Wednesday the first of October 2008 would have gone like any other public holiday in Nigeria. I got out of the house to attend a Communion service for the 60th birthday anniversary of an Uncle. The family had gone out earlier to the Uncle's house.
It was Nigeria's 48th Independence Sober Reflections Day. President UMYAwn had directed that there would be no celebrations on that day but everybody should spend the day in 'sober reflections'. I guess not many people agreed with him. At least not in Lagos. Everywhere I turned, ariya was in full gear. There was one party of the other lined up on the day full owambe stylee.
If we cannot celebrate your Independence (whatever it means), we can celebrate our Nigerianness. Abi?
At the birthday party I met some guys who had gone to 'The Platform' a program at which some powerful speakers like Bishop Oyedepo, Pastor Poju Oyemade, Leke Alder and others were billed to speak. They were obviously excited about the program and we talked a lot about Nigeria. I was particularly struck by their positive outlook on everything Nigerian - even where they disagreed with each other on how to achieve some goals. The positive glow was a carry over from The Platform.
On Thursday, I got to the office and on my blog rounds I noticed that almost every body had done a birthday post to Nigeria - and Catwalq. Then I also read Flying Snow's positively powerful post on Nigeria's Independence.
Later in the day, I saw Pastor Tony Rapu on TV talking about his church program wherein they work with area boys and destitutes from under Lagos' famed bridges. The program is tagged 'God Bless Nigeria'. From Pastor to Area Boy, they were all turned out in the same ankara uniform and they were celebrating Nigeria. All of them.
Of course I got the 'Rhapsody of Realities' October Anniversary Edition. Someone dropped it in my car.
All these warm activities by Nigerians and the corresponding apathy by the political class reinforced something I had always known. Our salvation does not lie in our politics. It is in our people.
I don't think any of the people mentioned above from the Church leaders, Bloggers to the Area Boys were doing whatever they were doing for reasons of 'patriotism'. I doubt if they even knew what patriotism means. They did not need a Presidential proclamation to do what they were doing, but they were doing it for a love of 'something'. And an implicit belief in the 'rightness' of what they are doing.
'Something' they knew was bigger than all of them individually but which if they nurture it by putting in their own little bit would only get better - for all of them. Something that belongs to all of them. Something that for want of a better name we have agreed to call Nigeria.
You probably would have noticed that I have been going round blogville with this i-love-my-country-i-no-go-lie funk for the past few days. And I intend to dedicate all my posts for this month of October to Nigeria. Her greatness and her problems.
I will ask you to join me in this effort to locate Nigeria in the context of her greatness. We cannot do otherwise.
Welcome to the Greatest Nation On Earth.