As Nigeria Turns 100, One Nigeria, Great Promise!
By Eugene Ndubuisi Nwosu, Ex-Officio, NIDOE Ireland
Tel: 353(0)877635734, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your: Excellencies, H.E. Ambassador Felix Y. Pwol. Chairman, NIDO Ireland, Hon. Executive Committee Members of NIDO Ireland, Hon. Mayor of Fingal, Friends of Nigeria, Brothers and Sisters, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
In the last few days, The Federal Government of Nigeria has been celebrating a hundred years of our unification.
Nigeria at one hundred years old is indeed a milestone and should provide us all a time to reflect on where we have been, where we are now and where we are headed.
As Nigerians first and more importantly as Nigerians in Diaspora so much is expected of us by our brethren in Nigeria to lead in setting high standards for life, love, creativity, and wisdom. But if our own expectations in these areas are low, we are not likely to extend and bestow functionality to our beloved brethren back home. Setting high standards in principle and character values within ourselves and extending that to our nation will create a functional and prosperous nation where no man, woman, child, aged, strong, weak, able bodied, or person with special needs is oppressed or denied the basic human rights to exist and prosper.
Our 100th birthday as a nation must be a time for us to pause and ask if indeed, as Nigerians in Diaspora, have we indeed kept our side of the bargain! What relatively touched at the heart of this question are the famous words by John F. Kennedy which are, “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
It is very befitting that I give this talk at this august occasion. I am one of the first generation Nigerians that managed to settle here in Ireland. I came to Ireland in 1985, twenty nine years ago, for the purposes of further education. I have ever since been proactive and at the forefront of Nigerian community leadership. Just one year after arriving in Ireland, though a student at the time, in 1986 I initiated and co-founded the most ever successful Union of Nigerian Citizens Resident in Ireland (UNCRI). I lead UNCRI until the initiative for the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) came up. Naturally UNCRI metamorphosed into the NIDO we have today. So, you can see that I have been at the forefront of the Nigerians in Diaspora Community leadership for 28 years now.
One thing I learned from early age, due to my humble beginning is that to keep the fire burning in the lamp burning, one has to keep putting the oil in the can. My interest and optimism for greater role for Nigerians in Diaspora remains high because I know that we possess so much potential that if harnessed, put together, united, and applied for common purpose there is so much value we can add to the emancipation and empowerment of our brethren back home.
Who are we?
We are Nigerians, Great people from One Great Nation. ‘Though we come from different tribes and ethnic background, and may reside in different countries abroad as Diaspora, but we’re Nigerians first. And our patriotic obligations must compel all of us to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our country (Nigeria), “one nation” we love.
I am a firm believer in Henrik Ibsen’s quote that “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm”
It worries me a lot that many of us here in Diaspora are as much as tribal and religiously sectional like our brethren back home. Many of us in Diaspora know and appreciate that most of the root cause of the problems in our beloved country is lack of trust and faith in each other due to tribal and religious differences. Many of us also are educated and enlightened enough to know that the panacea for peace, unity, and progress is tolerance, love, and responsibility. Yet, many continue to live in denial, and carrying on, particularly in Diaspora, to perpetuate discord through fanatical attachment to tribal and religious tradition and beliefs.
There is nothing wrong to upholding ones tribal and religious heritage. But, for our human talents, and efforts to make greater difference to our brethren back home, we must recognise the need for collective social responsibility.
“We are not just our brother’s/sister’s keeper we are our brother and we are our sister. We must look past complexion, race, tribe, or religion and see community.”
Sending money from abroad to help and support our respective families and relatives is a good thing but not just good enough. Many of us are aware that Nigeria is a very rich nation. Nigeria as country is endowed with as much natural wealth that can take good care of the overall basic needs of her citizens, as well as serve as role model for the rest of Africa. The problem with Nigeria is not lack of wealth. The condition and situation in Nigeria from amalgamation to date (100 years) can be used as perfect example to describe the common saying that “it is not what you have but what you do with it.”
What our brethren back home expect and need most from us is transfer of knowledge, transfer of civilized principles, and the transfer of empowering expertise that Builds Character, Changes Lives, and Uplift and Unlock Leadership Potential and Excellence in People and Organisation!
Your: Excellencies, friends of Nigeria, brothers and sisters, distinguished Ladies and gentlemen. Please permit me to draw from my Human Development expertise to buttress some germane points:
There are two major factors that drive human behavour. These are Love and Fear. We can apply the factors of Love, or Fear to easily determine and classify each human behavour. The element of Love and Fear is within each and everyone at all times. Yet, the one we choose to apply determines our outcome.
Fear is the major cause of character deficiencies in us human beings. When we act out of fear we become negative. Corruption and stealing from ourselves is due to negative effect of Fear. Economic Terrorism, sabotaging of oil drilling facilities, these are the negative effect of fear. Religious Terrorism is due to the negative effect of fear. Impunity is the negative effect of Fear. Kidnapping and assassinations are due to negative effect of Fear. Tribalism and Nepotism is due to negative effect of Fear. Religious bigotry is due to negative effect of Fear. Insensitivity on the part of the government to the needs of people is due to negative effect of Fear. Here is how Burma’s democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi epitomized and postulated the concept of fear; he said that “Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery, courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilised man.”
Now, imagine the opposite, which is Love. When we live and lead with love and responsibility we don’t need to steal from system to corruptly enrich ourselves. With love and responsibility we are content, and don’t need to comprise our principles and values. With love and responsibility, we don’t need to sabotage our nation’s economy. With love and responsibility we will care for the overall interest of all. With Love and Responsibility we would be more tolerant of each other’s religious values. With Love and Responsibility there will be no hate, and deliberate killing of anyone to proof a point. With love and responsibility, there will be meritocracy, efficiency in service delivery, and maximum increase in production and output. With Love and Responsibility there will be equity and justice for all. With love and responsibility, basic human rights will be guaranteed for all. With Love and responsibility basic amenities such as health care, education, water, power, and education will be guaranteed.
Your: Excellencies, friends of Nigeria, brothers and sisters, what I have expressed here are not utopian values. These are just simple and fundamental necessities for living that are taken for granted in most part of the world, including Ireland. I truly and deeply know and strongly believe that the prudent economic discipline and principle that works at one place can work in another place, because the principles that govern the universe is in perfect flow all the time. Wherever I see lack, I see leadership deficiencies. Every good action will produce good results. Likewise, bad action produces bad results. These are just commonsense principles that govern the universe. That some leaders have yet to figure that out in today’s world, is unbelievable.
Nigeria, as a nation, is enormously blessed with all the possibilities, human and natural resources to become one of the economic giants in the world. Consequently, a complete paradigm shift is needed from all us to harness and make the best of the potential which divine universe endowed on us for the greater good of our nation. Let us stop being afraid of shadows and start living with Love and Responsibility. Let us be the solution. Let us be the catalyst for the change we wish to see.
Allow me to conclude with the ever inspiring and motivating words of Martin Luther King, Jr., that “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”
And for me, my life purpose, principles, and values can be summed up within the ideals and postulations of the great George Bernard Shaw that “Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations”
I thank you all, with Love and Best Wishes, always!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Long Live Nigerian in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Ireland!