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NIGERIA DOES NOT HAVE NATIONAL HEROES BUT HEROES IN CLOSET – Sam Omatseye

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… as Dr Abayomi, Adefuye, Agha , Amachree, Shettima, Omenihu and others bag award

The words of Sam Omatseye, Chairman, Editorial Board of the Nation Newspapers that “NIGERIA DOES NOT HAVE NATIONAL HEROES rather WE ONLY HAVE HEROES IN CLOSET at the 2018 Afrikanwatch annual lecture recently has attracted comments from lots of Nigerians.“My view about Nigeria is that heroism has been so flawed, so defective. A man like George Washington is a hero in the United States. When you talk of heroes with characters you talk about heroes that carry with them lots of ideas and consciousness. If we have such heroes, we’ll not have the kind of problems that have enveloped us for years such as Corruption. We have headache heroes. Parents are not really interested in their kids’ education because they feel
“why are they wasting time on education when these militants didn’t go to schools, didn’t spend much time on education and they have mansions and live flashy lives.”
The 2018 Afrikanwatch annual lecture, award, conferment and the unveiling of Afrikanwatch National Memoir titled “Did our founding fathers dream of a united Nigeria?” recently held in Lagos on the 7th of April 2018 has gotten reasonable space on the news platforms because of its originality. The event was chaired by Senator Anthony Adefuye while Dr. Tunji Abayomi, a legal luminary and, the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman, Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State delivered the lecture.

