By Emmanuel Adebayo:
Once upon a time in the history of this beloved country of ours, we had a focus, and that was to SERVE OUR FATHER LAND, WITH LOVE, STRENGTH, and FAITH… That's what our anthem reads. In primary school we sang it with so much pride and joy; although we didn't understand the meaning of those words, we were still happy to sing it. By Secondary school, it was a different story; we were forced to sing the anthem. I remembered that a part of the national pledge that read: TO SERVE NIGERIA WITH ALL MY STRENGTH, we turned it to: TO SERVE NIGERIA IS NOT BY FORCE! We felt Nigeria wasn't doing anything for us so why should we? The true meaning of the words in the anthem and pledge has been lost in the storms of greed and selfishness.
At the time, we knew nothing save for giving our best to serve the nation, but right now, all we think about is filling our pockets – nothing more! People used to be just happy to have the opportunity to serve. I remember listening to several stories from my grandfathers about the 'good old days' they called it. My paternal grandfather was a soldier and was proud to have had the opportunity to serve. He proudly told me stories of the exploits of the Nigerian army in ECOMOG – peace keeping forces in several countries. My maternal grandfather was proud of his days as a teacher. Both spoke of the opportunities they had to impact lives that seemed to have been the peak for them. At both their burials, I listened to people testify about how they had been influenced by my grandfathers.
It was as if suddenly the rhythm of the Nigerian music changed in the late 70s to the early 80s; we suddenly woke up and felt we needed to be served too by the nation. We dumped our ideas of serving and picked up the ideas that serviced us! We shifted from serving the father land to the father land serving us! Now the anthem sounds more like: TO BE SERVED BY OUR FATHER LAND BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE…THE LABOUR OF OUR HEROES PAST WE WILL REAP AND REAP AND REAP AND REAP… the problem is if we keep reaping, who will sow for tomorrow. We today are products of the favor seeds sown years ago – the question is what seeds are we sowing for the next generation?
Leadership reflects the people. The woman in the car from the previous edition, kept reiterating the point that many men within the country were not good husbands let alone fathers and yet we expect to have good leadership? It will never happen! These men cannot even manage their nuclear families well, how do we expect to have leaders who will manage a nation like Nigeria well with such diversities?!
Herein lies the conclusion of my thoughts, we as a nation have spent the last couple of decades pointing fingers at the leaders forgetting that they come from amongst us. We are consumed with so much hate for the leaders that we forget to mind our families and see to our children, we are losing control at home and in the street and yet we want good leadership. We want equity and justice, but we don't give it in our personal daily activities. If the laws were to be taken to account and all of us brought to book, every one of us would be guilty of one crime or the other. So here's the deal, let's take our eyes off the government for a while and look inwards – Personal Leadership is the key to good governance – great people, great nation; corrupt people, corrupt nation… God bless Nigeria, God bless us all!
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