*Propeller Newspapers shares posts and commentaries that promote Nigeria’s national integrity and oneness
1.0 Before we get too far into the trenches, let’s be clear that this is neither about supporting the governing All-Progressives Congress nor indeed President Muhammadu Buhari who’s convalescing in London. Rather, this is about defending the (inter)national pride of my Nigeria. This is about the very prestige of the presidency of Nigeria, my country.
2.0 I am old enough to know that anyone who insults my family, or village, State, LGA, country, or any of my leaders (Family or Village Head, Councillor, Paramount, Chairman, Lawmaker, Governor, President etc.) is targeting me and should never ever go scotfree. I fear that when I permit any of such insults today because it doesn’t concern me directly or I am in another political party, I may not have the face or mouth (read moral justification) to raise the alarm tomorrow when the tide changes.
3.0 Next, let me also concede that the Buhari presidency from the get-go didn’t quite do a good job. In fact, with a little under two years left of the 2015th mandate, cynics can argue that the Buhari/Osinbajo administration is yet to be that surefooted in drafting or following a roadmap. One hasn’t seen the magnitude of change they promised, or the consistency we crave.
4.0 However, only a liar would deny that in the last 26 months the country has undergone a few fundamental changes (for instance, the conscious or unconscious liberalisation of the national political space which has thrown 2019 elections wide open, or the financial orientation given to Nigerians gratis, which has drastically cut down our squandermania). Apart from the liar, someone who’s given to playing politics, which is our national pastime, may also insist that PMB, APO and Company have achieved nothing hitherto. Where do you belong?
5.0 But seriously: like every government, the current Aso Rock has its pros and cons, mired in the horrible challenges of ethnic politics, unmobilised populace, and slow motion, closed circuit approaches to governance. Yet, while I may not worry that much about my co-citizens badmouthing the performance of the administration which in any case is relative, I take strong exception to ridiculing President Buhari because of his health troubles. Here at home, my grouse is about Nigerians showing each other respect and empathy within the political space.
6.0 But, internationally, my grouse is about politics. Nigerians need to know that it is hmm(!), fair or understandable to call ourselves names within; but quite unfair, insulting and unacceptable without for any other nation or national to poke fun at our country or our people. Enter Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN. To be sure, I am a CNN addict and Mr. Zakaria’s Sunday Sunday compelling show is on my must-watch list. Yesterday, his regular vox pop segment tended to denigrate our president’s prolonged medical leave abroad. I wasted no time in making for the USAmerican’s jugular:
6.0 ‘Yes, Mr. Zakaria, cry for USA not Nigeria because with a hyper-capable, urbane, respected and professorial Acting President Osinbajo Nigerians lose no sleep over the prolonged absence of President Buhari. We know that once his doctors give their say-so, he would return. It might interest you to know that here in Nigeria, our main worry which is shared by the rest of the world is about your country. We feel for USA seeing the daily damage done to her global integrity by the presence of your president’.
7.0 No country or foreigner should ever be allowed to insult Nigeria or Nigerians. And, no Nigerian (even if only half so) should encourage or help to spread such comedown rhetoric. I woke up this morning to see the social media awash with Mr. Zakaria’s satirical insult. And, who re-disseminated it? Young Nigerians! Problem is: most of them may not even know the implications of their action.
8.0 This is where National Orientation Agency should come in with the much-needed nationwide intervention. Let the Federal Government immediately revitalise the public enlightenment body by transfusing it with the fiscal blood it needs so it can bounce back and run around nationally. Enough of the ‘no money, no release’ excuses!
9.0 So much the agency can and should do to sensitise and mobilise and, most importantly, nationalise the citizenry. Nigerians need to be taught how to be good, patriotic, selfless citizens of Nigeria; rather than only of State and Tribe, which is what obtains. It is the only inoculation that this snoring giant of Africa requires urgently, going forward.
10.0 God bless Nigeria! …B
Micheal BUSH is the President of BUSH House Group and a columnist with Nigeria SUN newspaper