GOD: Young man, why the long face? What is the problem?
GOD: Oh I know. It is Nigeria on your mind, right?
ME: Yeah (in a frustrated tone)
GOD: Okay, let me hear it. What is it this time?
ME: Why can’t the people of this country ever see themselves first and foremost Nigerians, before anything else they are: religious faith, ethnicity, place of origin? What is so hard in us deciding what is good for us all rather than what is best for me? 50 years after we became independent, we are still grappling with unity.
GOD: Yes, 50 years ago you became independent. 96 years ago, you found Nigeria. But you are yet to find Nigerians
ME: As in?
GOD: As in the fact that being Nigerian consists of much more than carrying a green passport or having Nigerian parents. It is that feeling of patriotism, that burning passion you have for your country that no matter what your personal ambitions are, you realise the fact that it also depends on your country prospering. It is that mindset of you are going to stay together and make this project work to the satisfaction of each and every one of us, no matter how diverse and different you may seem to be.
ME: So why is it so hard for us to achieve this? There are countries as diverse or even more diverse than we are, yet the question of nationhood and national unity is not an issue for them.
ME: Take India for instance. They are a nation of about 800 tribes, 1.2 billion people, 6 different practising religions, yet this does not give them headaches…..
GOD: But then, they have made their nation a place of equal opportunity where anybody can be anything. For example, their present prime minister is a Sikh, and that is a religious minority
ME: Okay, what of Tanzania? An African country like we are, 150 tribes, 2 major religions evenly divided amongst the people just like Nigeria, yet they have crossed the divide.
GOD: First, they have a common language – Swahili, plus they also made it a place of equal opportunity. Both countries you have made mention of have made conscious efforts to make their countries places where anybody could be anything he or she wanted to be, as long as he worked at it. Any more examples you want to give me?
ME: But God, can’t we just pray to you and you make this happen? After all, we are a very religious nation.
GOD: (laughs derisively) Young man, I am not Nigerian. As much as I want to help you out of your quagmire, you must also be willing to get yourself out.
ME: So what is the way out?
GOD: First, you have to get leadership that will point you in that direction. And that is what you lack.
ME: But we have leaders!! What happened to all the people we have elected? They are leaders and….
GOD: (interrupts) Their being political office holders doesn’t make them leaders. Leadership is not about positions. It is about influence. As a matter of fact, they benefit the most from this present situation as that is their only route to elective office. And that is why they stoke the embers of religious sentiments, ethnic bias, regionalism, etc, all your politicians and rich people. And in case you never knew, when the rich wage war, it is the poor who die.
ME: So what you are saying is we do not need people in positions of authority to unite us?
GOD: Exactly!! Now you get my drift. I’m not just looking for one man. I’m looking for a people: young, aggressive, hungry for change, fed up with the status quo, willing to risk everything and step out. That is the people your country needs to make the change. And that is the answer to all your prayers.
ME: But where are we going to find these people? Our young people are becoming increasingly apolitical every day, because they are frustrated at being ignored and being told they are not ready to lead the country
GOD: These young people are right there amongst you. They are there in the universities and higher institutions. They are there in the private sector, working for companies or for themselves. They are the same young people that have placed your country on the world map of music and movies, when the government didn’t even know what they were doing. These are the same young people that can bring succour to a nation that is in dire need of unity and cohesion.
ME: O God, I don’t know about that….
GOD: Listen to me. When I wanted to move in Ukraine, I had to wait until the young people decided they were ready. I have wanted to do this in Iran for a long time, but not until the young people there said “Enough!” and presented themselves as willing tools before me. And so it has been with Nigeria too. I’ve wanted to make my move here for a long, long time. But you have to decide for yourself how bad you want change. Only then will I be able to make this happen. Yes, I can answer this prayer, but I need the channels to push the answer through. The young people of Nigeria are the channel.
This is the verdict – for a positive change in Nigeria’s unity and national spirit, I need a nation that needs it so bad that they wouldn’t stop at anything until they got it.
We pray for miracles, but we work for results
The Spirit Of A Nation