We acknowledge the New Year with drumbeats of joy, with shouts of victory and levitated spirits. We welcome you to that year of great expectations, for our nation state, and our collective destinies.
The British, an estate comprising of three nation states, England, Scotland, and Wales, exported the cloned philosophy of three regional parliaments into a geographical mass conveniently named Nigeria. They forgot to tell our ambitious nationalists that it took several hundred years and a whole lot of strategic marriages to bring these three nations into the common entity we now refer to as Britain.
We were founded on the premise that peoples with distinct cultural values and passions would simply morph into a governmental philosophy unique to the British. We inherited a civil service with imploding forces of ethnicity and regionalism, and a military taught in the best of Sandhurst methodology, which justifies colonialism for economic interests and ideological polination.
In short, we inherited a foundation that was not designed to survive 50 years. Therefore, over the past 49 years we have meandered purposelessly in the comity of advancing nations and have arrived at no particular destination because many of our social, cultural, political and circumstantial leaders were or are people with sight but no vision. Leaders mainly prepared by the British, to recognise the supremacy of the foreign political and socio-cultural systems imposed upon us since the 18th century.
We are now faced with the questions that our past leaders should have asked 50 years ago before taking over the reins of the independent state;
"Who are we?"
"Where are we going?"
"What are our values?"
"What do we need to do to get there?"
In the six years following our independence, the same nationalists were unable to hold the state together until the miltary came in and established Khaki Colonialism. Thus we continued, falsely thinking, that according to our cultural nuances, "the leaders will fix the mess". But Alas! Our leaders were not properly prepared to lead a mighty nation, as they would their business empires or massive famlies.
So, we have come to a threshold of expectation - will our next 50 years be as our last 50? NO, never again, I hear the voices of a new generation saying. We have prayed and fasted, some took up arms, there were several coup-de-tats and backyard manouvering by leadership cults - yet none could deliver to the next generation the nation of our expectations. It is not for nothing, as the BBC says, that we are the world's most religious people, and the happiest. Translated, God has a special interest in Nigeria.
We have hoped and desired wholesale change, we have screamed and published invectives at sodden leaders to deliver to us the nation of our dreams. But in all this, we still don't see what Ezekiel saw - dry bones that became a living army...a dying nation given a new breath of life. A self-centred people suddenly chanting, "All Hail the Nation - God bless Nigeria".
But as there is a season to plant and also a season to harvest, the crooked generation did sow, and this Jubilee they will reap. But we have a challenge, how do you get a people so disillusioned, that inertia has become a part of their lifestyle and mindset; how do we get the new generation to put up and step up? By delivering the new vision of the new nationhood of our earnest expectations.
This year, as we approach our Jubillee, by divine providence and hearty commitment, we shall see the vision of the Nigeria of our dreams, and we shall be delivered from the formless shadows of ambitious and selfish regents carrying the instruments of state without divine approval or enablement, nor the blessing of their people through a fair and just ballot.
However, each of us must reflect today, in the new year, what will be my part in this evolution? What roles will history record concerning my contribution to the nation of my expectation. How shall I expect to reap where I did not sow? How shall I expect to reap blessings if all I sowed was discord? What nation building programmes was I involved in, rather than lashing out at the purposeful? How shall I get righteous leadership if I am averse to righteousness in my personal life?
This is the year of destiny for our beloved nation. The foundation we lay this year will sprout and manifest for another 50 years. Our expired generations are on their wheelchairs, whether figuratively or euphemistically. Their voices will not echo beyond this season. It is now our voices that will resonate into the approaching decades. Destiny is now, my beloved patriots, lets eschew paranoic criticism, and begin to vision the future, to formulate programmes, plan events, participate in the political process, mend our own shortcomings, and deliver the nation chaste and robust in health to our future generation.
As it is written, so shall it be done.
Happy New Year, God bless you, and GOD BLESS NIGERIA
George H. Ashiru