The true story of how Nigeria got into this adversity

February 2, 2018 Africa , Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

AFP photo



Amara Femoh Sesay



O God of all creation

Grant this our one request

Help us to build a nation

Where no man is oppressed

And so with peace and plenty

Nigeria may be blessed


[Excerpt from the 1st national anthem]



Situated in West Africa, just north of the equator, the Federal Republic of Nigeria stretches along 923.768 square kilometers of land with diverse cultures, ethnic affiliations and plentiful natural resources with almost a quarter of West Africa’s arable land. The country boasts a rare blessing on the entire continent of Africa. Being the most populous black nation and one of the top ten oil producing nations in the world, an observer from Mars would be tempted to consider it as the nation destined to rule Africa-forever. That should be the case if greatness is only limited to what people hold in their hands and not where they direct their minds. The heart is the king at whose disposal are the resources of the body and the surrounding. A sound mind, therefore, makes a healthy and prosperous nation!


The Nigeria we live in today is not the Nigeria even a pessimist in the late seventies could have dreamt of. The naira replaced the Nigerian pound in 1973 and was valued at $1.52. Yours was a country that could boast of hope and dignity for all her citizens, even after emerging from a bloody civil war. Yours was a country every African should be proud of and a fabric around which the great ideals of Pan-African unity and brotherhood were finely woven. Shockingly enough, a country that seemed to be losing all blood relationship with poverty suddenly became encircled in bloody poverty. The cloud of darkness between the masses and prosperity became so dark that even if you stretch your hands like a giant all you could catch was darkness and suddenly, either in fear, desperation or ignorance (or a combination of all) the people turned against one another.


When we talk of Nigeria today, the images that we contrive are those of horror, atrocities and jumbo acts of corruption, but do we ever remember that this is the same nation that fought hard for the dignity and freedom of countries like Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia? Do we remember the financial and moral support Nigeria offered countries like South Africa and Mozambique? That so many gallant Nigerians lives were lost to bring peace to countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia? The truth is that Nigeria knows how to sow but does not have an inkling on how to reap. So, every day since after the Structural Adjustment Plan or even before, the country of such might and ingenious minds seems to be consistently wandering inbetween Egypt and Jerusalem. You don’t want to enter Jerusalem, nor do you want to return to slavery…so what do you want?


You see, we are all struggling as Africans to make headway and gain the dignity other nations have won by their hard work and sense of organization. But struggle should not be a synonym for damnation. We should not undervalue what we have achieved so far and overvalue what others have achieved, if such an action will throw us into the dungeons of despondence. Never let down and never let up. Just keep on struggling. It is not time to throw insults at one another, because my weak knowledge of History has empowered me to say loudly that no army has ever repelled the enemy through mere insults. It takes faith and determination to win. Fellow youths, do not waste your future wallowing in the debris of the past, because today presents you a potential you can never equate to anything in the past for the simple reason that today empowers your tomorrow. The past, unfortunately, is just what it is: P.A.S.T – Put Away Such Things.


Be there and never get exhausted along the road; if other nations have worked past their mess why not you? Be there and don’t give up, dear Nigeria. You have the problems and you also have the solutions. Why nourish the problems and kill the solutions? Be there for your being there heralds the fulfilment of great dreams of pan-Africanism. You command a great place on the global space, don’t you dare leave that space vacant. Please go for it because it belongs to you.


Everybody speaks about Nigeria’s problems and I do not feel bad about speaking about Nigeria’s problems either. What I feel bad about though is the fact that individual Nigerians seem to have no faults! The whole problem is with the other man, the other tribe, the other region or the other religion. But an outsider may never see that imaginary line of the good tribe and the bad tribe or the good region and the bad region. What we know is the good or the bad Nigeria depending on how you want to sell it to the world. The good people and the bad people are not in separate regions, they are in your midst – in every tribe, every region, every religion. We only make the other man, on the other side of the divide more intolerant and callous by our stereotypes. This is a basic sociological truth. Please don’t tell me you are ignorant about it.


Go out of these tribal caves and challenge great things. Africa, and indeed, the whole world is tired of waiting! Be true to your own endowments and cultivate the needed self-discipline to develop God’s Great Gift to humanity.





Amara Femoh Sesay

Amara Sesay is a Sierra Leonean writer, education innovator, and journalist who resides in Nigeria. His works have been published both locally and internationally. He is a Fellow of Ebedi International Writers Residency and an alumnus of British Council (Nigeria) Leaders for Tomorrow. In 2016, he was shortlisted for Youth Innovation Award by United Nations in Sierra Leone. Amara can be reached on [email protected]

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