As Nigeria celebrates her 50th anniversary and citizens in high spirit of jubilation, a lot of writers and authors have expressed their sense of patriotism by documenting remarkable achievements of the country and the efforts of her past heroes. One notable contribution is the publication of a book entitled “My country my home” by Joseph Enemona Ameh a legal practitioner.
The author in his introductory remarks stated that he decided to release the work as part of his contribution to promote the brand Nigeria and challenged everyone who reads the book to take reflective action in order to make a positive difference in Nigeria.
The book is divided into sections: There is a section consisting of selected poems covering issues of economic, political, social, cultural dimensions of the country. There is also a section devoted to biographies of our past and present national leaders. The author provides lucid description of Nigeria. However, he was silence on the latitude and longitude on which Nigeria lies in the Mediterranean. Likewise, besides giving account of our major cultural values, the author emphasizes on the material culture.
The book restates the obvious about a nation so endowed with abundant natural resources to achieve greatness in growth and development but country still lags behind in comparison with other developing nation. It touches on the importance of the Coat of Arms, National Anthem, the Nation Pledge, and the National Currencies. There are also humorous poems, though scary but point to the current position of the country. The author writes that “many are tired, some crippled. Other stranded, most grounded. Yet a few landed. Mother Nation, you remain”.
As youths are generally known as the nation builders and leaders of tomorrow, the author advises them to consider time management if they want to succeed and attain the position of leadership from which the nation can largely benefit. This is further illustrated in his youthful poetic inspiration on page 34 where he writes that “do remember: Yesterday is cancelled cheque, tomorrow is promissory note, today is cash at hand”.
From the economic perspectives, he traces the origin of the challenges in the nation’s banking system to the draconian directive for deposit of N25billion capital based for commercial banks in 2005. This according to the author gave rise to malpractices in the banking and by extension to financial sector.
Apart from the biographies of our nation’s founding fathers introduced by him in section two of the book, the author poetically remembered the great contributions of our national founding fathers and states in page 41 “Oh! The past Glory, Oh! The rubber farms, Oh! The palm tree plantations, Oh! Cocoa export, Oh! The groundnut pyramid, Oh! The free education, Oh! I only heard it told” The struggles which have been jeopardized by greediness and selfishness. One can guess as this would have led to the author’s poetic questions in page 49 as “Where are the tax monies? Where are our unspent budgets? Why are the roads pot hole ridden? Who will patch these death traps? And give men a lease of life”. He acknowledged the struggle and the assassination of the late Ken Saro Wiwa in the cause of development of Ogoni as well as that of the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua who promulgated amnesty program for the Niger Delta region; thereby making the dream of the late Saro Wiwa to come true.
As the standard of our educational sector declines, the author advises students to help the nation and proffer solutions to such through their focus and hard work in educational pursuits. He critics the so-called zoning selection to Nigeria top official positions; as we are one people from common foundation. However, in attempt to eulogize our past heroes for their amiable struggles toward the national development, the author dedicates a page to the biography of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe where he wrongly referred to him as “Mr.” This is followed by that of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa whose biography occupies not up to half a page in the book. The biographies of others national heroes and founding fathers who have contributed enormously to the development of this nation are missing in the book. These include those of the Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello; Chief Obafemi Awolowo; Chief Ladoke Akintola. This he attributed to lacking relevant materials.
While describing the military rules in Nigeria, he gave favourable accounts of the Eastern rulers and the other sides of Northern ones; which reflect ineffective and biased historical culture. He is a little bit carried away by the ruling of the past military administrators and forgot to address other vital issues currently relating to Nigeria; as the present patriotic Nigerians are no longer interested in the unjust ruling of the past, but seeing things from new prospects, perspectives and recommendations. Also, at the introductory part of the book, the author forgot to acknowledge Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi who designed the National Flag.
In conclusion, looking at the effort, vision and constraints of poor documentation by Nigeria, I will applaud this author’s attempt at documenting Nigeria’s achievements within the last 50 years.