Your birthplace is one of the few things in life you never get the chance to choose yourself. Fate determines our nationality and if an opportunity comes after, we could earn the right to have an additional nationality either by a formal application or by merit.
My birthplace is Nigeria, a once giant nation of Africa, blessed with great resources and great people. Her land is rich and fertile; her weather is pleasant and soothing; not as harsh as other climes. Her greatness was an envy to many nations and her glory shone far and wide. Nigeria was peaceful and safe enough for traders to leave their wares in the open and come the next day without losing any. So vast was her wealth that she hosted the whole world to a celebration of Arts and Culture in 1977. I always refer back to this episode as it resonates well with the history of S-TEE School.
So what happened to our Nigeria? Where did all her glory go? What happened to us as a people living together in peace and harmony? When will all these killings stop? When can our children expect a better future in Nigeria? Who will rescue this nation from the fearsome situation of economic and social malaise? Many questions with very few or no real answers….
Surprisingly, I still remain a Nigerian and I still choose to be a Nigerian. My convictions about my nationality will always win over the overriding negative situations we have found ourselves today. As we mark our Independence Day, it is not going to be gainful to wallow in self pity, cataloging our woes and failures. I believe, we should engage in meaningful discourse as we identify pathways to our recovery.
In the first place, we are not experiencing things that other nations have not experienced or are not presently experiencing. The economic depression facing mankind is at a global level. All nations must seriously address same issues in their respective nations. For us in Nigeria, we need leaders who will see more of Nigeria than their ethnic or tribal affiliations. Leaders are known for solving problems, not escalating problems. Leadership values is one good place to start the discourse.
Another possible way out for Nigeria, is for our people to become more responsible and responsive to their environment. Our mentality must change from being solely consumers to be creators of ideas and products. Right now, we import everything and we create nothing. With all our intellectual capabilities, we should develop our own products and stop relying fully on all imported products. That way we will develop our local industries, provide jobs for our people and increase our balance of trade deficit that had been rising steadily for years.
Our natural resources must be fully utilized for the good of all. If we can just allow honesty and transparency in all our dealings , we can have enough from our natural resource to feed our people and even sell to the world.
There is hope for Nigeria and our future can be bright again. Let us begin to share new thoughts about a better Nigeria with our children. Another generation is here waiting to raise the former desolations and promote a new culture. We must not allow the past to press on the future. We must begin from ourselves; from every family; from every community; from every state and region. It is our responsibility to make a better future for our children.
S-TEE has taken up this challenge to spread the narrative around, from north to south and from east to west. Our nation can be salvaged on the platform of truth, Godliness, high academic and moral standards, propelled by the spirit of excellence and integrity. The content of that mission statement vividly portrays what S-TEE stands for and what we have been able to package in terms of human capital development for Nigeria since inception 43 years ago. We shall continue in this venture, we shall not relent and we shall not back down.
We remain proudly Nigerians.
EMMANUEL AKPATA is the School Administrator at S-TEE Schools, Festac Town, Lagos.