Blank NEWS Online encounters Prof. Somayina Gabriel Nwoko (OON), retired professor of Agric-Economics at the University of Ibadan. His testament on FLAG REVOLUTION is insightful and suggestive of new perspectives.
1. WHAT THE FLAG MEANS:
Our national flag was hosted on 1st October 1960. It is a transformation of our country Nigeria into a Nation. It is liberty for Nigeria and Nigerian. It is Nigeria plus. The plus elements are the visions and the aspirations which independence engendered among Nigerians. It is a socio-politico- economic track which our founding fathers cut from that day to lead to the infinity of Nigeria. It is a synonym for the compound world “Nigeria my country”. It is the dynamic greatness of Nigeria. It is a glorious star mapping the ancient track of our founding fathers. It is the consolidated unity of Nigeria. It is an unwritten book to be deciphered by political leaders who occupy the leadership stages in the Nation. It is Nigeria at different world fora. It is our national, global and horizontal securities. It is the embodiment of all our national ideals.
In the national pledge we say “I pledge to Nigeria my country” the pledge is made to the national flag because it is the synonym of “Nigeria my country”. This can be confirmed from President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in his re-election.
“We believe in generous America.
Open to the dreams of our immigrant
daughter who studies in our schools
And pledges to our flag”.
2. GREATNESS OF NIGERIA
Nigeria is rich in mineral resources. The country is populated with happy and hard working people. We are blessed with leaders with vision. On which of these will the greatness of the Nation lie?
The mineral wealth will make the country wealthy and our people rich if the resulting stream of income is equitably managed and efficiently distributed. But the wealth can be trampled upon, looted and plundered. It can be the cause of war and division as in Sudan. But far be it.
Can our greatness then lie in our people? People can not on their own make a nation great else they go into disarray. Besides, they can be led to collective doom as were the Germans under Hitler. But the people are the most important members on the greatness of a nation if they are led on the path of “honor and glory” to shifting “great lofty heights… where peace and justice shall reign” under a guiding star. That guiding star is the national flag. So, our resources, the people and the flag form a tripodic identity of greatness.
At independence, the flag proclaimed liberty. It proclaimed inheritable dreams of greatness. Nigeria was then nicknamed “giant of Africa”.
Today the human rodents in the nation have attacked the giant from different angles.
Even though I was then a third year economics student in the University College Ibadan I can recollect some of our hopes as recounted by Prof. Onitiri. We dreamt of consolidated unity, country wide market, an excellent net-work of transportation system, complementary products from areas with comparative advantages, cultural harmony, wide international markets with friendly nations, education for all, and for leadership, industrialization with locally sourced raw materials with multiplier effects, locally brewed democracy and democratic institutions, excellent defense system, impeccable legal system and a lot more.
These dreams and aspirations could not have turned our people into Zombies only obeying orders without reasoning, and looting the national treasury without remorse. No, we are bound to reason we are bound to disagreed, we are bound to dialogue, we are bound to come to progressive consensus among states, and zone as to ways, means, and speed.
According to Barack Obama, “These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty”.
It was liberty that forced Biafra to declare attempted secession. It was liberty and leadership that forced General Gowon to declare in succession, clinical police action and then war of unity. It was love that moves the All Highest to end the war. It was liberty that forced a group of Northern politicians to state their readiness to make Nigeria ungovernable under President Jonathan. It was liberty that forced some people to organize themselves into terrorist groups. It is liberty and leadership responsibility that will force Jonathan to adopt the most effective option that will end terrorism.
But he has no liberty to surrender to the terrorists. He has no liberty to make terrorism a living part of Nigeria. He must follow the old track of greatness to achieve peace and harmony in Nigeria. Liberty is the cause of our problems. Liberty and leadership are the solutions to our problems.
4. WHY THIS DISCUSSION?
We are in search of a globally dominant high ground with constellation of excellences on which we can stand as elders, and beacon at our children. Most of what we see are neighborhood lofty grounds which are crowded by ethnic and religious apologists and criminals at high places who have eyes for causes but are totally blind to the cause of causes. The causes of a problem provide ways to solve the problem. The cause of the causes makes a problem to solve itself. This knowledge belongs only to the Divinity and his messengers.
But far, far beyond the neighborhood heights, at a telescopic height, stands an inanimate, collectivized and idealized bridal authority, colorfully robbed in immutable green, white and green. We can march there effortlessly in perpetuity with joy, peace, harmony in every step we take without tiredness.
5. DOES THE FLAG FLY?
Does the National flag which means so much to us really fly? I believe so much in national flag that I want Nigerian flag to fly. When I returned to Nigeria from my search for academic laurels and academic attachment in 1975, I saw Nigeria flag only in the airport and Police Barracks. So I published an article “Let the Flag fly” in the daily times Newspapers. When I mounted the national flag in my unfenced compound, youths invaded my compound when they were mourning their dead youth colleague and cut down the pole bearing the flag. Today as I am speaking now, two flags are flying in my compound, the national flag and a personal divinely donated flag. They say safe journey when I am travelling and welcome to me when I return home from any journey or outing. People ask my wife, what entitles this man to fly these Flags? Her usual answer is my husband is looking for true Nigeria.
But the national flag does not fly in any Lawmaker’s compound. It does not fly in any Senator’s personal compound. It does not fly in any serving or retired Minister’s compound or in any Governor’s compound. But it only flies on their escort vehicles to terrorize other road users.
