep hope alive, work together and create the country of our dreams. Create networks and use your sphere of influence to show exemplary leadership. Do what you can to build Nigeria. Nigeria is ours, Nigeria is worth fighting for.
Why is Nigeria worth fighting for? One day, our children will also make it out of childhood naiveté into the consciousness of their national identity. They would then ask us what we did with the tools we had at our disposal to wrest their future away from the hands of the blind. It will be impossible to explain to them, why our audacity and hope failed us. Most of us have no other country to call our own. And we submit that a bad raw material that can be refined is better than no raw material at all. Nigeria is currently a bad material, but it can be refined. It will start with the decision we make today to believe, to talk and to walk.
Obinna Igwebuike (@ObinnaIgwebuike) & Osita Egbubine (@Ositane)