Brethren, I was inspired by God to encourage every Nigerian to come together even stronger than we do when our footballers do very well at international soccer competitions. First of all, what is it that we do differently at such times? We eschew bitterness, tribalism, destruction, religious antagonism, sexism, etc. even criminal activities, like corruption, armed robberies, etc. is at a very minimal level.
We sing lots of songs of praise to God (and pray in the process) and we really bond together and dance and hope and we become really very determined to succeed. Our players are very encouraged and they alone can tell us how much more encouraged they are when we cheer them on sincerely to do their best.
Yet, they cannot and do not always win. However, when they win, we are elated and shower them with praise and gifts etc. When they lose, we are very horrible to them; particularly when we think they should not have lost. Sometimes lose or win, especially when they have done us proud, we embrace them all the same.
My people, why then do we lose hope and curse our nation when things are going badly or because our leaders have done us a serious injustice in the past? Even when we have a current leadership that are visibly trying to do some things right, we are taking out all the anger and bile of the past on them. We are all Nigerians wherever we are in the whole global community of nations. No amount of sophistication in education, achievements and or lack of either can change who we are.
I am inspired to draw our attention to the words of our National Anthem and Pledge. Let me begin with a reminder of both as you will find below. Forgive my simplicity. I have learnt however that simple things sometimes actually work better. This is why in marketing terms you have a term called KISS (Keep It Simple and Straightforward). Sometimes, we get too complicated to our own detriment. I have faith and hope that this little contribution will touch some hearts, change some orientations/attitudes, for the betterment of our nation, Nigeria.
Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria's call obey;
To serve our fatherland; with love and strength and faith.
The labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain;
To serve with heart and might, one nation bound in freedom,
peace and unity.
Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause;
Guide our leaders right, help our youths the truth to know.
In love and honesty to grow, and living just and true;
Great lofty heights attain, to build a nation where peace
and justice shall reign.
THE NATIONAL PLEDGE
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. Amen.
Let me take a quick look at the National Anthem which enjoins us all (no one is excluded) to rise up and obey Nigeria's call. This means clearly that there is a continuous call on all to uphold the faith in our nation so that the toiling of our past citizenry who faithfully toiled that we may have our nation today will not be in vain. This should mean something special to every Nigerian and as a result, we must be willing (in or out of season) and prepared to serve our nation in whatever capacity with all our heart and might. We must all be focused on keeping Nigeria free, at peace and united.
Again, we must all be in constant prayers for our nation. This must make sense to all right thinking Nigerians; for we cannot exist outside of God's care, protection and love. These prayers must include for God to Direct our leadership aright; for I read in the Holy Bible that the hearts of kings are in the hands of God Almighty and He Directs them like the courses of rivers, whichever way He Desires. We can pray to this Great God not to manipulate Him, but for Divine Favour, granted to nations that seek His Face and look up to Him for all things. Our youths need to know God to grow, living a holy life in truth and love.
We need to pray for them; otherwise, they will be given wantonly to youthful exuberance which only causes a lot of grief in the end for all. The youth are essentially and substantially the strength of the nation. In times of war and or when there is need to represent and or defend the nation in most areas, it is the youth that have the physical resources to do us proud. However, we cannot ostracise the older folks from this process. All hands must be on deck. The youths must be encouraged and taught to honour the older folks and the older folks must learn to be fair to the younger ones and groom them to take over from them. This does not necessarily mean that only the youths must lead.
In the Holy Books, there is clear evidence of the supremacy of God's Wisdom. Justice must work with fairplay amongst all so that we all together can build a nation where peace and justice reigns in operations. We have the need to allow God Almighty to reign supreme though.
Finally, we need to understand the words of our national pledge so we can make the pledge. Then only can we be secure and assured in faith that God is Trustworthy to help us. We knowing this can then have faith and hope in God to move us forward ever, backwards never as a nation. With the fear of God and faith in our nation, we can become increasingly loyal to one another and to our country for mutual benefits.
To serve honestly will be preferable to cheating the nation when we know that in cheating the nation we only shortchange ourselves and our children in the long run. Then we can put all our strength into this drive for Nigeria's well being and become our brothers' keepers. In so doing, we shall be upholding Nigeria's honour and glory, thereby forever showing appreciation for the Divine Favour of God showered upon us all over the world despite our shortcomings.
We can make it folks. With man this may seem impossible, but with God, all things are possible.
Whatever we are doing, have done or plan to do that runs contrary to these goals/objectives must be dropped for the love of God and country. We often compare our nation with overseas, so-called developed nations. I know a saying in Great Britain, "for King and country" which is particularly popular and inherent in the populace, particularly whenever there is a call to serve in any national capacity. We can adopt the good practices of such nations. Not all practices in these nations are good though. Surely not all their practices suit our fatherland, Nigeria. We are a different people.
My take: We all love Nigeria I presume. Would you let us know what the national anthem means to you ... and the pledge? For me, this is the core of our unity of purpose; the cord that ties us together as a nation. I see these statements as a type of mission statement around which we all must gather, focus and work/walk together as one. Diverse though we are, yet with faith in God, faith in one another, faith in the nation of Nigeria, we can go a very long way. Adhering to the tenets of our anthem and pledge will stand us in a very good stead.
I believe that not only can we learn and not ever be ashamed to sing/read both and or either as often as possible, we can and shall be mutually encouraged to forge ahead as one. It's easy to forget what we ignore for such a long time. Did you honestly know the national anthem off-head? The pledge likewise? Tell the truth o! What is your take? This is no test, just love from here, over to you! We are in a time of destiny and history is being made. Be a part of it.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May God Bless our leadership and government to be focused upon the set goals to turn the fabric and fortunes of our beloved Nigeria around. May God grant Divine Wisdom to President Olusegun Obasanjo to fulfil the role assigned for him and in due season, may God enable him to peacefully hand the baton over to another who will continue likewise. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. I love and miss you Nigeria, my country.
Prophet Folayan Osekita MBA
Evangelist & Change Management Consultant