We are creating a future of totally disconnected Nigerians. Disconnected from the land, disconnected from themselves, disconnected from Africa, disconnected from reality. We are raising a generation of non-patriots on one hand, and those who will take revenge on the nation, for real and imagined ills, on the other.
It is important for us to project into the future no matter the fact that no one can predict the future accurately. What sort of children are we creating? What sort of Nigerians are we grooming? What sort of Africans? At the upper end of the ladder, the children of rich people are totally disconnected from reality. At the lower end, they have equally been bred to despise the country. Since the majority of the children of the rich are wired to stay back abroad after their studies under the belief that ‘Nigeria is rubbish’, we are left with the children of the poor to run the affairs of Nigeria – with the few exceptions where corrupt politicians try to recycle their children to continue the corruption legacy. Those ones too are not being raised in patriotism, but to come and revenge for what the currently rich people have done to them; including using the commonwealth to raise their own children who end up as expatriates in foreign lands.
Yet my generation seems to have agreed that our time, opportunity and resolve to make profound changes, seem to have passed us by. Many in my generation say that we can no longer redeem Nigeria and we should wait for those coming behind. But if we cannot turn Nigeria around, and our children will not, who will? The way things are going, it’s as if we intend that one day, the entire space called Nigeria will be cleared out and foreigners will come and run the place. This is true, because a disconnected generation cannot undertake the arduous task of taking a nation to greatness. You have to be involved to make impact; involved enough to the extent that when things go wrong, you stick to your guns and press on in the belief that the sacrifice is worth it. National greatness is a long haul affair. And it is not for the chicken-hearted, the distracted, the horde whose gazes are permanently fixed abroad.
I write this article after I watched a short clip on Facebook where four children of a private school somewhere in Lagos, Nigeria, were asked “which is the best country in the world”? Unanimously, they were of the opinion that Nigeria is the worst country on earth. One mentioned that ‘London’ was the best country on earth (probably because their middle-class parents have taken her there one time too often), the older one was vehement that the USA is the best country in the world (despite the frequent occurrences of gun crimes and virulent police brutality). Their reasons were even more ridiculous. The older child (about ten or eleven years old), said she believed Nigeria was the worst country in the world and that this country was ‘fantastically corrupt’ (her words. Apparently she has been watching TV and listening to adult conversations). She said she believed that to be true because British PM David Cameron said so, and that Cameron cannot lie!
At the heart of our problem is a certain strain of inferiority complex. It is the reason why we stick our children into any school that has a foreign name in front of it. British, American, French, even Turkish. Hope we are taking note of the ongoing Turkish imbroglio wherein their government has alleged that CIA-backed opponents of theirs are behind the Turkish this-and-thats in Nigeria. They have asked for the closure of the schools. They even alleged that the money used to fund the recent bloody coup was housed in a Nigerian bank and transferred into Turkey from here. But I digress. Our future generation believes in the white man. Whatever he says is true. Whereas I am equally awed by the achievements of the white man, I am also aware that they can be very cunning and have achieved some of the vaunted feats through deception. Is anyone teaching our children some cautious optimism; to be circumspect and to know that ultimately, they are their own best bet and Nigeria is their greatest opportunity? I doubt. Our private schools are teaching them to be posh and to view Nigeria as shit. It may be shocking to many of them who will progress to study and live abroad that those glistening countries only have a good façade under which is so much rottenness. See the way the American police has been killing black people lately and no sane person will want to live in that country.
Like I wrote a few weeks ago, the best place for any Nigerian to do business is Nigeria. Matter of fact, the best place for anyone to live, is their own country. The icing on the cake is that a country like Nigeria is full of challenges, and those challenges are the essence of life. No one will tackle the challenges of Nigeria but us. Invariably, we are bequeathing even more problems to our children, only that we are NOT building them to take advantage of those challenges.
Instead, they are released to foreign countries, to solve problems that they did not create in lands where they have no stakes. Or we are just spoiling them.
I recall a friend’s daughter telling him that she and her friends have elected to have a meeting in New Jersey, USA during one summer. My friend had to start running around for visas and tickets that he did not plan for. We sometimes say we don’t want our children to suffer like we did, forgetting that most times, it is that suffering that made us into whom we are today.
There is a price for princehood and princess-hood. Look at Princes William and Harry of England. They were born into the richest and most privileged family on earth… well almost. But in order to keep their sanity, they have had to do even more humble things than their parents ventured. Harry has served as a soldier in Afghanistan, risking his life. Ditto his brother. There is a price to attending nursery, primary and secondary schools with air-conditioning in them, being driven to and from school by chauffeurs, being served food in bed, being pampered, having tons of new clothes and shoes, and jewelry. That price, is even more humility and sacrifice. Any of our children that does not pay this price, will miss his or her way. It is our duty to let them know.
So as we send these children to these fancy schools, let us ensure we put in their hearts, the love for their country, and make them know that whatever they see that is wrong with this country, they must step up and correct it. They are better off doing this, than being slaves in another man’s country. Modern slaves, wearing ties at best, even sometimes making money, but NEVER quite belonging in those countries. So repeat after me: NIGERIA IS THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Take that to the bank.