Nigeria: A Reality or Will- o - the Wisp?

 Sunday, October 22, 2000
 Ejike Onuogu

To take stock is an enabling process. It is sine qua non in unraveling the truth about our state of affairs and pivotal in such defining moments when a decision is made by a government or a people to bring a matter to fruition or seek an alternative pathway that eventually leads to Rome.

Against this background one reawakens the discussion on the legitimacy of Nigeria, her government, leadership and her people. A lingering question and a food for thought is whether the current disposition of Nigeria and indeed other black nations point to a genetic aberration. It may ring sour in the ears of many but the facts are glaring and we can only be in denial. And certainly it is this aspect of reacting to reality with primitive, ego-syntonic drives that has muffled our thinking, perhaps blurred our vision and also hardened our hearts so that we perpetually fail to appeciate the truth. Indeed, this has been our undoing. This has been the point of stagnation of Nigeria as a nation. In fact to restructure the Nigerian mind and attitude, we may have to eat our heads and die in the process.

The new millenium is a time to take stock once more and identify the cankerworms of our body polity and by collective bargaining renew a commitment to put things right. The ideology of Nigeria first, must take center stage in any efforts to disseminate the truth to our people. There is no doubt that a million years of bickering will only leave Nigeria in tatters , while we continue to legislate on the timing or corrrectness of the man who wears the hat.

The call for a sovereign national conference may be belated at this stage in the history of our country. Nigerians have a lot to gain in our heterogeneity than a flat homogenious, clan-oriented outfit. The fact that one part of Nigeria dominated leadership at one stage for many years may well be a valid instrument to gauge our success or failure in the engagement process of healthy and permissive dialogue to redefine and reinvent a new Nigerian nation.

Once again the mind must blend with the substance. There must be a plan. There must be an architect. To philosophize on the improbabality of Nigeria emerging from the trenches of third world nations and becoming a super power is nothing but treason. This is the mindset of the black man and it must be expunged from the genes if indeed it is so entrapped.

The footsteps to a new Nigeria now leads to individual doorsteps. The ideas are not esotheric but lying fallow in the astute minds of our citizenry. These ideas must first manifest the altruism in us, and place us in that a state of mind where we think of nothing but being our brother's keeper. It is a state of mind that exudes love and tolerance. We must shed such emblems like Ohaneze, OPC or Arewa Congress. We must instead put on the Nigerian cloak. This alone is symbolic of progress and unmatched by any forseeable sovereign conference.

Nigeria, a reality in our hearts can be a reality in our eyes. But we must be prophetic.

Ejike Onuogu, MD, MSc
VA Medical Center
Buffalo, New York

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