Nigeria turned 57 on the 1st of October. Yes, my country is 57 years old and I am not excited. I started the day off listening to our President’s speech to the nation but halfway through, I lost interest and turned by attention to getting my kids ready for church.
We prayed and thanked God as a family as we drove to church for a new month. My hubby spoke prophetic words into our lives – my children and I. We got to church and joined the service. A stage play from the drama unit of the church titled ‘The Abroad’ was next on the agenda.
The play got me thinking and gave a glimpse into how desperate some of my fellow country men and women are and their burning desire to leave their country quickly. The play ended with a question to every one of us. What is the Nigeria of your dreams? And what role are you playing to see it become a reality.
My thoughts drifted through the years and my heart still aches when I think of my country. It aches even more when I look at where we are presently and hope seems far away. Yes, I am a Nigerian mother and it is sad to see that my own children are growing up to meet the same set of problems and challenges I saw while growing up. The light seems dimmer after so many years.
Yes, I can envision the Nigeria of my dreams and I try to do what I can in my own little space yet this dream seems distant and begins to fade away with the negative images and news thrown at us every single day.
I am a Nigerian mother and I am desperate for change in my country. This is not the country I want to leave behind for my children. Motherhood is tough and challenging within our borders as we get to raise children in a society where many have sold their consciences and good role models have become a scarce commodity. This even begins from that moment of conception, where you begin to feel afraid for the future of your unborn child and silently pray not to fall victim to a failed healthcare system.
My children are growing up fast and our educational system is a source of great concern to me and I wonder how much value it is adding to the lives of our children. Nothing has changed much since I left secondary school many years ago, the world only moved on and advanced technologically yet children here are still exposed to archaic methods of teaching and a poorly developed curriculum.
In some countries, children of the rich and poor attend public schools together. The government in those countries have invested so much in their public school system that private schools are less attractive. But here in my country many still struggle to send their kids to private schools because some of the public schools are in a sorry state.
I am a Nigerian mother and my fears for the next generation are real. I look back at my childhood and I still can’t count leaders who inspired me greatly or who have modelled integrity and leadership to me in a way that I can never forget. Rather I find that inspiration from men like Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama who took the reins of leadership and made history with their ideals. My kids are becoming aware and they ask questions daily because they see and hear about the things happening in my dear country.
Great leaders transform nations and leave unforgettable memories yet Nigeria still struggles to grasp the true concept of leadership. We have been unfortunate to have men and women of poor moral character who have held leadership roles and did nothing to secure a better future for the next generation.
I am a Nigerian mother and I am afraid of looking my kids in the eye and telling them about the Nigeria of my dreams. How do I tell them that the roads were even better off back then than now? How do I tell them about the consequences of stealing when many leaders who looted the nation’s treasury still walk about freely? How many role models can I point out to them?
Yes, I am hopeful but my hope wanes with the growing challenges and poor leadership I see displayed. It is sad too to note that many parents out of sheer ignorance and or mere frustration have left their children to grow up on their own in this challenging country like ours. The result is what we see today in children with poor values and character, a high rate of crime and perversion and morally bankrupt children who have no vision or sense of purpose for their lives.
I am a Nigerian mother who wants to raise her children in a sane society where power works and the basic necessities of life are no longer privileges but a right to a just and decent life. I want to raise my children in a society where education begins with the mind, where our children learn to use their imagination and value their uniqueness. I want a nation where children see learning as a lifelong process and that knowledge has the power to liberate you from living an average life.
I am a Nigerian mother and I want deep values ingrained in my children’s lives. I want them to understand what service really means. I want them to know that being responsible is fashionable and that standing for truth is the right thing to do. I want them to know that even though we are of different cultures as a nation, there is power and ability when we come together as one. I want them to grow up to know the value of hard work. I want them to model values like Integrity, love, honesty, courage, faith and justice.
I am a Nigerian mother and I may feel hopeless, yet in the midst of it all, I am still grateful for how far we have come. As a mother, I can say that it is tough raising children here but we have become tougher and are up to the task.
Dear Nigerian mother, in the midst of our challenges as a nation, choose to birth dreams of a new Nigeria in the hearts of your children. It all begins with the little things – Godliness, cleanliness, love, hard work, honesty, responsibility and humility.
Teach your kids simple chores like making their beds, doing the dishes, organising their books and cloths. Teach them how to put away their toys neatly after use, teach them decency, teach them how to greet and show respect, teach them how to thrash dirt properly, teach them the right way to speak, teach them how to seek knowledge and love learning.
You can show them the value of education, show them how to discover themselves and find out who they are, show them how to live their lives as role models. Tell them that this change begins with every one of us and this is how we can all build the Nigeria of our dreams.
I am not without hope and I will celebrate with my fellow countrymen and women. I say to every citizen, keep hope alive and be the change you want to see in this nation. It has been a long walk, but I believe we will get there. I really hope our leaders get it right and may our change truly come. Happy Independence Day and God bless Nigeria.
Here’s a poem a wrote some time ago, “The Nigeria Of My Dreams”, which I am sharing again. And this is the Nigeria of my dreams……
A country where different people with diverse cultures live together in harmony.
A country where peace reigns within our borders.
A country where maternal mortality will become history.
A country where quality healthcare is available for all.
A country where education of our children will be a burning passion and priority.
A country where bad roads and poor infrastructure will be a thing of the past.
A country where youths will not have to wait endlessly for paid employment.
A country where constant electricity will become a normal thing.
A country where leaders will lead by example and character.
A country where the youth will have true role models to look up to.
A country where evil and wickedness will stop prevailing.
A country where our strength is revealed in our diversity.
A country where hard-work and true values are celebrated.
A country where young people can dream and find true purpose.
A country where everyone will love his neighbour as himself.
A country where hope comes alive and faith becomes our anchor.
A country where the next generation will have inspiring life lessons to draw from.
A country where I am secure and can dream big dreams.
A country I am proud of and cherish forever.
This is the Nigeria of my dreams.