Nigeria is almost certainly the only nation on earth where citizens are ostensibly docile and are daily waiting for God to construct good roads, make electric power supply stable and build world-class healthcare centers for them.
Also, Nigeria is in all probability the only nation where the citizens are not objectively and daily engaging their paid public servants—in order to truly move the nation frontward. In Nigeria, once you begin to ask questions why things are not working as they are working in saner climes, people would start to see you as an enemy of those in power.
The question is; is it possible to objectively criticize the government and be patriotic? The answer is yes. Infact, objective criticism is the only foundation for change and an enduring national progress.
Once you make suffering and backwardness wear the unsightly faces of religion and tribalism, most of our people would lose their corporate and shared-voice. Our politicians know how to play this game and they have been beating the masses to it since 1960.
In recent times, Olusegun Obasanjo said that Nigerians should be patient with the current administration. This is what the ruling elites have been saying since 1960. They keep pushing forward—decency of life—while they are daily smiling to both local and international banks.
If you do not wake up and start holding your leaders accountable within the confines of our constitution, you would wait forever for the day that you would have constant supply of electricity, world-class healthcare services and roads without ‘tribal-marks.’ No nations work productively when the citizens either go to bed or become blind, deaf and dumb.
The reality is; supporting an administration should even be the more reason why you should be daily criticizing it objectively. In Nigeria, when you criticize an administration, you have become the enemy of Mr. President, but when you keep quiet even when you should talk, you are madly in love with the man of integrity from Daura. Kindly understand that when you keep quiet, it is a sure sign that you detest the person in power and if I were President Buhari, I would not allow you to access my inner circle.
You are a citizen, not a subject and you have the right to criticize government without embracing fear as a man would embrace his newly wedded wife.
Nigerians need more access to what the government is doing in their name. And that requires increasing freedom of information and transparency in the corridors of power.
Remember, there is a bright distinction between citizens, who have rights and privileges protected by the State, and subjects, who are under the complete control and authority of the state. Once again, you are a citizen, not a subject!
The government consists of human beings and to err is human. Sometimes the government does things that go against the constitutional, social and moral foundations of the country. Other times, the government’s actions spoil the international image of the country. The government then must be constructively criticized for its various mishandlings. It is utterly patriotic to take a public stand against an administration within the confines of the law of the land.
When you are in power, everyone who is feeding fat on the crumbs that fall from your table will praise you (this happens in every administration) even for every dim-witted mistake you make and this will put an end for you to improve. People in power should always welcome objective criticisms to improve their self. The questions; why break the mirror which shows your ugly face, when you need it to improve?
The only way to a successful government is when all its institutions are open to critics. It is our duty as citizens to question everything that can possibly be questioned. And it is our responsibility to look into matters that involve us and every law, regulation, war, and policy that affects us as a people. Without individual thought, there can be no democracy and to not question our president would make him a dictator. Remember, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism (Thomas Jefferson).”
On the condition that apartheid was to come about in Nigeria, our religious leaders would have told the people that it was God’s will for them. And if late Mandela were to be a Nigerian, we would have told him that he was kicking against God for fighting to liberate his people from an ancient blood-spilling oppression. Some religious leaders are certainly misrepresenting God to the people. The truth is; it is not the will of God for Nigeria to be where she is today. It is not the will of God for our people to be in total darkness. It is not the will of God for our roads to be killing us daily. And it is not the will of God for us to be bald-facedly traveling abroad to be treated medically.
Lastly, as an effect of a nation that isn’t working, our people are daily being sold into slavery. Go to Libya, Egypt and Oman, our people are being sold into slavery in 21st century. What a shame! A few days ago, 26 precious Nigerian ladies were murdered in cold blood and till now, the president of Nigeria is yet to address the whole nation on it. It shows that we do not value human life in Nigeria. When we do not care a hoot for the people, how do we expect them to care for the country? We need to stop treating our people as slaves and start treating them as citizens.