Re: of Sahara reporters, Joshua Ocheja, Patriotism and Nigeria - By Joshua Ocheja


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I choose to do a rejoinder to the above mentioned, not to trade words or deny the fact that all is not well with our dear country, but rather say to all reading this piece that the task of building this nation is a collective Endeavour.

My article was misconstrued for meaning that Sahara reporters is of no good, but on the contrary, what I meant was the negativity of their news items has to an extent affected our faith in Nigeria. Joshua Ocheja is not holier than thou, but simply put, Joshua Ocheja is concerned about the state of affairs in his country and our country.

I did not deny the fact that we have leadership challenges, but what do we do at this critical moment of our existence? What roles have me and you played in the task of nation building? The bulk of the criticisms have been from Nigerians in the Diaspora. And that's was where my concern arouse from.

Constructive criticism is a welcome development as it serves as a catalyst for change. But Change comes only to those ready for it. We cannot call negative publicity constructive criticism; yes these are two different ball games. The future of Nigeria does not reside in the abode of our leaders, but in the hands of each and every one of us, through our actions and inactions, through our words and beliefs and paramount our thought pattern.

In my curiosity, I wanted to know the true meaning of patriotism. I decide to visit the same source of Wikipedia and the meaning went thus: Patriotism defined as love of and/or devotion to one's country. (Not leaders) However, patriotism has had different meanings over time, and its meaning is highly dependent upon context, geography and philosophy.

I wasn't satisfied with the above explanation as it seemed my thoughts and faith in my country was a flight of my imagination. In this wondering state, I had a phone call and guess who? It was Kayode my bosom friend that left the country in search of greener pastures.

I, Kayode, Emeka and Aminu have been friends since childhood, we virtually did everything together. And we were known in our neighborhood as the boys from Nigeria. We all shared the same dreams about our country and looked forward to a beautiful and functional Nigeria.

Gradually events began to shape our thought pattern and my friends became bewildered about the way forward for Nigeria. I remember I will always tell them sorrows may last for the night but joy comes in the morning! My exhortations fell on deaf ears as they left the country. Kayode went to United States, Emeka to China and Aminu to London. I wept as the thought of our fading dreams confronted me starkly. How can I build this country alone, where do I start from? I bade them farewell and returned home.

I held on to that dream that somehow Nigeria shall be great again. Then the phone call that brought a smile to my face.

“Josh, o boy how now? Sorry I didn't call you all these while, this recession thing is really biting hard here! Yes that reminds me, what are the challenges of reverse migration?”

I was taken by surprise by his harmless question. Reverse migration you said I asked rhetorically! Come back home, Nigeria is waiting for you was all I said and I hung up the phone.

Who is the patriotic Nigerian? One that left the country in search of greener pasture while contributing to the development of his temporal place of abode at the detriment of his mother land? Or one that stayed behind in his country through her trying period?

In my previous article, I did challenge our leaders to rise up to the task of nation building, which I stated in unequivocal term. My area of interest was and is the country called Nigeria.

Permit me to correct the obnoxious notion that I am a government propagandist as postulated in the rejoinders to my article, pertinent to mention that Joshua Ocheja is a sociologist with a function to proffer solutions to societal challenges. It's really appalling when one is labeled such, should he speak positive about the future of Nigeria.

I wrote in my capacity as a Nigerian living in Nigeria and not living outside Nigeria. I am sad and bitter about the happenings in our country. I jump buses at obalende, oshodi, I travel through terrible roads, I waste precious time in traffic, I sleep without electricity or having to run my generator should I have the means but I still have faith in my country. While someone in far way United States of America is so patriotic to define patriotism. How patriotic can one be when he is thousands of miles away from his country but having to rely on online forums to keep abreast of happenings, which in most cases is hugely highlighted in negative light, But like I earlier said what is happening in this country is but a transient process that will give way for abundance. Washing our dirty linen in public is not the principal way forward.

Developing countries are prone to leadership and administrative challenges, having in mind a country like Nigeria that consists of over 250 ethno-linguistic groups and among the most ethnic diverse countries in the world.

With apologies to Sahara reporters, news reporting should be balanced and open for interaction. Nigeria is not that bad as being portrayed. Every coin has two sides and Nigeria is not an exception. We have our good parts too. If we were to be that bad as portrayed, why are we all not dead?

Nigerians should talk good about their country. Our flag should be a source of pride. This episode could be likened to a father and son relationship. No matter how terrible your son turns out he still bears your name and you remain his father. What you do is find a solution to the problem and not tell all that cares to listen about your sons challenges because the shame will always come back to you.

I challenge Nigerians in the Diaspora to take the audacious step and return to the country and let's build Nigeria into the country of our dreams. We are going through trying times as negative publicity will not help us in any way, but rather further compound our woes as the world is watching.

Joshua Ocheja is the managing consultant of Labari Media Limited.

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