Saturday, January 28, 2017 1:52 pm
By Destiny Oghayerio Enabulele
Websters’ New College Dictionary a nation is “a stable historically developed community of people with a territory, economic life, distinctive culture and a language in common”. The thesaurus Dictionary defines nation as, “people of the same ethnicity; a community of people who share a common ethnic origin, culture, historical tradition and language, whether or not they live together in the same territory or have their own government.
If we evaluate the meaning of the phrase nation as put forward by the two aforementioned definitions, Nigeria will obviously not qualify to be called a nation with its over 250 ethnic groups and different languages. The Nigerian people can not be said to be of a distinguishing culture, a common language, “same ethnicity” common ethnic origin as spelt out by those definitions. The Nigerian nation has it origin in territorial demarcations, drawn by the European colonial powers, following geographical considerations and regardless of ethnicity of the people in the territories.
The constitutive ingredients that form the characteristics of a nation can be spelt out thus;
A- A plurality of people whose togetherness is determined by interests or culture
B- A distinct permanent territory or settlement for the people
C- A public authority with power to ultimate decision
D- A positive legal and constitutional order for the attainment of the common good, whose responsibility it is to determine and legalise the political authority.
A nation has as it purpose to;
A- Establish justice and order
B- Secure domestic tranquillity
C- Provide common defense
D- Provide general welfare
E- Ensure liberty for all.
The purpose of the nation is therefore, summed up as the “promotion of the general political common good of the people”. Unfortunately, although Nigeria can rightly be called a nation, it appears to have fallen short of the aforesaid qualities that characterise a nation.Development, peaceful coexistence and unity of purpose have eluded the people. The Nigerian constitution recognizes that Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation. The constitution permit peaceful coexistence and does not permit the dominance of any religion over others in national affairs. Section 10 of the 1999 constitution states that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief in worship, practice and observance”. Despite this constitutional provisions, the nation is unfortunately, incessantly on the war-path. Apart from militancy and ethnic rivalries, the Bible and Qur’an have become instruments of devastation, brutality as well as divide and rule. Nigeria is a stark reality of a nation on the brink of collapse or disintegration. Here and there are ignoble manifestations of the reality of the very just happenings. In this era of global technological advancement, Nigeria is sadly always in the dark because of power failure, pipe borne water is a luxury and good roads remain in the realm of illusion.
Although, Nigeria is one of the richest oil countries of the world, pennilessness in its various dimension remains a grim reality. These result in disillusionment, dissatisfaction, hatred, acrimony and un-patriotism.A scholarship once said, at what point will Nigerians come to the realisation that the pretend nation called Nigeria is not working and that we must break up and go our separate ways…? Yet another scholar opined that “signs that” Nigeria is a living dead nation are all around us. He continues “This nation called Nigeria is slipping gradually into extinction. Factually, we have no nation; just a geographical articulation. Nigeria is currently a country where no lives and property are safe, a country where government is a stockpile of selfish individuals, a country where so called gentlemens’ concurrence is not binding and honour becomes amusement. The resultant of this is cataclysm”.
Since Nigeria Independence, the nation has been rife with signs of uncertain future, a future with signals of guerrilla warfare, a future of neck-breaking hardships, injustice and deprivation so. In fact, it appears to be future with multifarious catastrophes. More worrisome is the gullible manner with which Nigerians have swallowed hook, line and sinker, the enviable value of love for community life ,unity among the people, respect for human dignity, have given way to philosophies as individualism, materialism and atheistic humanism. The confused situation is summed up in the words of late China Achebe in his celebratedThings Full Apart, thus; “Turning and turning in a widening gyre. The falcon cannot hear the falconer, things fall apart the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon…
Every man is a piece of the country, a part of the main. Society or the individual is the question about the hen & the egg, therefore, society & individual are inseparable, they are necessary & complementary to each other, not opposite. Yes, your neighbour is an integral part of you, it is all about reciprocity.
· Comr. Destiny Oghayerio Enabulele (B.A,Int’l Studies & Diplomacy, MA-History Student). Lead Director, Cradle of Black Civilization Initiative &Director of Administration, Conference of Non Governmental Organizations (CONGOs). [email protected] ,08078666201