Friday, 24 May 2013
The Nigerian Spirit By Olu W. Onemola
Our best years are ahead of us. Though those that are behind do not leave much to cherish and very little to hold on to.
I say this because everyday I see a new reaffirmation of the resilience of the Nigerian spirit. I see my own struggles, and the struggles of the people that I have the privilege to experience everyday. The new graduate that tries his hand at every volunteer opportunity – simply because he cannot find a job – though not for a lack of trying.
The young carpenter – a father of two – with a third child on the way, who tries to stay abreast of current trends in his field of work, to remain relevant in today’s market, by recreating the high-end furniture that he sees in dated IKEA fliers. I have seen the young Nigerian woman, with a fiery entrepreneurial spirit, who works a meager day job to put food on the table for herself and her aging father, but has dreams
– that she wont compromise – of someday owning her own spa and fitness club.
These people embody the Nigerian spirit, and I see it everyday. And, I believe in it more every time I see it. Because these people – everyday Nigerians
– even though they have been dealt wretched cards, in any other world their mere drive would be enough to guarantee their success in their various endeavors. But because they have been born into this near-forgotten generation – my generation – they have to work many times as hard as their peers in other nations, to enjoy the basic necessities of life. They also have to remain many more times as steadfast to their dreams, to not deviate from their self-instituted purposes in life.
At the same time, for every Nigerian that still believes in their own future – whose immovable dreams tell of a promising future – I would be remiss if I did not mention the hundreds – even thousands – of Nigerians who once believed in silken promises of a better Nigeria that have not yet materialized. These people, once believers, currently wait their days out, serving out their time, hopeful, for the day that they will see an end to their life sentence.
Only recently, I read about job applicants, who staged an impromptu demonstration by forming human barricades barring entry and departure from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to justly protest the mishandling of their applications. These young men and women had every right to protest; yet when security agents arrived on the scene, they fired shots in the air to scare off their fellow citizens. Despicable.
Sometimes, I genuinely wonder whatever happened to the ideology that is set forth in our great country song – that great anthem that spoke to me as a child, and still speaks to me as a young man, as I experience the failures that the older generation has bequeathed to mine. Because, like me, I know millions of young Nigerians wake up everyday as compatriots, heed the call of our motherland, spend out our days in humble service of our families and communities – contributing in any way we can – with love, and strength, and faith. Yet, our county does not play its part. Our leaders do not look our way.
And all around us, the optimism of youth decays in aged frustration.
Nevertheless, amidst all the justified discontent, there is still light. Because many of us still look to the future, many of us still stand strong. And at the end of the day, whatever challenges we might be forced to face individually or collectively, many of us will always believe in the staunchness of the Nigerian spirit.
As always, thank you for your time.
Let’s continue this conversation on Twitter. I am @OluOne.