The Essence Of Patriotism Is The Sacrifice Of Personal Interest To Public Welfare.

— William H. Burnham

Someone says,

Our Politicians Put Their Own Interest Before Nigeria.
You Can Force A Re-prioritization.
Be Loyal To Nigeria Not Politicians.

Great thinking!

Someone asks,

Give me a good reason why I should be loyal to Nigeria instead of the politicians!

The typical Nigerian attitude of attempting to answer a question with another (irrelevant) question kicks in..

Perhaps we can start by clarifying with you:

Is the current result we have generated from your loyalty to politicians instead of Nigeria – which is a failing, dysfunctional country – a worthy state of affair for you?

This is of course a good question. Nigeria needs to be fixed.

And it is is said, traveller there is no path; paths are made by humans.. it is humans, Nigerians, that would fix Nigeria. Nigeria can not fix itself. People have to make the collective effort or sacrifice to turn things aright.

Someone chips in…

How about putting my own interest first, ahead of national interest – (like the politicians) – by aligning with those politicians – those that control the country (a.k.a money)?

After all, sections of Nigeria seem to be after their own interest, ranging from Niger-Delta, to Biafra / IPOB, Arewa…. with unending agitations.

How nationalistic are we, or should we be, in reality? Is there still a country to be loyal to?

I believe these are deep questions to think about, when talking nationalism.

The mind that originally called on loyalty to the fatherland, responded,

Didn’t someone say “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is madness”?

If we have travelled the path of being loyal to personal/sectional interests rather than being patriotic citizens and haven’t found joy in our journey, isn’t it time we tried an alternative route? Especially in the face of evidence that all progressive nations have first embraced patriotism before they found progress.

So I repeat my call: be loyal to Nigeria and not politicians. That’s the sustainable way forward and it is called enlightened self-interest.

Now, this is talking long-term benefits to everybody, by putting the country first. Sounds good.

Isn’t an hungry man an unpatriotic man?

It is easy to put your country first if you have a country deserving of that.

You can talk nationalism as against self- interest when immediate survival is not part of the equation.

But, for any normal human, survival is instinctual. Long term considerations take a back seat when your stomach needs ‘infrastructure’, your children may not be able to have quality education without a major miracle , and an insalubrious illness can take your life if you don’t have access to money for healthcare abroad.

Besides, when everybody is after self interest, being nationalistic is like swimming against the tide. Like fighting corruption you are mostly alone, and need to be really dogged, determined and strong (not just having moral fibre)-to make any headway.

Otherwise, you would be knocking your head against a concrete wall… a foolish thing to do.

It is like refusing to shunt when practically every other person is jumping the queue . You are likely to remain standing in one spot, while others shove aheaf!

If you want to walk fast, you walk alone. If you want to walk far, you need company.

Being corruption-free being upright, being nationalist take courage. It can be done, but the average Nigerian is simply too enervated and without the strength (of character?) to weather all that.

Now, which comes first? The chicken or the egg?

Where do we start from.? How do we build the New Nigerian, with a different way of thinking, a Nigerian that would put the country first? A Nigerian that would be willing to sacrifice his today for the betterment of tomorrow? How do you remain strong as an individual, when every other person seems to be cutting corners?

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