It flies in school compounds in tatters and shreds that are unfit for a madman’s waste and in similar forms even in the compounds of the ruling political party offices and other party offices. Flags of this form do not command any respect nor do they convey any ideal. This is why cultists can sit under the shadow of or in view of the national flag to plan evil. This is also why pupils and some university students engage in lawlessness under the shadow of the flag. Every lawlessness in this nation has its remote cause on the failure of the flag to fly and flying the flag incorrectly.
6. THE REVOLUTION
This is an unconventional revolution. There are no unjust taxes to be lifted. There are no downtrodden classes to be liberated. There are no authoritarians to be deposed. We are not speaking in whisper from ear to ear, from gutter to joints, from farm to squalors, but from the pinnacle of a media house. We proclaim FLAG REVOLUTION FOR THE REBIRTH OF OUR COUNTRY NIGERIA
***It is a revolution for practical education in national consciousness with several shafts.
***It is a revolution to breed voluntary patriots with superlative demonstrable love for Nigeria.
***It is a revolution to submerge ethnicity and to confine religion to churches, and mosques and undermine criminality in it various forms. We want to separate the state from religion and ethnicity. Nigeria should be a secular state in law and in fact. All religion announcements and preaching in state owned radio and televisions should be banned. Hajji and pilgrimage should be a private sector affair with Government welfare input. Every church or mosque erected in Government compound should be converted to Government offices. No worshiping should be conducted in Government building. No civil servant should bear any religious title in his or her office. Ebonyi state Government has already taken the lead in the ban of religious announcements in state Government owned television and radio stations.
***It is a revolution for single citizenship and single indigeneship. There is nothing like citizen of Lagos, or of Ekiti or of Kano or of Eket or of Asaba. But there are indigenes of towns or communities. You are an indigene of the location where you will be carried to when death strikes. That is the community or town jointly own by ancestral inheritance. You can erect a personal building anywhere you acquire land to do so because of your citizenship right. But erecting a building can not make you an indigene of the location of the building.
***It is a revolution to promote reasoning, opinion, duty and conscience in nation building as against sole instinctive behavior.
It is a revolution to raise patriots and encourage our statesmen to protect individual liberty, promote the rule of law, and defend our democratic institutions.
***It is a revolution for every citizen to live and act by the harmonizing universal truth that Nigeria is a nation and that the nationhood is non-negotiable.
***It is a revolution to promote the greatness of Nigeria.
For this revolution to be attractive and knowable by all youths, for the allurement to be desired and for the permanence to be lasting, minimally, the following people should plant the national flag in the personal compounds. Traditional ruler, chairman of local Government councils and their councilors, Assemblymen, Commissioners and State Governors, Judges at every level of the Judiciary, retired Generals and Police Commissioners and higher ranked Policemen, Senators and National Law Makers, Ministers and members of Presidential Advisory Committee, formers Presidents and Heads of state of Nigeria and their Deputies, Professors, Nigerians who have received national honors award, registered business premises, and all winners in world sporting competitions. This does not bar any other person from flying the flag.
When the flag flies in many places, people will be made to understand that Nigeria is bigger than their communities where they are indigenes, and they can reside anywhere the flag flies as residents of the place and citizens of Nigeria. Then they will be made to understand that as they have a duty to develop their places as indigenes, they also have a bigger duty to Nigeria.
7. DUTY TO NIGERIA.
The duty we owe to Nigeria is to make the nation great. This can be achieved by the pursuit of excellence and selflessness in whatever we do. The farmer should produce as much food and raw material as he is capable and enabled to from year to year. The carpenter should produce the best furniture. The mechanic should satisfy his customers, the builder should ensure that he builds a house that can stand the weather and soil condition. People of different professions should meet the best professional competence required of them. Lecturers should open the door to knowledge and the thirst for knowledge to their students. Politicians should be honest statesmen. Our Lawmakers in the house of representative are vanguard of this revolution in works of their committees of oil subsidy, pension fund and capital market. But we need a law with life imprisonment for financial crimes. Other leaders should follow the established track of greatness with transparency, accountability, togetherness and selflessness.
Everyone should do what will lift the nation higher rather than drag it down. We should build rather destroy the work of others or the public domain. Our duties should be consistent with those of others. They should be complementary and harmonious with those of others. Anyone who does anything that is inharmonious destroys Nigeria and should be judged by the public and by his conscience. Do not be fraudulent or evade your duty.
Your duty to Nigeria is to do the best in whatever you do. Put in your best effort and your spirit in whatever you do that is within the law. Be a grown up child in the service of the nation. Add the child’s selflessness to your strength, power and knowledge in the service of the nation.
8. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION.
The national flag is inanimate but real. It stands as a guiding star for Nigeria. Look at it as my “country Nigeria”. Let it inspire you to excellence and selflessness. Let Nigeria be a collection of excellence so that we can achieve the greatness we dream for Nigeria. Let us collectively detach the nation from religion, ethnicity and criminality. Let us raise patriots and statesmen with the pride of our national flag. Let the flag fly from the village to the city, from your compound to the compound of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Let the flag be the engine pulling wagons that are loaded with acts that are good, acts that are excellent, acts that are harmonious, acts that are universal, acts that will take Nigeria to mighty and lofty rolling revolutionary heights. There are many revolutionary shafts. Track the one you want by publications, speeches, communications, encouragements, grouping and other harmonious lawful acts.
- Prof. Somayina Gabriel Nwoko, OON, (A.K.A Silver & Gold) Is Facilitator, NATIONAL PEACE FOUNDATION OF NIGERIA (NPFN)
- EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
- G.S.M: 08064384963.