A long time ago, something happened on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, VI, Lagos. A driver abandoned his boss, who couldn’t walk due to an accident in a vehicle and fled from a robbery scene. When things cleared up and he returned to the vehicle, his boss said to him:
BOSS: You abandoned me to be killed by armed robbers. You are so wicked and inhuman
DRIVER: Sir, what have you done for me that I should put my life on the line for you? I have been working for you for over four years, you have not shown me any kindness or done me any favour. If they killed me will you look after my family? You that can’t give me transport money after keeping me at Ikoyi Club every night until very late. Take your key, I don’t want to work for you anymore”.
This conversation happened in my presence in 1998 at the time when armed robbery was very rampant in Lagos. On this very day, the Managing Director of the defunct Devcom Merchant Bank (an Indian), belonging to Chief Mike Adenuga, was murdered by the armed robbers. Now, you could argue that by paying the driver his negotiated salary, his boss was under no obligation to be nice or kind to him, and you will be right, but work is more than a paycheque, it is about decency, dignity, respect, kindness and honour.
That some people work for you for payment does not make them less human.
In the same way, citizens want to work and defend their countries, and expect that their countries care and protect them. The assurance by citizens that their countries have their backs, is the greatest incentive for patriotism.I know of the popular saying by president JFK to Americans”
Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”JFK
And I believe that too, but JFK was calling his fellow citizens to action to do what is right for the greater good in a country that is perceived by the people as protective, kind, and sensitive to their needs. I believe in Nigeria. I believe that she holds a great promise to the citizens with the right leadership. The current government is trying so hard to turn things around, but it is swimming against the most violent social-economic tide. It is also up against the most insidious political class bent on harming the country with incendiary and divisive rhetoric. The government must rise up and do more to defend the interest of the citizens, and generate more hope in the people.