WHERE ARE THE PATRIOTS NOW!
A couple of days ago when I made an inquiry into what kind of post I should begin with first, my long time friend was of the opinion that I needed to talk about patriotism and its presence or lack in the context of my immediate society which is Nigeria.
For moments as I sat down to write the first necessary post for this column, my mind kept a constant loop of his demand. This is because his opinion crossed paths with a lot of issues that has stricken my society in modern times, but the irony of it all is that for a long time, and even right now as I write this post, my country has been in a state of denial about its own constraints and its actual place in the context of its vision for itself and its people. This denial is catalytic because it creates a dire situation where the citizens are faced with an over evaluation of where the country is supposed to be, while the leaders are faced with the reality of where the nation is. These different visions of a nation’s state create a rift because the government is not willing to explain its position to a populace it has peddled into voting them. This in turn creates a charade that drives a country deeper into its own symptomatic problems. This however is my opinion and not an investigative inquest into the intricate puzzle that is Nigeria.
Patriotism in earnest refers to “national pride, national feeling or an emotional attachment to a nation which one refers to as his homeland.” A patriot in this case can be seen as “an individual who feels a strong support for his/her country”.
The above definition of terms is especially clear and precise until one decides to include the context of the Nigerian society into it. As one relates this, we discover a very dialectical society that creates a reaction of problems to the issue of patriotism in Nigeria. This is because there are conflicts of identity that have permeated through the rose coloured glasses of independence. Over the course of the free years, the average Nigerian has had to face the severe questions of several relatable and most times important ideologies that determine his true loyalty and dedication to the Nigerian cause. These questions border on the issue of ethnicity, regional division, religious affiliation, and most inherently party affiliation.
Whether we seem to agree or not the above listed ideologies do affect the meaning of a patriot in this modern Nigerian society. We find ourselves inherently more concerned with the foothold of our party in power that we neglect the cancerous effects of the porous leaderships it offers, in such cases we vehemently oppose any criticisms that is brought against it. In this sense we forget the true essence of a patriot whose sole ambition lies in the progress of his country regardless of the politic involved. In the same notion we drag religion to the fortress of politics and this has always even in history proved to be a bloody mixture, religion is a beautiful gift of absolution and should be enjoyed without being brought into the constraints of power play that makes either one or the other factor feel threatened. In this sense, my country has failed in its patriotic duty, this is because religion has a foothold in its system it’s sometimes hard to fathom whether our constitution is secular or any other thing.
And at the base of all this small missteps we find our ethnicity entrenched in us, we carry its flag so much we forget that there is a flog of our nation to carry too. Maybe we gave up because our mandate has been continuously soiled and raped by bigotry and cultural chauvinism that the only rational result is to be chauvinistic ourself.
But while we face the smaller tunes of party affiliation, religion and ethnic sects, our nation languishes in oblivion waiting for patriots who would do it for the good of the land and not for their affiliates, comrades who are objective to whatever society presents as our problem and not defined by strict subjective ramblings; it is searching for men and women who love the nation first and are prepared to look forward to the day when collectively, we stand at the threshold of nationhood and sing our beautiful anthem, remembering all through that we had worked together to get here, and we only ever did it because we are patriots!
The question is , WHERE ARE THE PATRIOTS NOW?
I look forward to reading your comments towards a possible patriotic Nigeria!!!!!