What does Nigeria mean to me? It means hope and promise of a greater now and future; it means resilience and courage to rise from dust and nothing; it means purpose in disarray, unity in diversity, brotherhood in divergence and love even in dangerous times.
It will be a violent lie to say Nigeria is perfect or that it is all plain sailing for the country. Nigeria is perhaps in the throes of grating insecurity like never before; unemployment is soaring, inflation galloping and infrastructure decaying. The country is beset with problems all-around. But Nigeria does not stay down. It has never stayed down. The country survived a civil war; it triumphed over an abusive military era and returned to democracy.
Nigeria has survived pestilence, riots and unimaginable chaos that split countries. It is still going. And it will keep going. Nigeria pulverised Ebola even when global projections said the disease will permeate the country. Nigeria is containing COVID – against all odds and gloomy predictions. Nigeria will always triumph – over the pestilence of the night; the darkness of Edom, principalities and powers; snakes and scorpions.
Why does Nigeria always win – in the end? It is because you, me, they, them, we, us. It is because of all of us who despite our dissatisfaction with the system, come together to steady the ship and steer it aright against the blizzards and tempests. It is because you who despite your financial challenges refuse to compromise the public purse; refuse to steal public funds or cut corners; it is because of you who decline to take bribes to get jobs done; it is because of you who against personal trials and tribulations refuse to join the choir of the scoffers who do not see anything good in the country and who will neither make an effort nor contribute a mite to its progress. It is because of all you who do not give up, but stand to fight for the country.
When I say ‘One Nigeria’ I do not deny the very obvious threats to our unity. I do not live in denial of the chasm keeping us apart, but I believe in that uncommon facility of Nigerians to close this gap and work together for the common good. When it comes down to it, Nigerians are their brother’s keeper. We have seen this rare quality in display all the time.
When some criminals in Plateau state went on a vicious mission to kill Christians in 10 villages in Bakin Ladi area on June 23, 2018, Abubakar Abdullahi, an Imam, spirited away hundreds of Christians into his mosque shielding them from the grim reaper. When the butchers confronted the Imam, he refused to give up the over 263 souls he was saving from the emissaries of hell. He asked them to take his own life instead and spare the Christians. This is why Nigeria will always win. Even when the agents of darkness are encamped around us; the bearers of light will always rise up to vanquish the scions of the devil. There is a surfeit of goodness in Nigerians.
‘One Nigeria’ is not a political placebo; it does not mean the absence of conflict or a denial of the present realities; it is a term that should evoke hope and promise for us all.
Nigeria will always win.
Merry Christmas, Nigeria.
By Fredrick Nwabufo; Nwabufo aka Mr OneNigeria is a writer and journalist.