According to Robert Kennedy, “it is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped”. This is because courage itself is life, courage is grace under pressure, daring to face life’s challenges and overcome them rather than dodging them.
While the words patriotism and nationalism were once considered synonyms, they have taken on different connotations. While both are the feelings of love people feel for their country, the values upon which those feelings are based are very different.
Feelings of patriotism are based on the positive values the country embraces — like freedom, justice, and equality. The patriot believes that both the system of government and the people of their country are inherently good and work together for a better quality of life.
In contrast, feelings of nationalism are based on a belief that one’s country is superior to all others. It also carries a connotation of distrust or disapproval of other countries, leading to the assumption that other countries are rivals. While patriots do not automatically denigrate other countries, nationalists do, sometimes to the point of calling for their country’s global dominance.
The past few days have been full of drama, particularly, with the crisis rocking the ruling political party, All Progressive Congress, APC, amongst other issues of national interest which goes to show that there is no better time than now for courageousness and resoluteness to take back our nation.
The fiasco that has played out within the party structures in recent times has, to a large extent revealed that Nigeria lacks courageous, patriotic and nationalistic leaders. Leadership in Nigeria, is mainly about self-aggrandizement, competition for political power to the detriment of the ordinary citizens and discriminatory politics.
The discriminatory and competitive nature of Nigerian politics is shown in President Buhari’s warning to the leaders of his party, APC amidst the crisis on Saturday. He had urged APC members to look at the once-powerful, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) now enfeebled and adrift and learn lessons in disunity, mismanagement and corruption. According to him, the PDP failed in 16 years in power and also failed as an opposition party.
Reacting to President Buhari’s comments, PDP described Buhari’s administration as a certified failure, accusing the administration of completely mismanaging our national affairs and turning our nation into the poverty capital of the world and the third country with the highest level of terrorism according to the World Terrorism Index.
Paradoxically, it is Nigerians that ought to learn a lesson in “disunity, mismanagement and corruption” from the 16 years rule of the PDP and the winding eight years rule of the APC.
As the country prepares for the long run up to the 2023 presidential election, it is important that Nigerians are educated on the need to desist from selling their votes to rudderless, corrupt, disunited, disorganized, arrogant political party and candidates, who once they get into office, would bring unprecedented economic hardship, chaos, escalated insecurity, a state of anomie and hopelessness in our country.
In conclusion, in our search for a better Nigeria, we must rise up to rescue our nation from arrogant, selfish and unpatriotic individuals who only see political office as a vehicle for self-aggrandizement to be held at all cost.
ARISE ‘O COMPATRIOTS!
Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.