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LET US REASON TOGETHER – To Build A Greater Nigeria

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I am always intensely proud of Nigerians. I am also passionate about how to move Nigeria up the ladder of successful nations. More importantly, I believe in doing good to all manner of people; irrespective of colour, gender, race or beliefs. The faith I profess teaches in Galatians 6:10 that: ‘’As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  I go further to quote in Luke 6:26 that warns as follows:  ‘’Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. … You are in for trouble when everyone says good things about you. … Woe, when all men speak well of you, for after this manner did their fathers to … Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets’’ These are indications of the fact that no human being is entirely perfect. No leader must be tempted to allow people to praise him or her all the time. 200 million Nigerians cannot all think the same way. Therefore, we are bound to commit mistakes because only the Creator is infallible. But we could always strive for perfection.

NIGERIANS AS A SPECIAL BREED: We have a lot that make us a special and wonderful specie created by God to inhabit Planet Earth. In terms of brains, beauty, resilience, ability, endowments, and ability to ride on storms, I would rate Nigerians among the highest class.  You can’t beat Nigerians. World leaders know the inherent capabilities of Nigeria and Nigerians and have spoken at different times about our. Nelson Mandela was unequivocal in asserting that: “The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. ‘’The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence’’ Highly intelligent diplomat, Kofi Annan reinforced that belief by practically asking Nigeria not to fail Africa because that would be disastrous. Talk about hospitality. I doubt if there is any nation in the whole world whose citizens are more hospitable than  Nigerians. And that is the truth. I cannot remember any occasion that Nigerians have been cruel to nationals of other countries. The worst that Nigeria ever did was the repatriation of nationals of other countries back to their home countries. Even the British Parliament acknowledged this fact in a debate on Nigeria’s independence in July, 1960.

NIGERIA’S INFLUENCE IN GLOBAL POLITICS: In a Year 2009 speech tagged: “Africa must take greater responsibility for its own problems and solutions” deliveved by late UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan to mark the centenary of the birth of Chief Obafemi Awolowo,  Annan  set out his vision of how African nations can address the challenges and opportunities they face in the 21st century. As documented by the Kofi Annan Foundation, Annan, in praising Chief Obafemi Awolowo as an “outstanding son of both Nigeria and Africa” reflected on how far Africa has come towards fulfilling the ambition of a “peaceful and progressive continent”, two decades after his death. He declared that: ‘’Africa must take a greater responsibility for its own problems and solutions: “The African Union is increasingly influential and important. ‘’But both the AU and Nigeria can, and must, do more. Across the continent there is huge potential for increased regional and sub-regional co-operation not least to improve infrastructure, boost trade and create jobs. Africa would be in a stronger position to demand and win the changes needed in international organizations if it showed the courage and will to tackle problems within our own continent.”

In the referenced speech, Annan said: ‘’both the AU and Nigeria’’, meaning Nigeria and other African countries. These are very complimentary words that demonstrate clearly Nigeria’s strategic importance in global politics. What Nigeria has done to Africa is remarkable and appears divine. No one could correctly quantify Nigeria’s efforts in the area of decolonization and struggles for political and economic emancipation of African nations. And the Creator seems to have placed a very great burden on the world’s most populous black nation such that one is tempted to reason that without Nigeria, West Africa might not be in existence today; on account of senseless and avoidable wars in the sub-region. Nigeria has intervened to restore peace to nations that would have been consumed by acts of intolerance and violence.  On the global level, Nigeria’s contributions to peacekeeping and peacemaking through troops contributions to United Nations initiatives are massive.

NIGERIANS ABROAD: Every so often, I wonder why Nigerians are treated disdainfully in some nations.  What can we do to halt this disturbing trend?  Nigerians have very strong positive virtues that make them succeed in ventures they undertake anywhere in the world. They are all over the world making waves in different vocations and professions, succeeding in areas where locals may not feel comfortable moving into. Nigerians may indeed be the ‘’Jews of the black race’’ on account of their strong business acumen, and they are highly regarded for their ingenious, passionate, and innovating styles of starting and managing businesses outside the country. In some countries, they have suffered xenophobic attacks. Yet in others, they have been attacked on account of alleged criminal conducts. Here in Nigeria, the people are very warm and hospitable, and don’t treat nationals of other countries shabbily. Nigeria is such a wonderful nation such that some acts of humane gestures and philanthropy were recorded by the British Parliament in the debates leading to Nigeria’s independence in July, 1960. Nigeria donated the first official residence of the United Kingdom High Commission in Lagos to the then colonial masters.; in the choicest location.

CRIMINAL CONDUCTS: Some hostile nations have stated and expressed through violent conducts the fact  that they don’t want people with criminal motives in their countries.  They are right with regard to their wishes; but wrong on account of failing to allow the law take its course as civilized societies. It is apparent that only a few Nigerians damage the reputation of the 200 million citizens of this great African country. President Muhammadu Buhari came out not too long ago to warn citizens to stop criminal conducts and claims in Western nations. He pointed out that reputation for criminality has made it hard for them to be “accepted” abroad.  Mr. President noted that there was a serious image crisis and promised to salvage this development. One of the steps taken is the establishment of the Diaspora Commission headed by ‘’restless’’ Abike Dabiri-Erewa who is doing a great job, engaging our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora who are really making huge contributions to the development of Nigeria. I have always written about the glowing contributions these Nigerians are making to economic development in Nigeria.

RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL: Another very commendable step taken by the Nigerian government is the RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL policy that makes it mandatory for Nigerians to be considered for benefits before foreign nationals. For instance, the  policy gives the right of first refusal to indigenous consultants in projects. Even when a foreign consultant is coming into the country, the company must involve indigenous consultants. This is one policy that needs to be very well publicized locally and abroad; and efforts made to ensure that Nigerians are not side-tracked in the area of expatriate quota. Where Nigerians are available and are highly qualified, there is no need, and there can be no justification for allowing to foreign professionals who may even not be as experienced as Nigerians to benefit from these except there are no Nigerians that could perform.

 Next is the need for self-restraint by a few Nigerians, whose nefarious activities abroad continue to cast Nigeria in negative light globally. The Federal Government may wish to consider engaging State governments to help guard against these unhelpful practices that have negative implications for Nigeria and other innocent Nigerians. Let us go into statistics to check which States have the highest prevalence of such conducts, while also taking the campaign to all States. Nigerians travelling abroad must know that they MUST respect the laws of other countries, and they don’t have the right to violate laws and regulations of other nations.  A lot of our brothers and sisters are either misguided or frustrated.  There is obviously a greater need, more than ever before for the reorientation of all Nigerians to embrace the right values and virtues. Let us look inwards and examine those issues that could make the country move along the envisaged path of progress.  Can we possibly succeed as a nation? I say, in the words of Barack Obama – ‘’Yes, We Can’’

Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States. Obama’s victory speech as crafted by his Speech Writer – Jon Favreau introduced the catchphrase – YES, WE CAN’’. Obama’s first speech as president-elect of the United States is worth reading; as it contains some very inspiring pronouncements from which one could learn a lesson or two about patriotism and devotion to serving his country – the United States.

I WAS NEVER THE LIKELIEST CANDIDATE FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES — BARACK OBAMA “There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can’t solve every problem. “But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it’s been done in America for 221 years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

“What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It can’t happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

“Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers. In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. “Let’s remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

“Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. “And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

“And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those – to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democ “This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight’s about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

“She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the colour of her skin. And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can. At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

“When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can. When the bombs fell on our harbour and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can. She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that ‘We Shall Overcome’. Yes we can. A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

“Yes we can.”America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

“This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. “This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. “Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.”

 

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