(Naija Mondays, Theme: Destiny)
If you are a heroes fan like me, you’ve probably heard Mohinder Suresh ask the million-naira question: “Why are we here?” I’ve asked myself this question a number of times. And since nothing happens by chance, I believe there is a reason for everything. To that effect, I always ask “why?”…
Answers don’t always come back to me but the process of reflection is sometimes as helpful as the answer itself. So I ask why? Why am I here? Why am I female? Why did I come through the Nanna family? Why am I Nigerian? Why does one patient have diabetes and the other a perirectal abscess or whatever else?
Have you ever felt so different from everyone around you even though you manage to fit in? Have you ever wondered why YOU are here, why YOU are Nigerian, why YOU have your parents, why the cock crows and the horse neighs? You may be skeptical and asking yourself now, “Who cares?!!” But believe it or not, there is a purpose to everything, including your life which you value so much.
I wish I had all the answers. By the way, if you’re still reading because you think they will come toward the end, you may as well stop now. The purpose of this post is not to give you answers but to raise relevant questions. To open your mind to possibilities that you may have never considered.
I remember when I first came to the US for college. I was so homesick. I felt so displaced. What on Earth was I doing on this side of the planet? I decided I had to go home as soon as I had a chance. So I got a part-time job, saved and got the chance to go home two summers later. Looking out the window during liftoff, I marveled at the beauty and obvious planning that went into building the District of Columbia (U.S. capital). Flying into Lagos, the scenery was completely different. Buildings were jumbled with no planning whatsoever. Air pollution made it hard to even identify some structures. Hmm…is that a car or a horse-driven carriage?
But hey I was home!!!! So I was excited anyways. I hugged my parents like I had never seen them before. I had a blast, reconnected with old friends and managed to have the time of my life despite NEPA, horrendous traffic and all the other woes that I don’t need to mention. I felt a sense of fulfillment. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had been missing in the first place. “Is this the Nigeria my heart had been desperately longing for?”… I mean for a 3-week vacation, it was wonderful but this is someone else’s reality all year.
There are Nigerians all over the world, doing well in different fields of life. In the new environments in which we find ourselves, we manage to work hard and blossom. So why is our very own Nigeria so bad? Are we products of our environment or is our environment a product of our actions?
In the parable of the talents, God gave different portions of talents to different people. When He came back, the man He gave the most talents had made the most out of them and was rewarded by God. On the other hand, the man with the fewest talents decided to be unproductive and was rebuked.
Sometimes, I think of Nigeria as a talent that we have been given. Even though a good number of us were not born during its glory days, there is still so much potential in our country. So many resources dying to be tapped. Bright young Nigerians. Intelligent minds. Wise elders. Natural resources- crude oil, natural gas, agricultural potential (cocoa, rice, coffee, palm oil etc). Tenacious, fun-loving people. Diverse cultures. When the talent-giver returns, what will we present to Him as our product? Will we hide in shame? Or will we boldly present a country that we can be proud of?
As a reward for reading this long abstract post, I have some suggestions. Maybe it’s really all about YOU!!! Maybe YOU are the sleeping giant that Nigeria has been waiting for. In what field are you a student or an expert? Are you constantly seeking to improve yourself to become an asset to the world you live in? Or are you satisfied with mediocrity and just getting by?
Wherever you decide to settle in the world, do you plan to use your expertise, your voice, at least some of your time and money to effect positive change in Nigeria? There’s a reason you are Nigerian. There is a reason you are intelligent, rich or otherwise endowed. Our destiny as a nation is to be great. Unfortunately or should I say fortunately, the missing link just might be YOU!!!