I listened to a speech this morning. It was delivered by Dike Chukwumerije. He titled it “How do you love a nation that never loved you?”.
I am not sure if anyone is meant to have an answer to this. It almost feels like asking how to love those that betrayed you, accused you, used you, and broke your spirit; you know, the things that take a “Jesus” to surmount.
I enjoy listening to the tales of my parents. Their childhood was the stuff dreams are made of. It tasted of corned beef, cord liver oil, margarine, and jobs after university education.
They said once upon a time there were rarely thieves. The occasional times they were rumored to have operated, they were only after the pot of soup, and it took just one shout to get them on their heels.
My uncle told me of how he got his first job right after his NCE, an official car and residence without any single connections or external help. Had I not known him well enough I would have counted it to be the lies from the mouth of the elderly.
I hate to complain because, in many ways, my childhood was sweet. Nevertheless, it was worlds apart from that of our parents. Even though my parents were well-read; my dad was a respected lecturer and my mum a secondary school teacher, I spent a lot of my childhood on the farm. We literally had to grow everything we ate because there was never enough money to buy them.
Growing up in the late 80s and the 90s taught me just one lesson – In this country, things often seem to only get worse. I literally watched every part of society go from bad to worse to hopeless.
First was electricity. From being fairly constant during my childhood to become almost nonexistent in my adulthood. Then insecurity; the plague that has wrapped its scary hands around my country. Thieves no longer run, they come armed with guns and machetes and an overdose of impunity. Bandits have gotten bored of terrorizing the ordinary man, they seem to enjoy the rush of blood to the head from robbing police stations and making a mockery of military strongholds.
The sad twist to this tale is that the miscreants that did all within their power to snuff out every hope we could have in the future are the same guys that benefited from the golden era of a nation. They had jobs, shelter, relative security, but then turned around and vowed no other generation will be so lucky.
Do you realize that the national anthem has become one of the most redundant rhetorics to utter? A call for compatriots to rise. I only wonder how compatriots are produced in the void of true nationality. We have lost our nation. Kids today are not even born into a nation. We have been tossed from the burning grasp of the military to a land where Power Destroys the People and finally, an All Progressive Conquest of the people bent on breaking what’s left of our already broken spirits.
It is almost impossible to preach love for a nation that never loved you. It is indeed overwhelming to be saddled as we are now, with the responsibility of repairing the damage inflicted by a selfish and greedy generation of vipers. It is even harder because that generation is adept at outsmarting us time and time again.
They have changed names from PDP to APC and convinced us we are fighting two different enemies. They were so wise to convince us during the last election that only one of them is worthy to ascend the throne to ruin our lives furthermore. Once again, like sheep, we cast our votes and danced to the slaughterhouse.
They have realized how grateful we feel for the scraps that will sometimes fall off their rich dinner tables. So once in four years they loosen the grip of their fist and let the tiny drops trickle down the dry throats of the masses. Oh they know, those tiny drops are better than any mind control pills.
When we think we have figured them out, they remind us that we are really all not one. Then we fight against the Igbo; he is a fraud. We fight against the Hausa and Fulani; he is an illiterate opportunist. We fight against the Yoruba, he is a dubious betrayer. And when we are done, they keep us busy with new toys, new distractions.
I am writing my thoughts because I feel my generation is lost to this chaos. I do not see the change in mentality, or the self-emancipation and determination much needed to break loose of these shackles. But I remain confident that my kids will not live through these shambles we call a society. They are our hope, they are our wake-up call. If it is possible to love a nation that never loved you or to save it, it might just be because of them.