In his opening remark, Senator Adefuye, charged Nigerians to re-unite against forces of evil stressing that our founding fathers are heroes because of their relentless efforts in building a nation. We must sustain the ultimate sacrifice made many years ago by our founding fathers towards a better nation and create the atmosphere where equal rights and justice is accorded to all.
Meanwhile , Dr. Abayomi who delivered the lecture noted that there is need to be worried over the state of the nation. He stressed that building a nation is of course a difficult task. “It is not expected that monumental challenges of social cohesion, economic dislocation, development pain and growth anxieties would not confront the generations that succeeded the originations of Nigeria. But was it expected and could have been intended that Nigeria of their dream would be this troubled by insecurity, suspicion, corruption, under development and low world rating?
But then what manner of Nigeria did the founding fathers create? Did they hear the voice of the people when they established the foundation of the Nigeria Nation? Did they examine the spirit of unity or disunity prevailing at the time? Did they work well on how the nation of their dream would grow rich and avoid uncaring poverty? Did they take a road that they ought not to have taken considering the nature of relationships in the land?
The founding fathers appear to recognize that with the inherent diversity of nationalities, suspicions among ethnic groups in Nigeria, a lose federalism was the best governmental system. The idea of regional government emerged not only from their deep thought on Nigeria but also their hopes for her emergence in peace and good government.
Let us remember once again the words of Tafawa Balewa on July 19, 1959 “since 1914 when he said the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any sign of willingness to unite. Nigeria unity is only a British intention for the country.”
The Pro Chancellor further said that a nation must first have a structure freely negotiated in a binding agreement called a Constitution before restructuring. Presently, Nigeria is nothing but a geographical expression. This is why the spirit of patriotism or nationalism is considerably weaker than that of ethnic allegiance. We can only restructure Nigeria by creating a structured Nigeria through a legitimate Constitution negotiated and made by the people for themselves, a Constitution freely agreed upon by her peoples. The present forced and fraudulent Constitution will never, never bring good government, justice, peace or posterity, not because the words are bad but because it lacks legitimacy criteria of freedom, origin and negotiation.
Highlights of the event was the unveiling of National Memoir titled “ Did our founding fathers dream of a united Nigeria?” a divergent pragmatic compilation of thoughts on Nigeria and award to the following Nigerians: Mr. Dennis Amachree MON, a retired Assistant Director, Department of state security service DSS, was honoured as Afrikanwatch Most distinguished Security expert of the year, Amb. Greg U. Mbadiwe MFR, former Ambassador to Congo received award for Nation building and leadership quality, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, president, Arewa youth consultative forum, Afrikanwatch Most Vocal Personality of the year, Prof. Patrick Egbule, former President, Nigeria Vocational Association ( NVA)-AFrikanwatch researcher and knowledge-inventor of the year, Senator. Anthony Adefuye, Afrikanwatch Philanthropist of the year, Mrs. Joan Agha, Afrikanwatch Most Astute Philanthropist of the year and, Afrikanwatch Maritime Company of the year went to Managing Director/Chief Executive officer, Monica Marine limited.
Others honoured with Afrikanwatch Grand National Patriot (AGNP) were, Sen. Anthony Adefuye, Prof. Gabriel Babawale, Commissioner, Lagos state Independent electoral commission, Rev. Fr. (Prof) Anthony Kanu (OSA), Parish Priest, St. Vincent Catholic church, Olodi Apapa, Mr. Sam Omatseye, Chairman, editorial board of the Nation newspapers, Mr. Alfred Omenihu, Editor-in-chief/Publisher, National Impact Glitz, and Dr. Tunji Abayomi
In a bid to review 2017/2018 AfrikanWatch News Memoir which I consider as compendium of knowledge I founding almost all the research works quite educative and interesting. “DEMOCRACY AND THE LABOIR OF OUR HEROES PAST is the intellectual contribution of Prof. Babawale. According to him the major problem confronting our society today is the character of our political parties. There is a total breakdown of discipline and lack of focus in many of the parties. Nigeria has invested heavily in democratic governance and therefore deserves to obtain returns on its investment. Politics in the first republic (1960 – 66) was concerned more about the delivery of the public good, they observance of the rule of law, participation by the citizens, respect for civil liberties, healthy competition among the nation’s constituent units etc. The result was the arrival of Nigeria as Africa’s leading nation and one of the world’s promising democracies.
THE BRITISH AND TRIPARTITION ACT STRATEGIES: NORTISATION POLICY was a contribution from -Mark Columbus Orgu. In his words “I felt a bit worried for the said ‘One Nigeria’ because there was never a time we were united. The British came and ridiculed our political system, imposed their imperial rule, and made away with our treasures and institutionalized the game of “born to rule in the north” Until this our northern brethren drop this monstrous witchcraft believe and think of fairness and justice, Nigeria will keep living in isolation of peace “Was it not the same British that helped Balewa’s government to reject the 1963 census when the first test of sincerity availed itself for NPC.”? He asked
IF WE HAVE ALLOWED THE BRITISH TO STAY AFTER INDEPENDENCE NIGERIA WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER OFF; SECESSION IS NEVER AN OPTION were the words of SEN. ANTHONY ADEFUYE. “What we need is not secession, but constitutional Amendment State Creation/Local Government Autonomy, State Police. If everybody has his/her own mineral Deposits, nobody will be jealous of the other. And do you know that the major mineral deposits come from the middle belt, iron, crude oil, copper, etc, they are all there. Now, during the confab professionals gave extensive details on these. And I think we should give their recommendations an opportunity.”
HRH IRARON JP, AGNP-His Royal Highness, NLA Iraron Ede Obolo IT, the Okaan-Ama Egwede, the Obolo peoples’ Mother town in Andoni Local Area of Rivers stated thus “With all sincerity of purpose, we have national heroes. Heroes’ are not about perfection, it’s about foundational approach to nation building. In all effort, we have a country that some people have decided not to recognize our forefathers who labored and fought towards laying foundations and these people exist in our history”.
Rev. Fr. Prof. KANU, Ikechukwu Anthony, O.S.A dwelt on “MISSIONARY HEROES AND HEROINES” saying “A hero or heroine is someone who we determine to have demonstrated behaviors and decisions that are ethically and emotionally worthy of our awe. Such persons, therefore, inspire us by their example. They move us emotionally to connect with them at some level. Each time we talk about heroes, the names that immediately come to mind are our national heroes: Herbert Samuel Macaulay (1864-1946), Nnamdi Azikiwe (1904-1996), but we forget that our National heroes are product of the missionary’s self giving like Mary Slessor (1848-1915), Rev fr. Francis Libermann, Cssp, Henry Venn, Samuel Ajaji crowther.”
OUR NATIONALISTS HAD A STRONG PANACHE FOR ONE NIGERIA were the words of -PROF. EGBULE. “The fact remains, that Nigeria had founding fathers with requisite patriotic zeal for the realization of strong united and prosperous Nigeria. In other words, the nationalistic inclinations of these men I would refer to as “Nigeria’s men of vision and honour” They include; Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir,Tafawa Belewa, Ahmadu Bello, Chief Anthony Enahoro and a host of others. This may explain why they fought doggedly, with unity of purpose to achieve independence in 1960 for Nigeria. The trouble after independence was when ethnic cleavages, with religion as the underlining factor started to manifest and the nationalistic basis on which Nigeria was founded became threatened.”
SOUTHERN NIGERIA WAS DIVIDED INTO EAST AND WEST TO THE ADVANTAGE OF NORTHERN NIGERIA- came from Pastor Martins Oluwafemi. “It is beyond debate that the nation call Nigeria, blessed with extraordinary abundance of human and material resources is presently plagued by socio-economic, political, environmental, moral and religious intolerance, as if all hope is lost. Nigeria our Country faces challenges of leadership such as official corruption and indiscipline, comatose security system, educational system bedeviled by high degree of decadence at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.”

BEFORE THE STATE POLICE BILL IS PASSED was the reflection of Dennis Amachree, MON. “For the call for State Police however, the present government or any government in power, simply need to have the political will to start the process and many of the variables will fall in place. As for the big question; if Nigeria is ready for State Police? My answer will be YES, because establishing State Police, or actually restructuring the criminal justice delivery system is a process; and there is no better time to start that process than now.”
REVERSE TO THE DREAM OF OUR FOUNDING FATHERS OR BALKANIZE NIGERIA ALONG GEOPOLITICAL ZONES was the intellectual delivery of Alfred Omenihu fibmn the Editor-in-Chief/ Publisher, National Impact. “Since federalism or regionalism that propelled majority to greater heights collapsed, Crass opportunism and enlightened self interest have given birth to small minds. Exaggerated ‘Big men’ who have led the country to the nadir of reproach. A nation is great when all her citizens make conscious effort to consider and believe in their principles, encourage one another to live out a simple creed. Every progressive and productive country is only a reflection of a working and sustainable systems.”
Finally, the Editor-in-chief of the Afrikanwatch, Mark C. Orgu had expressed satisfaction, saying that the choice of this year’s annual lecture was informed of the diverse believe that our founding fathers were never united in the cause of struggling and fighting for our independence.