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Nigeria-Patriotism And Prebendalism.

Super Eagles Fans

This is the season of patriotism.The  out-pouring of support by Nigerians for the various national soccer teams during recent international competitions is proof that Nigerians love their country.Whether this love is absolute love of country or the relative love of supporting your country,when it is engaged in an adversarial contest with another nation,perhaps so as to emerge on the winning side and secure bragging rights is unimportant here.The fact is that Nigerians seem to love their country.This conflicts with the widely held view that Nigerians are not patriotic.

According to one definition,patriotism is not only love of country,but also the willingness to sacrifice one’s interest in the service of country.And selfless service to country is where Nigerians are falling down on the job.Nigerians love their country but are unwilling to sacrifice for Nigeria.The reason for this is that in a mere geographic expression like Nigeria,we are at heart,not citizens,but mere indigenes subscribing to a hierarchy of loyalty at the top which are our families and kin,with the country at the absolute bottom.Put simply,this means me,my family,my tribe first and Nigeria last.

This split loyalty has grievous consequences for Nigeria.Frequently,one needs the support and promotion of one’s ethnic group for advancement in society,further reinforcing one’s loyalty to the group rather than the country,and this loyalty is to be shown in material terms.This means using your office to accumulate wealth for the benefit of not only yourself ,but also members of your ethnic group. This fuels corruption.Especially in government,where every office is seen as a prebend,whose resources are to be captured,not only to  reward members of one’s ethnic group with wealth and favours,but even worse,to promote narrow ethnic interests and agendas.

A country in the grip of prebendalism l like Nigeria will struggle to produce nationals who are willing to give their all for the country,simply because people have not begun to see themslves as citizens.And when these people get into political office,given their indigene mentality,they are going to behave like mere patriarchs at best.Nigeria’s challenge is to find a real national leader,in every sense of that expression,who can inspire the people to the ideal of citizenship,with all it’s responsibilities as well as rights.


4 responses to “Nigeria-Patriotism And Prebendalism.

  1. codliveroil September 6, 2010 at 11:17 am

    This hit the nail on the head. Nigeria indeed must find a leader who looks beyond themselves and are willing to sacrifice. But again, it shouldn’t merely be down to the leaders at national level, at state and local government levels the quest is the same. Indeed it can be argued that once this is achieved, this will reduce the needless carnage that occurs over the indigene question, that has reared itself all over Nigeria.

    It’s not all one way traffic either, citizens must uphold their end of the contract and behave responsibly. When we all live under the umbrella of Nigeria, why should some people be discriminated against. Yet, when Nigerians move abroad, they are the first to start shouting against ethnic/ racial discrimination. If this non-discrimination is what is sought after abroad, why can’t they practice it amongst themselves? This makes Nigerians at home look like big hypocrits. When people are treated in a fair manner, this enhances their loyalty to the state (it goes without saying), if they are treated like shit, then it’s no surprise they pay mere lip service to being a citizen.

    I’ve heard foreigners time and time again, marvel at the rich ethnic mix that makes up Nigeria (along with their proud and impressive histories), and how only if it’s people could be sensible and co-operate, the nation could really be something on the world stage. Yet the narrow minded, village, ethnic group thinking predominates. So today we are no better than Niger (are hungry neighbour, no disrespect intended to our neighbours from across the border).

    I would even say those Muslim Nigerians in the Sharia states think of themselves first as Muslims, then their ethnic group and finally if they can remember a Nigerian. Those in the non-Sharia states think of themselves as belonging to their ethnic group first, then it’s a toss up between religion and Nigerian., depending on how religious they are.

    How is is a country such as France (a secular state), can have it’ s Muslim members of society thinking themselves as French first before considering themselves as Muslims? Yet this is the case, Islam is a fairly recent arrival in France. The Muslims of the US, regard themselves as Americans first and Muslims second, Islam in America has even shallower roots than it does in France. This being the case why can’t Nigerians recognise that together, they will benefit themselves more, rather than splitting into mickey mouse states, that aren’t capable of doing anything?

    Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi- religious country , like the US. So adopting exclusionary points of view, and practices simply won’t work. People need to wake up to the realities of this world. If division were such a good thing, why are nations working hard to resist it like the US, China and India, because they know it’s no good for their people.

    • henryik2009 September 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks for your comment.Nigeria clearly needs a leader who has the vision to transform this country.If we can find such a leader,one who would be willing to bring about meaningful change and get the people to start dreaming about Nigeria,then we would be on our way.Please check out these post.:(1)resource control;(2)leadership;free and fair elections;and knowledge-aristocrats

  2. Mena March 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Who will the leader be, bearing in mind the elections are at hand

    Is it Jonathan (PDP) : Sometime back we were told that Nigeria hit a 10 year generation peak of 4000MW which the president confirmed on his Facebook page.

    If this is the peak that means since 2001 we havent generated any higher than amount. Which means that in 1999 and 2001 we generated more than that.. So basically we are doing worst than we used to under the reign of the PDP. . Far from their ‘power to the people’ slogan, the PDP has succeeded in the last 12 years in taking (electrical) power from the people.

    Is it Buhari: Who lets face it, is a coupist, aformer maximum dictator and has managed to get his name on the ballot in the last four presidential elections?

    Or is it Ribadu: Ribadu who accused people like Tinubu, Ngige et al of corruption in the past? Now ahe needed sponsorship to be able to launch his bid and could not find anybody but the renowned rogue ( lion of Bourdillon ) to team up with? The same one he had a dossier on is whom he is now legitmizing?

    The question remains who is this leader!!!

  3. henryik2009 March 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Mena,
    Thanks for your comment.Admittedly,all our presidential candidates are flawed.But this is normal.Each of us will have to choose one.I have chosen Jonathan,and for good reason.Please check out those reasons in this post:
    *Please let me know what you think,because i am thinking of doing a post on the article on your blog,about conformity.

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