Friday, 8 January 2016

#MustRead: PATRIOTISM YES AND NOS.

The festive season is here again and lots of people can't wait for all that comes with it. The partying, drinking, eating, socializing, beautiful lights, family getaways just to mention a few. While these seasons are worth celebrating, most of us look at Patriotism these days like it's another "Celebration." We hear reminders about “the true meaning” of the celebration season and we may even mutter a few guilt-ridden words to that effect ourselves—but each of us spend more time and thought in parties, gift-giving, and the other paraphernalia of a secularized holiday than we do deepening our devotion to the true meaning.
Yes the true meaning of patriotism. Nigerians can get really patriotic, especially on Independence Day in October, Democracy day in May and the rest. Walk down the street in Nigeria and ask one citizen after another what patriotism means and with few exceptions, you’ll get a passel of the most self-righteous but superficial and often dead-wrong answers. Nigeria’s Founders, the men and women who gave us reason to be patriotic in the first place, would think we’ve lost our minds if they could see how we have watered down acts of patriotism. Continue......
Since the boko haram insurgents, the rise of corrupt leaders and other problems that have plagued the nation, most Nigerians are beginning to have a feeling that somewhat makes them feel patriotic. For most, sadly, a feeling suffices to make one a solid patriot. But if I’m right, it goes beyond that and it’s high time Nigerians take a refresher course on the subject "Patriotism" 
Patriotism is not just love of country, if by “country” you mean the land scape, its natural endowment and the likes. Almost every country has collections of rocks, water, and stuff that people grow and eat. If that’s what patriotism is all about, then Nigerians have little for which we can claim any special or unique love. And surely, patriotism cannot mean giving one’s life for a river or a rock (aso).
Patriotism is not patronizing politicians and blindly trusting in anything our leaders tell us or do. That just replaces some lofty concepts with mindless actions.
Patriotism is not simply showing up to vote. You need to know a lot more about what motivates a voter before you judge his patriotism. He might be casting a ballot because he just wants something at someone else’s expense. Maybe he doesn’t care much where the politician he’s hiring gets it. Remember Dr. Johnson’s wisdom: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
Waving the flag can be an outward sign of patriotism, but let’s not cheapen the term by ever suggesting that it’s anything more than a sign. And while it’s always fitting to mourn those who lost their lives simply because they resided on Nigerian soil, that too does not define the true meaning of patriotism.
People in every country and in all times have expressed feelings of something we flippantly call “patriotism,” but that just begs the question. What is this thing, anyway? Can it be so cheap and meaningless that a few gestures and feelings make you patriotic?
I subscribe to a patriotism rooted in ideologies that are strong enough to build a great Nation. I’m a patriotic Nigerian because I revere the ideas that motivated the Founders and compelled them, in many instances, to put their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line to fight for the independence of the country.
What are ideologies? ideologies expresses directly or indirectly, the views, ideas and interests of a nation. It’s been said that Nigeria suffers an ideology crises, yet in the heart of every Nigerian, are ideologies rooted in justice, unity, love, peace and honesty of purpose. It’s the right of a free people to rid themselves of a government that becomes destructive of those ends, as our Founders did in a supreme act of courage and defiance more than fifty five years ago.
 
Call it freedom. Call it liberty. Call it whatever you want, but it’s the bedrock on which this nation was founded and from which we stray at our peril. It’s what has defined us as Nigerians. It’s what almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet has yearned for. It makes life worth living, which means it’s worth fighting for.
I hope the Ugandans, British, Americans, Paraguayans and other countries have lofty ideals they celebrate when they feel patriotic, but whether or not they do is a question you’ll have to ask them. I can only tell you what patriotism means to me as a Nigerian.
It is standing up for freedom for all and for the sovereignty of our Nation.I understand that Nigeria has often fallen short in many ways, but that hasn’t diminished my reverence for her, nor has it dimmed my hope that present/future generation of Nigerians will join hands together to build a better and great Nigeria.
Freedom—understanding it, living it, teaching it, and supporting those who are educating others about its principles. That, my fellow Nigerians, is what patriotism should mean to each of us today.
Freedom from corruption, insurgencies, poverty, inequality, unemployment, epileptic educational and health system, broken down infrastructure, poor power supply etc is the cry of a true patriot.
What does patriotism mean to you? What can you do for your country Nigeria and what Nigeria are you going to leave for the generations after you? These discussions and more coming to you live on this blog soon. Keep it logged in here, the real home for all patriotic Nigerians.Together we can make a difference. #BeTheChangeYouWantToSeeInNigeria.

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