INSIDE NIGERIA: On The Need to Encourage Hardwork & Eachother

Posted: April 29, 2014 in Articles, INSIDE NIGERIA
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by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

No write-up about Nigeria, has had more influence on my attitude towards life than Chinua Achebe’s “There Was a Country”, a book bearing the memories of the great sage, his life’s experiences up to the Biafran war. A book published in 2012, and with its publication came the salt upon old injury, the re-awakening of conscience long dead, the vitriolic backlash from those who are ignorant and those who know but will never say the truth.

A particular passage in the book strikes me the most, there Achebe wrote:

“I grew up at a time when the colonial educational infrastructure celebrated hard work and high achievement, and so did our families and communities. Government College, Umuahia (his alma mater), was so proud of my work (First position in nationwide entrance examination for tertiary education) that they put up a big sign announcing my performance in the national entrance examination. That notice stayed on the wall for years…
A very distinguished member of the colonial education system–a British gentleman–who was also the chairman of some important colonial council, heard about my entrance examination result and came to our house to greet me. Now, I had never encountered such a thing before. Surely people of that distinction did not call on children? But here was this man, who was a very important (white) person in the British educational system, who thought that my work deserved encouragement, recognition, and a visit from him.”

—“There Was a Country” page 27

Now compare this to happenings of today. When was the last time the commissioner or minister of education or principal or head master paid a visit to the best student in Jamb, Waec, Neco, Gce, Common entrance? Do they even know who those students are or are the students simply unfortunate to be born in this space and in this era.

In my university days, we would gather in our small circle to gist, discussing about trifles, sex, money and swag, occasionally, we would discuss about our academic expectations, and somebody’s name would pop up.
“Ah! That boy Nnaemeka is fighting hard to get first class ooo, is he the only student in this school sef?” Someone would say.
And another would interject; “I do pity him and all those fighting to get first class, these days first class materials hardly get job, in fact first class don cast.”
And we all would join in one resounding Aye, nodding our bad-bellied heads to the demise of our academic system.
The most unserious one among us would prolong the conversation by saying; “These days one does not need to work hard, just work smart.”
I never still understand what that statement means. How does one work smart without working hard…hmmm. But I still joined in the jamboree of the circus, as we consoled ourselves, turning our eyes away from our tse-tse fly infested brains unto some other idle talk.

This is the situation of Nigeria today, meritocracy has now be sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity. Nobody wants to work hard for it, yet all wants to make money, Big Parcel money. The greed that has eaten deep into our minds have become far more deadlier than AIDS.

A friend of mine wishing to be a script-writer went to Iweka Road Onitsha where marketers and producers pile their trades. There he met one producer and asked for an audience with him. The producer seeing my friend; hungry looking, cheap watch upon cheap wrist, told him before hand that he has no time if it wasn’t about money. My friend, persistent as always went ahead to table the matter that brought him thence; he wanted advice on script writing. The producer advised him to depart henceforth and never to comeback again, that his story is giving him headache. An already made script may fetch money, but a well-written future script is still unwritten., and there is no need investing in the future…here goes our myopic-ness.

Nigeria is a country endowed with great human resources..we have so much more to offer the world besides entertainment…besides music and comedy (forget Nollywood, that one na joke).

A walk in any open field in Nigeria at evening time or early sunday morning will bring tears to your eyes for the dead and dying super stars, talents withering with every kick, feet struggling still to pass the ball, to pass this dream into something tangible. No one notices them, we all are far more preoccupied with how Chelsea beat Liverpool, or who Real Madrid will sign in the summer. How then will Nigeria grow? How will the labours of our heroes past and present not be in vain?

Yesterday, I visited my neighbour and lo and behold there she was before her television watching Philippine movie. I am yet to grasp how we mutated from Chinese movies to Korean ones and now down to Philippine’s…yet our Home movies remain rotting in the garbage- bin of mediocre.

Nigeria is now a grave yard of talents, a cemetery of dreams, which according to a friend will give you enough time to cry and die, for it cares not about you. Thus like the biblical Nazareth one must ask; Can anything good ever come out of here?

A serious look at our literary icons will reveal one distinct pattern, those are men and women that were discovered by the west. Achebe, Soyinka, Okigbo, Clark, Chimamanda and co were all recoginised first by the west before we all joined the band wagon of cheering fans. We have many great writers today that wallow in the jungle of obscurity, waiting for one white man to discover them like an Oil well in Egbema. How many world class writer have we discovered on our own. How many great scientists, engineers, philosophers, doctors, technicians, athletes, sportsmen etc have we groomed here in Nigeria. No! We are either waiting for the world to recognise them before we do, or like some of my brothers in Alaba and co we are busy waiting for them to release a record or publish one book so that we will pirate.
Our’s is a people who are mentally lazy, who have lost the capacity to think, to envision and to appreciate hard work. We are busy waiting for any new ideas from someone to plagiarise…thanks to lawlessness of the land, copyright is a word for those who have promises to keep.

Time has come for us to have a rethink, a retreat, a repositioning. We need to start appreciating the hardwork, the talents, the dreams of eachother. We as a people need to desist from the habit of dream-killers, and embrace the one of dream-chasers. We need to start thinking about the future. Parcel Money will come and the source will be sustained if only we discover the gold mines of talents languishing in the dungeon of neglect. Encourage eachother, encourage your neighbour in whatever creative work he is into, be it soccer, atheletics, writing, singing, dancing, academic pursuit, preaching etc. We need to be the our brother’s keeper. You like Phyno, You like Adiiche, you like Genevieve, go out there and buy the original copy of their art…that’s your own contribution to the advancement of talent in Nigeria. You see a fledging writer, musician, actor, painter, football player, scholar etc encourage him with words, with money (if necessary), with your presence. If we Nigerians can change our attitude towards eachother, solemnly I say unto you, the future of this nation will be bright.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

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Comments
  1. christian says:

    I feel so priviledged to have known you solar G I don’t read much but I crave always to read your write ups like I’m waiting for the season 9 of 24 by kiefer sutherland.

