“Eyes have not seen nor ears heard what will happen when we arise, O Compatriots!”
When I was growing up, my father who served as a Judge of the Federal High Court, Kano and Lagos used to make us sing and recite the national anthem and Nigerian pledge every time he came for ‘visiting day’ at our secondary school, Federal Government Girls College, Benin City. Five of my siblings were in the same school, so when we gathered, there was a nation present- lol. Whenever we returned home, we did this every single day of our lives until my dad passed on to be with the Lord. As a result of my formative years, I have developed a love for my country that can’t be shaken no matter how tough things get or what the news media report.
Am I being patriotic or fanatical? Call it what you will but my late dad, the Honourable Justice Francis Okafor Kachikwu, died believing in a great Nigeria and so will I.
BELIEVING RIGHT. Nigeria’s independence anniversary provides an opportunity for reflection and I believe that one of the greatest breakthroughs in life, is a breakthrough in our ‘beliefs’. When we change, what we say about our country, we change what we believe, and ultimately our actions and outcomes as a nation? It’s the same for individual lives as well.
SO IS NIGERIA A GREAT NATION? Here are 10 beliefs I personally hold and invite you to embrace as a Nigerian.
1. I believe firmly without an iota of doubt that Nigeria is a great nation. I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Nigeria is a giant which though in a sleepy state, needs to be re-awakened.
2. I believe firmly that just as Nigeria has resources that can be harnessed, every citizen in Nigeria has talents, gifts, and resources that can be harnessed for our collective good.
3. I believe firmly that the greatest resource that Nigeria has to boast of, is not its’ oil and gas reserves, neither is it, its’ largely untapped growing solid minerals, nor is it the groundnut pyramids or commodities. Nigeria’s best and most latent resource is its’ people, YOU and I.
4. I believe firmly that if every single Nigerian were to stand up for what is right, we would have an outstanding country.
5. I believe firmly that if every Nigerian irrespective of what other passports we carry, were to take personal responsibility for solving Nigeria’s myriad of problems, by holding ourselves accountable to release our individual gifts to serve Nigeria no matter how seemingly small or irrelevant it may seem, that Nigeria will be a great nation.
6. I believe firmly that if we become the solution that we want to see in the land, if we walk worthy of the green passport that we carry, irrespective of our past mistakes, that Nigeria will become outstanding.
7. I believe firmly that if we all realised that we are first leaders of our own lives, called to show good examples in our homes, to our children, our staff, our clients, and even to the government officials from whom we have come to expect what we in our private lives are lacking, I, Udo Okonjo, nee Kachikwu have no doubt that we will yet see a glorious and great Nigeria.
8. I believe firmly that the leadership that we seek from our leaders should start with our individual lives, with the most important factor being the ” I” factor. We must unleash the power of ‘One’ to make a difference. Little drops of water do make a mighty ocean ultimately. Nigeria will not be built in a day.
9. I believe firmly in the power of One. If I become the sort of leader in my business that I want to see rule my nation, and teach others to do the same, then one day, unfailingly Nigeria will be outstanding and great again.
10. I believe firmly that there’s never been a more exciting time to be Nigerian if you believe the concept that great challenges = great opportunities. This is our time to rise and be counted. We, every one of us that can be identified as Nigerian carries a special solution to the country’s problems/challenges.
And so today, I choose to take responsibility for myself, for my country, for my community, for the life and all the blessings I have received while I remain a Nigerian.
Today, I choose to Arise as a Compatriot.
I can, I will and I must make a difference. The question is “Will you?”
We must turn our collective challenges as a nation to a platform of great opportunities. May we see ourselves as responsible citizens able to contribute and not tear down what little we have managed to build. May we speak only good and expect only good of our nation. May we be good and worthy citizens ourselves. May we raise children that are worthy and proud ambassadors with solutions to their own generation’s issues.
Arise O Compatriots & Ignite an OUTSTANDING OCTOBER!
Happy Independence Day Nigeria. Arise O Giant!
Udo Maryanne Okonjo
(First written – October 1st, 2013)
Edited October 1, 2017)
When I was growing up, my father who served as a Judge of the Federal High Court, Kano and Lagos used to make us sing and recite the national anthem and Nigerian pledge every time he came for ‘visiting day’ at our secondary school, Federal Government Girls College, Benin City. Five of my siblings we…