-Patriotism: Practical Ways You can be Patriotic (Part 1)-
I pledge to Nigeria my country; To be faithful loyal and honest; To serve Nigeria with all my strength; To defend her unity; And uphold her honour and glory. So help me God.
Patriotism beckons on every Nigerian to keep this pledge. The pledge is not an end in itself, but a means of reminding citizens of Nigeria to always do the right thing for the betterment and upliftment of the nation. It points to a personal sense of responsibility for what our country becomes and in what direction she is going.
Some Nigerians are privileged to have dual citizenship and hence can relocate if things come to that. “Privileged”, because it is not an everyday occurrence for everybody. But for most of us, Nigeria is all we’ve got. Like Bright Chimezie sang, “Where do we go oh?…Okoro Junior, I have no place to go oh; I have no home abroad oh”. Most of us do not have a home abroad; Nigeria is our all in all. This is not a bad thing at all if we make Nigeria a worthy place for us all to live.
Ironically, some who seem to be beating the ‘drums of war’ and leading agitations for secession have dual citizenship, while all that their followers have is Nigeria. Maybe such followers need to have a re-think.
Being patriotic means loving one’s nation; making personal sacrifices for her betterment; serving and devoting one’s self to the country’s welfare. This can be applied to every aspect of our national life, such as, health, infrastructure, security, governance, finance, and so on. Let us have a look at a few of these in terms of patriotism.
The man who is poor cannot fly himself abroad for treatment. Some have to embark on furious fundraising in order to save a life. On the other hand, politicians and the rich are able to go to other countries of their choice to get medical treatment. In these circles, medical tourism is common. How patriotic is a government that does not make the health of its citizens a top priority?
From time to time, we hear of strikes by Federal and State health institutions. When this happens, people are forced to go to private clinics and hospitals where they pay handsomely for medical attention and treatment. Many others die at home or on the corridors of public hospitals during such strikes. This is indeed pathetic! We long for a Nigeria where the health of the ordinary man and woman will become a priority. After all, without good health and life itself, what else can a person do or achieve?
Also, how patriotic are Nigerian medical doctors? Some neglect their duties at public hospitals and give priority to their private clinics. Some others leave the country for greener pastures, where their practice is much better compensated. Where does one draw the fine line between ensuring your comfort and survival and showing patriotism by making yourself available as a medical practitioner in your home country? If these medical practitioners are better compensated and appreciated, most of them abroad would stay home and serve their country. Here, the government of the day has a huge role to play.
As a private firm awarded a contract to generate or distribute electricity, how patriotic are you in discharging this service? We are all aware of the struggles Nigerians have been through several decades without adequate supply of electricity. This is a dire need most Nigerians cry out for. Of course there are those privileged Nigerians who do not know what it is to be without electric power for a whole day or even a week. Whereas, there are parts of the country where a switch on of a light bulb or a moving ceiling fan is such a source of joy and relief as residents jump to get electronics charged and get other things done.
Hence, those who have the responsibility to generate and/or distribute electricity as agreed in the contracts, are obliged to deliver on their mandate. When such contracts are circumvented or not discharged to the letter, masses suffer, and the development and change we cry for is further pushed away.
In reality, nobody would want to go to bed every night with one eye open for fear of insecurity. Yet, many today live that reality. There are parts of the country today where people are terrorized by criminal gangs, political thugs, thieves, intruders, kidnappers and hooligans, such that people do not feel safe in those neighbourhoods.
These persons who engage in these disturbances and break-ins, are they not Nigerians? Are they being patriotic to their country? Is that the best of themselves they can offer to society? Nobody would want to be told that he/she was created just to be a nuisance to society, just like armed robbers, thieves, abductors and burglars are to the community, yet many have allowed themselves to get dragged into these groups. A wealthy person or a politician who pay young persons to cause havoc, harm or destruction is certainly very unpatriotic to his country. However, let’s remember that nothing goes unrewarded and the day of reckoning beckons!
A patriotic government serving the people, be it at the federal or state level, cannot continue to watch its citizens being terrorized by bandits. Else, how can such a leader claim that s/he is patriotic? The first duty of government is to ensure the safety of lives and property of all citizens.
Surely, we can all make Patriotism our watch word! If for no other reason, at least to make our country a better place for us all to live.
(To be continued – Part 2)
- Linda Ellah
Please See Similar Post: Patriotism: Practical Ways You can be Patriotic (Part 2)