Most Nigerians don’t celebrate their heroes. They don’t celebrate their intellectuals. They don’t celebrate their best and brightest. They don’t celebrate the honest and the hardworking. They don’t celebrate the Achebes, the Soyinkas, and the Utomis and very many others. They don’t celebrate the first-rate. Unlike a time that once was the vast majority of Nigerians no longer pay attention and deference to the learned and the philosophers amongst us.
Today, it is the Aba traders, the Mushin money-doublers, the yahoo yahoo, the Lagos dream merchants, and the political prostitutes in Abuja and all spots in between that have become our national heroes. We doff our hats to these groups of people; we prostrate before them; we kiss the ground they walk on. We hail them and encourage our children and the younger generation to look up to them.
It is as if Nigeria is bereft of honest people. Day after day, all we hear about are corrupt and thieving governors and minister and other high ranking public officials. It is as if you don’t have to be smart to be somebody. Illiteracy pays. Duplicity and mediocrity bears benefits. Lying and cheating and raping and exploitative behaviors are now perfectly acceptable. It is almost as if you don’t have to be anybody to be somebody. Striving for the best and for excellence is almost a crime.
I am thankful for the life that I knew in the Nigeria of my growing up. I thank all the men and women who had profound influence on my life, i.e. Rev George Adegboye, Chief Bola Ige, Pastor Sola Kolade, Kayode Alaka,Pastor Sam Adeyemi, Kunle Awofolajin and Deolu Akinyemi. But of course, there were others. I remember them all.
The youth of my generation let us stand up and create the Nigeria of our dream.