I am in church and we were asked to pray for Nigeria,I must confess i prayed with half of my heart, and that is saying something because I am one who in every speech I make I am fighting for the course of Nigeria. I mean if you are around me and someone - no matter how much I love the person- as much as sneezes a negative comment about Nigeria, I would balk. So it hit me wam in the face when I struggled to pray for Nigeria. Why this hit me all the more was that, in the same breathe we were asked to pray for burkina faso,and immediately, compassion flowed through me for that country. This is a country that all I know about it was probably playing “find the nation” with my brother as a child. But compassion flowed through me for that country almost immediately. I was “convicted” on the spot. I a preacher of patriotism, couldn’t find enough compassion in me to truly pray for my beloved country, Nigeria.
I could come up with a lot of theories as to why I fought to pray for Nigeria, but NONE will justify my actions. Yes the country ( better put the custodians of the country) haven’t allowed the country yield or is it continue to yield her increase for her citizens. It is so painful that this country that was once tagged the big brother of African countries now is being scorned by the same (some) of these countries they have helped. It’s not like other African Countries don’t have their issues, it seems to me that the world and indeed Africa thinks Nigeria shouldn’t be found in the anals of her country.
I don’t want to go into an intellectual rhetoric about what and how Nigeria should be run. I’ll keep my thoughts really basic, and since my gist started in the church,I’d get a little esoteric. I’m sure most of us listen to comedians and even critics of “foreign”/developed countries, I am not sure I’ve heard any of them actually speak I’ll of their country. They speak about entities and people causing the imbalance in their polity, but never say anything particularly negative about the country itself. This may not go down well with die hard critics, however, I choose like I said earlier to be esoteric. I believe every country (the spatial entity) has ears, and hears what we all say, about it. Am I suggesting we shouldn’t speak out against the plethora of socio political problems facing Nigeria? By no means, No! I am only implying that we live with the understanding that we all contribute to the “state” in which Nigeria has found herself.
The other day, I was driving through two states, lagos and ogun and it broke my heart that even the police stations that are supposed to be the epitome of patriotism, have weathered flags - the Nigerian flag and the police flag- flying in their compounds. As heart breaking as that was its nothing compared to how we treat ourselves as a people. We have absolutely no regard for ourselves or place any real value on how we should exist. We complain daily on how the government seems to have no value for our lives and living, but then I see how, we as a people do not position ourselves in such a way that sends a message we want to be valued. Examples? Driving against the flow of traffic, “shaunting” lanes in ordered queues, and generally “haters” of order.
Femke van Zeijl, puts it succinctly in this piece: http://saharareporters.com/article/femke-becomes-funke-celebrating-mediocrity-nigeria-femke-van-zeijl and she couldn’t have painted it more clearer.
On further emotional investigation, on why i couldnt pray for Nigeria, I found I was grieving. Grieving the fact that, as much as we love to pray and call on God in Nigeria, we seem to have no clue on how to live right to back the prayers.