    Your write up is spot on, I’ll also add my voice in saying that the key to changing our countries orientation is by doing little things like appreciating and encouraging our own, discipline, honesty and leaving no room for the fight against corruption. (I propose capital punishment for corrupt officials) and little by little our country will be better.

    Keep up the good work in no distance time you will be discovered by the west and then recognized by Nigeria. *smiles*

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Hehehe, you got me musing there. Very soon indeed.

      Thanks for the feedback, I’m highly honoured by your praise of my work.

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  3. chiugo chidi says:

    Wow. I must say, you got me this time bro. Your intro is superb. To the subject matter…….On Nigeria, I think I blame our educated grand father who let morons and rogues in a uniform (military) determine the fate of this country for well over 3 decades, and as such, created a generation, our generation, which can be truly considered dead on arrival.

    Integrity is lost. Value is lost. Honesty is shunned. Vice is celebrated. Malice, appreciated. How can this society survive? Until we begin to appreciate integrity, reward hard work, encourage value, shun vice, do away with malice…….we are not getting anywhere.

    This is a beautiful piece Solar. Keep the ink, flowing.

    C.C.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Tanx for reading…and yes you said my mind, the past intellituals have a great share of the blame. They left the nation to illetrate khaki men to manage and today see where we are…great point my good man.

  4. bryanchima says:

    “You like Phyno, You like Adiiche, you like Genevieve, go out there and buy the original copy of their art…that’s your own contribution to the advancement of talent in Nigeria. You see a fledging writer, musician, actor, painter, football player, scholar etc encourage him with words, with money (if necessary), with your
    presence”.

    Nice words Solar. If we can all do dis, it would be a huge step towards enhancing talent development in nigeria.

  5. onyeka says:

    Nice write up bro, but must you use Liverpool as an example

  6. Moses opara says:

    This is word for our souls. Everything in it is powerful. Thanks for this.

  7. timnwaobilo says:

    Truth my brother, truth!
    Never better articulated.
    Many a hardworking, honest man has been pushed off the cliff of decision, to fall into the short, taloned-arms of mediocrity, average, and “follow-the-band-wagon” paradigm. Why? It is because he has seen his brother get more praise and accollades for being “smarter” and has been left to rue his years/period of diligent hardwork. However, this is an anomaly. The reverse should be the case. When we finally realise what injustice we inflict on ourselves and the generations unborn, our collective attitudes will change. This is because at the rate we are galloping, a time will arrive when diligence and excellence would have been relegated to the chasmic dungeons of senility.

    Also, we need not only to encourage hardwork but the hardworker. Though without present glow, the flicker of a distant candle in his hardwork and perseverance should illuminate and ultimately ignite our senses to lend a helping hand to the one with a bright future. Until we eschew the need for immediate monetary benefits and substitute that with a deeper craving for value and substance, we all may still keep wallowing in the slime of putrid inconsequentiality.

    Give your own a hand! Let him know that his dreams will not die, because he has you. The dream you support today could be the last memory you have when you ‘sleep’ tomorrow. Now, we all have the chance to define the ‘beauty’ of our sleep tomorrow.

    Kudos, Mr Charles.

  8. Adaka Timothy says:

    This is the more reason why their should be a reform in our educational sector cos thats the bedrock. Nevertheless, we keep stumbling and rising until we get it right. God help us.

  9. Unegbu Chetachi says:

    Attitude is everything,our attitude to who we really are as a people have become so bleached that we are now whiter than d whites.its common thing to hear dis phrase wen someone does something worthwhile”look at him/her,he/she thinks he/she is d only one who can do or achieve dat”.Instead of appreciating n encouraging one another,we use words dat will bring others to their lowest ebb dat they will even become ashame of themselves or show an act of indifference that is totally demeaning.i pray dat we change our attitude n start encouraging eachother’s hardword n honest endeavours rather than b sycophants,because dat wil keep being our bane.

  10. obiora martin says:

    nice write up monsieur solar…i have never been a fan of long articles but i must confess this is quite captivating…keep up d good work bro

  11. Anene Francis says:

    I think several mentality changes resulted in this one of Nigerians aiming at success without recourse to hardwork: e.g> redefinition of success to mean amount of wealth only. > gradual loss of diginity attached to labour etc. When wealth draws public honour without its source being questioned, people quest for it by all means, good or bad. And we know that the easiest ways are almost always the crook ways. With our country with crushing degree of corruption, mostly from the top then to the bottom, such runs unchecked, encouraging drug trafficking, cyber crimes and the likes. Adequate punishment of crimes (no sacred cows) would go a long way in discouraging this development. Foolish as it may sound to many, individual sacrifices are called for for us all to move forward.

    * Joke or no joke, Nollywood is growing o… And even as we are encouraged to patronize Nigerian products, restricting ourselves to them alone is not it na. After all, your phone is not made in Nigeria lol. Na small small.
    * For emphasis, the discussions about football and other sports young people engage in is good in a way because it help to ease the mind in a hard society like ours and keep one from the negative tendencies of idling. It becomes a problem for those that are preoccupied with it, wasting much time and energy that would have been channeled to more productive activities. Moderation is adviced… (Onyeka, you don dey show yourself lol).
    * A very encouraging write up as usual. Keep it up.

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