By Sylvester Asoya
Wendell Willkie, Frankline Roosevelt’s opponent in the highly sensational presidential campaign of 1940 in the United States of America was widely criticized by non-Americans for his strong views on freedom and his dream of extending it beyond American shores if voted to office. According to him, “freedom is an indivisible word” and if Americans were to enjoy it to the fullest, they must be prepared to extend it to everybody irrespective of race or colour, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with them (Americans) or not. Unfortunately, Willkie never made it to the White House, but his dream and vision for America later crystalized into a dynamic policy that is today, the envy of both critics and admirers.
This is how to dream. Some people begin to dream only when they have expended all efforts of physical exertion, thereby reliving reality in fantasy. This is wrong and unprofitable. Dream presupposes a healthy way to visualize and translate subconscious signals. So those that dream with vision, possess above average minds and this is reflected in their level of consciousness and intellectual power. Here in Nigeria, we are blessed with dreamers in virtually all spheres of human endeavour. They are everywhere and if your aura is receptive, you are immediately attracted to them. However, some dreamers have long deserted us for countries where they are appreciated, but we have a handful that can be effectively put to use, if only we can convince them of the need to join those presently dreaming for our dear country.
Dreamers are special people that are not easily localized. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be found in every part of the world. The earliest dreamers found in America mainly were inspired by the political, social, economic and cultural revolution that shook America after the 19th century civil war. As an acclaimed dreamer with vision, Martin Luther King readily comes to mind as a typical example of a dream come through. He received an overwhelming inspiration from Mary MCleod Bethune, a civil rights leader and a dreamer herself. She dreamt “education” and achieved this as an accomplished educationist. She also dreamt power and racial equality. This she realized by becoming the first black woman to receive a major federal appointment in the government of Frankline Roosevelt as an adviser, a position she held until 1944. So dreamers all over the world hardly consider barriers and other inhibitions as obstacles. They perform even better when confronted with impossible situations.
Nigerians are new in this business, no doubt, especially if we consider our recent Olympic feat as a major dream that was translated to reality. The team’s shoddy outing in preparation for the Olympic Games was so discouraging that our dear “Dream Team” surprised skeptics and optimists. Here lies the power of dreams and well-articulated vision. Our boys performed well despite all odds. Apart from the humiliating effects of suspension by CAF, America ironically was the host country, making it even more difficult for our dreamers due to the recent diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United States. Brazil was there also as an obstacle with history in their favour. All these notwithstanding, the “Dream Team”, with determination and perseverance, conquered the world.
We are dreaming again. This time, as a follow-up to the Atlanta success. The game is slightly different now because there is a change in players and location though with the same vision of success for Nigeria. Moreover, our expectations this time around are higher because we now have elders and technocrats as dreamers, not excited and exuberant youths. Those elders and technocrats will be enjoying the privilege of “playing” at home, amidst cheers and support from sports loving Nigerians. Nigerians will also be the match officials, so we are not likely to experience inflexible officiating by the referees, commissioners and linesmen. The stage looks set for fair play.
However, Vision 2010 dreamers must exploit to the maximum, all these privileges without losing sight of the enormous task ahead. They could even exploit the gullibility of some spectators if they so desire but there is need for a thorough understanding of all the terms of reference. Our dreamers should also be courageous enough to vehemently resist any form of undue government interference, especially in sensitive areas, if they are to make a success of the national assignment. This is not just another political appointment, so autonomy of thought is as paramount as acceptance of offer.
If our dreamers dream with vision, sympathy, understanding and patriotism, we are most likely going to enter the next century more prepared and determined. We envisage a total transition from romantic ideas to a pleasant reality if recommendations and implementations are sincerely and objectively pursued. Nigerians are praying, since prayer has now become a novel antidote to our intractable problems; and also hoping that our dreamers will bequeath to future Nigerians, a legacy of success; and to non-Nigerians, the privilege of benefiting from a worthy experience.
-This article, written by Sylvester Asoya, was first published in The Guardian of Monday, October 21, 1996.