Reconciliation Day, Nigeria: Why We Must Forgive Each Other and Build a Nation

The Leaders’ Chatroom | Reconciliation Day, Nigeria | Tuesday, May 8 | 10.00 am | Article by Xonto |

Happy Reconciliation Day, Nigeria!

It’s July 6, Reconciliation Day, Nigeria. The fan fair, excitement and celebrations around the country are amazing and completely out of this world. Accolades pouring in from Presidents and people of countries far and near. Nigeria is now among the developed nations. We export the best agro-products. Imagine, our Naija made cars were being driven in the US and Europe. Other African countries now buy their military hardware from us. Our economy is booming and oil is but a small percentage of our export earnings. Our Police force is regarded as one of the best trained and cultured. They are doing a marvelous job and there is law and order. It’s been years since I last saw a Soldier on our streets, they are helping maintain peace in the world. They are tagged “gallant and brave”.
I just can’t narrate it all but in summary, present a Nigerian passport at any embassy and you will be welcomed with a smile and a handshake. We did it! We are proudly Nigerians now. But, this was not the Nigeria many knew some years ago. No one believed we could get to this prosperous present. Not them, not us; we were doomed.
In the past, politicians were so greedy and depraved; robberies, killings, kidnapping, rape, corruption, drug dealing, scamming…just name a vice of your choice and it will make the headlines in a couple of hours. Nigeria was reeking with all the stenches of evil and death. No roads, no electricity, no pipe-borne water; the police was not your friend and the military found a worthy opponent in the civilian population.

Morally we were bankrupt. Our youths had lost direction, engaging in trivialities; they learnt from the old that hard work was not the lazy or depraved man’s way to success. Everyone wanted quick money; juju priests became religious leaders, girls hunted rich men with charms and sugar daddy kits while the boys duped and stole.
Our schools were busy mills that produced more chaff than grains; teachers and lecturers taught what they didn’t quite understand themselves. Some demanded sex or money from students for grades. Students could hardly explain their reasons for being there. Cultism was a way to stay safe and engaged. Student blog sites showed more pornography than issues related to education, research and invention. Drugs were in vogue and codeine was no longer for people with cough.
Families were daily torn apart as parents struggled to make ends meet, abandoning their children’s upbringing in the process. Marriages now resembled business partnerships. Disagreements easily turned lethal. Communities were at war; regions and ethnic groups hated each other; it was one sect or religious group against the other. Social media was a battleground; insults, abuses and curses were unending like the September rains. We all blamed each other for the rot in our society; for the ruins and dump we call home. Nigeria was the final passage to hell itself. Nigerian was doomed to implode.
Until that very day that God finally heard our decades of prayers. Heaven opened it’s gates and we found forgiveness in our hearts for each other. Somehow we all agreed that hate had yielded no benefit to any of us since our independence. In holding our neighbor down, we stayed down and impoverished ourselves too. We built to destroy in an unending cycle. But that was no more to be. In honor, we decided that is was time to be fair to each other. Past wrongs were erased as we stood and agreed to “build a nation together”. A nation that is now the pride of the entire black race. It happened when a certain honest, just and wise leader came and gave us this day.
Happy Reconciliation Day, Nigeria!

Rewind back to 2018

That is the Nigeria I witnessed in the future. Yes, we got there through honesty, self belief and hard work. A look at how we got here will tell us what we must do to get there. Please, listen to this voice of reason.

How did Nigeria get here?

I am sure a lot of you will expect a journey back to our past and all the associated blames but that is not the purpose here. I won’t narrate, once more how the British created Nigeria as a company or their alleged continual interest in our resources. It is unnecessary to reiterate the alleged manipulation of our first census in order to create the confusion that remains today in our electorate.
A lot of emotions will be stirred up if we recount the coups that killed prominent leaders from different regions of this country and how one of them led to a civil war that starved and killed millions of our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and friends.
I am not about support or deny the narrative that the Igbos and the Hausa/Fulanis hate themselves, that the Igbos are dubious or money lovers, that the Yorubas are treacherous and untrustworthy, that the Hausa/Fulanis kill for no reason, that the Middle-Belt is too complacent or cowardly or that the Niger-Deltans boast of oil and are militants for only selfish reasons.
It will make little sense to list the past and present leaders of this country that have collectively stolen trillions of dollars from our collective wealth. Needless to mention those who own business empires built at the expense of their Nigerian brothers and sisters or how individuals own oil blocks that rightfully belong to the suffering people.
We didn’t get here because of any of the above reasons which we often give. “Nigeria got here because we refused to forgive ourselves of past wrongs and build a nation.” We have denied ourselves (and our children) the most important aspect of our nationhood which is our history. History will continue to repeat itself until we learn from it and before we can genuinely learn how to coexist progressively, we must forgive ourselves.
Let the Igbos forgive the Hausa/Fulanis, the Hausa/Fulanis forgive the Igbos; the Igbos forgive the Yorubas, the Yorubas forgive the Igbos; the Yorubas forgive the Hausa/Fulanis, the Hausa/Fulanis forgive the Yorubas; the Middle-Belt forgive the Hausa/Fulanis and the Hausa/Fulanis forgive the Middle-Belt; the Niger-Deltans forgive the Yorubas and the Yorubas forgive the Niger-Deltan. Let forgiveness reign in all other possible pairings of the ethnic groups in Nigeria. No house divided on itself can stand so until we find togetherness, we will never rise.
Tell me, what is there to lose? We have tried for decades to hate each other and it only brought us collective misery to date. Shouldn’t we try another way? Can’t we look for the good in ourselves? Is it so hard to see that the attributes we so easily generalize are but individual traits and actions? That while one man is dubious, the other is hard-working; one killed while the other saved a life; that man stole public funds but the other empowered the people; one leader was a tyrant but his kinsman was loved by all; one man betrayed but the other was a man of honor; one businessman’s success was from exploiting the people while the other enriched and changed people’s lives for the better. Perspective matters.

Our Journey to that Future

The wrongs have been done. The present generation cannot continue to carry the burden of the past in addition to challenges of the present. Let us forgive one another. Let children forgive on behalf of their parents; the young on behalf of their ancestors. The land needs to heal of our selfishness, hate and blood letting. Let love conquer hate once and for all. Our redemption starts there.
Dear Nigerians, let’s have and celebrate a “Reconciliation Day“. A day dedicated to all who have lost their lives while we refused to forgive ourselves. Let us build this great nation I saw in the future. We can’t let it tarry anymore.
Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.

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1 Comment
  1. freddyheart 11 months ago

    And Amen…. This is one of the best piece I ever read when it comes to harmony that should be in the hearts of the people for a nation to truly grow and be super developed. Thumbs up Xonto….

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