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Monday, September 21, 2009

The different faces of un-patriotic Nigerians

By Onwueme Paul

I have been forced to make this post because many people act as if the problem with Nigeria is hopeless. Many of them really take things too far acting in ways inimical to the well being of their fatherland. It certainly isn’t hopeless and I would spare no effort in letting out my views on this. From my experience, I have found out that there are three classes of un-patriotic Nigerians namely;

1. Those who want to leave the country at all costs
2. Those who have left and don’t wish to ever return
3. Those who do not want to leave but are bent on making things worse

For the first group of un-patriotic Nigerians, many of them are tired of the economic hardship in their country. They have lost hope of ever making anything tangible of their lives and belief that their path to financial freedom lies in becoming an immigrant in a first world country. They are quick to blame government for systemic failure and would do anything including perpetrating scams, fraud schemes and forgeries just to raise funds to travel out. This bunch are no better than the leaders they condemn and once they leave don’t expect to hear from them again except if Nigeria offers better opportunities than their bases abroad.

The second group, I prefer to call them saboteurs, these group are the criminals; pirates, smugglers, drug peddlers, militants pretending to be freedom fighters, corrupt politicians, lying and deceiving clerics and a bunch of supporting cohorts.

The third group is highly pretentious and hypocritical, only caring to know about their country if their personal interests are at stake. Most times they have very unkind words for their country especially its government and are very regular in making their voices heard when something negative is said about their country. They are also not likely to return home except if better economic opportunities exist for them.

But this article will focus on the first and third groups because they are the most hypocritical of the three groups. At least we know the villains are group two so let’s leave them out of this.

Before expatiating on my points let it be known that all over the world there are only three acceptable reasons for seeking immigration opportunities in other countries especially more endowed countries and these are;

1. The need to empower oneself through Education so as to contribute meaningfully to national development. Hence it is not a surprise that the world over governments sponsor their citizens to study abroad in order to acquire useful skills that could help in national development. Seeking temporary immigration abroad to study, work and pursue a career is all part of a plan to develop your country because in later years those skills and experiences would be useful to others who are not so priviledged.

2. The need to empower oneself and fellow countrymen through improved employment opportunities abroad. Many people seek to work abroad for a while maybe a few years in order to exploit the opportunities of being employed overseas can offer. This trend is very common in the Philippines where many Filipinos work for the good of their country abroad by repatriating funds home for national development. In other words your body is in another man’s country but your heart is at home.

3. Asylum or fleeing from persecution or certain death. If your life is threatened you could seek asylum in a foreign country sympathetic to your course.

So in other words seeking immigration opportunities abroad should one way or the other benefit your country, but can we honestly say that these applies to 10% of Nigerians living in the diaspora? Certainly not as many Nigerians are living abroad for themselves and their loved ones because they would rather enjoy an improved standard of living in a European, Asian or North American country and not Togo, Gabon or Cameroon because rather than working hard to better the lot of their country like the Jews have done in their native homeland or the Americans, Canadians, koreans and the Brits have done they would rather reap from where they did not sow and still turn around to castigate their birth place. It is as if they wish to say, Nigeria is the cause of all their personal woes not forgetting that even abroad where they choose to settle down many of them are treated as second class citizens.

A wise saying goes that when a ship is sinking, it is usually rats that jump boat. This applies to Nigerians who would rather suffer humiliation in a bid to secure visas in order to emigrate to more advanced countries of the world seeking greener pastures and an easier life rather than wanting to exploit opportunities abroad that will serve their country well. It is among these Nigerians that you find people who have made up their minds to only return home to pick up anything they forgot while emigrating, meaning that their hearts have since left their fatherland, preferring to become permanent residents abroad. It is this same Nigerians who complain that Nigeria is a spoilt nation and are in no way interested in improving the lot of their fatherland while sometimes pretending to care about their fatherland by commenting on the worsening state of affairs in the country. They fail to realize that Filipinos of Asia who live in the diaspora consider their homelands to be sacred and would not stop at anything to support both morally and financially to the course of their country than pay mere lip service to their countrymen.

One would expect a sensible Nigerian living in the diaspora to rise to the defence of his/her country when a film maker decides that making money from a movie/film loving global community should be done at the expense of Nigeria through its very misleading and suggestive story line that includes barbaric insinuations of cannibalism, criminality and prostitution painted against a small band of Nigerians represented by southern African actors and actresses. What’s more, rather than see that movies don’t just entertain but inform as well many of these so called Nigerians have been in defence of the film makers putting all manner of silly arguments. Some of them mention that solving the rot in the Education system (as if that can be done overnight) as being of greater priority than demanding an apology, what a shameful thing to suggest, from such people anyway I would expect worse imagine living without an identity that seems to be what these bad eggs are saying.

World famous wycleff Jean loves his country Haiti so much inspite of the fact that Haiti is more corrupt, poorer and even more denigrated by the international community than Nigeria is. Even the late human rights crusader, Gani Fawehinmi did not pay lip service to his country men, he often times spent his resources trying to make things work out well, instead of merely commenting on how bad things are in Nigeria which is exactly what our detractors would love to do anyway.

In conclusion I would say that any person who hates his fatherland does not deserve to have any.