Potentially Great Country at 49

God Bless Nigeria! Whilst many Nigerians have cause to celebrate our independence from the British, some Nigerians who had blamed everything wrong about Nigeria on the British, and who since independence have been blaming Nigerian leaders that emerge for the wrongs of the country, are still clamouring that Nigerians have no reasons to celebrate. I agree with them entirely, but for a different reason. Passing the bucks is every Nigerian's hallmark. He is never to blame for his unpatriotic attitude ÔÇô if he misbehaves, it is always because the leaders who are supposed to be angels are not showing a better example. It is as if it is impossible, in Nigeria, to behave normally and with dignity - all because somebody else is misbehaving. Since the British left, Nigerians have heaped all the blames on their leaders who happen to be one of them and who have always constituted a minority group.

If one did not grow up in this country, one would have thought that the Nigerian leaders we all talk about are some foreigners who did not grow up within our midst or emerge from the generality of the people. President John F. Kennedy once said of fellow Americans, ÔÇśThe cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it...' No Nigerian is ready to pay for "freedom" because to start with he or she does not believe in it. For as long as he can afford a second class alternative which by all purpose is a cheap and inferior "freedom," he is hip. How does one explain that most Nigerians, like I do, will go to bed tonight knowing full well that there may not be light tomorrow; that our taps will not run tomorrow; that the trains will not run tomorrow; that the pot holes on our roads will not be filled tomorrow? As I joined other Nigerians to pray for good leadership, I know how futile the prayers will be for as long as the people and I continue to in our wayward ways.

My call is not for protests in the streets; my call is for most Nigerians to desist from copying or joining those that have destroyed things that are common to all of us. No Nigerian leader will survive the day if he does not do wishes of most Nigerians. Without self delusion, any Nigerian leader that wants to spearhead any development without the support of the majority of the people will not last the day. In the days of Buhari/Idiagbon, most of us behaved properly but with a whip hovering over our shoulder. The moment the whip was removed, we went back to our wayward ways. Buhari/Idiagbon regime failed and did not last because we were not ready for the taste of that whip. As we continue to blame government for everything let us pause and realise who or what government is. Since the 1st of October 1963, governments in Nigeria have always been by Nigerians for Nigerians. In a population of over 140 million people, it will be suicidal of any leadership, which is less than 5000, not to reflect the mood of the society. The change will have to come from the people, amongst whom the leader would emerge.

My first article in the Village "The Mindset ÔÇô The Blame Game" is still valid in today's Nigeria, just as it would always be for as long as most of us still behave the way we do.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY to the greatest country on the face of the earth - less cheers though about its people!

Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick

Zaria, Kaduna State