The necessary pride for Nigeria’s redemption

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national pride

Guns are powerful instruments that can be used for different purposes. Using guns, people can hunt to feed their families, protect their families from attacks or oppress other people. Guns are neither moral nor immoral, responsible nor irresponsible. It is human beings that are judged moral or immoral, responsible or irresponsible depending on how they use guns. Hence, three different people holding similar guns can be classified differently as great hunter, brave solider and heartless terrorist. Like guns, pride is a powerful gift to humanity, and every human being has pride, albeit different kinds and levels. It is how we use our different kinds and levels of pride that qualify our wisdom or foolishness, morality or immorality.

 

The word ‘pride’ has often been used in negative senses that some people automatically associate it with negativity. So, you hear general statements like pride comes before a fall, pride blocks good luck and spoils relationship. Yet, the same people use it to refer to their positive emotions. I am proud of my son, of my God, team, achievement, direction, country, tribe, family or other things. This confusion necessitates an evaluation and distinction among possible forms of pride and their roles in the society. Primarily, pride is the feeling of satisfaction you get when you or people connected to you have done something well, or own something that other people admire.[1] Pride can be used in several ways, but this article explains three ways and implications of using pride:

 

  • Pride as appreciation: is the joy and gratitude for doing or having something that other people admire. It is an acknowledgement that humans are weak, but can rise to various heights with some help from people or factors. It manifests in appreciating the direct and indirect sources and contributors to your admirable actions, qualities or possessions of pride. For instance, during award ceremonies, like Ballon D’or, some award recipients publicly appreciate their coaches, teammates, opponents, family, God and other sources they believe contributed to their success. In appreciating even their rivals, they acknowledge that rivals can challenge us to work harder than we would normally do.

 

Social effects of pride as appreciation include:

  • It makes the individual feel indebted and responsible for the society and people.
  • It encourages the individual improve and contribute to sustaining the society.
  • It reduces the effect and amount of envy that could rise in other people.
  • Being proud of someone motivates the person to grow higher and become better.

 

  • Pride as defence: is a situation of setting high standards for social conducts in living or relating with the society. It acknowledges that humans have their different life-purposes, messages or destinies that can be blocked by dishonourable actions. These could be life-messages about honour, integrity, independence, productivity or morality. So, pride as defence begins from understanding yourself, your background, life-purpose and the behavioural threats to your purpose or message. For instance, Mance Raider chose to be killed than betraying his people’s value for freedom. Even in need, some people would refuse gifts, bribes or favours that could discourage them from speaking truth or advancing their purpose. They get reluctant to accept free gifts to avoid future insult, shame, guilt or criminal complicity. Because they are proud of their heritage, goal, history or background, they choose to work harder and endure silently.

 

Social effects of pride as defence include:

  • It bars people from compromising their standards for social justice and values despite the tempting offers or scary threats.
  • It enables people to endure through difficulties, challenges, pains, trials and tribulations.
  • It motivates people to work hard in order to preserve honourable histories and traditions, instead of being lazy or cowardly.
  • It motivates other people to find the meaning and purpose of their lives.
  • This type of pride holds that nothing is free. Slave labour is not free, it was forcefully taken from them. Free food, free education, free healthcare, free infrastructure and amenities are not free; they are taken from someone’s exploited labour, seized resources or given to you as indirect loans. Loans you must pay back to the person, family or society that has made it possible. Pride as defence enables you reject offers and options that compromise your ideals, and it motivates you to work and earn a dignified life.

 

  • Pride as oppression (arrogance): is wishing to exalt yourself over other people, or to belittle other people with your possession or achievement. Pride as oppression manifests itself as supremacist mentality that constantly seeks justification for being better than others. It begins from believing that your happiness depends on having more socially recognized possessions or achievements than other people. Arrogant people seek to directly or indirectly intimidate and emotionally oppress others by flaunting their possessions or achievements. To appear stronger, they deny or diminish other factors or people’s contributions to their success. Even when they are not the best, they seek consolation in overtaking some people or attacking other people’s achievements. So, instead of congratulating other people’s achievements, they become bitter and begin finding faults.

 

Social effects of pride as oppression or arrogance

  • It makes you envious when you do not get the best position, instead of appreciating yours.
  • It places too much pressure on you that you forget or sacrifice your life’s purpose just to appear better than others.
  • Your bragging angers your opponents and other people in the society, and creates a bitter enmity that can bring violence and obstruction of social progress.
  • In the eagerness to get attention, praise and bragging rights, people are eager to cheat, lie or commit different crimes.
  • Out of jealousy and envy, people devote their energies to obstructing other people’s success.

 

Which type of pride is prevalent in Nigeria? – Arrogance

Colonialists created Nigeria by violently binding different unconsented kingdoms and communities[2][3] under a militarized rule for seizing and exploiting their resources.[4][5] After independence, the colonially trained administrators continue exploiting people’s resources for colonialists, and then importing and sharing few goods and services as justification. In seizing the resources people could have used for production, the brutally-merged people now struggle to get more share from the imported goods and services. Instead of reorganizing the system for people productivity, Nigerians wait for government to share resource-money so we brag about who got more and how they spent it.

 

Hence, the prevalent type of pride in Nigeria is arrogance, which manifests in funny mantras like Igbo amaka, Yoruba amaka, etc. These intertribal brags follow manifestations of domestic social mediocrity like building few shiny infrastructure, or international individual excellence in technology, academics or politics. People brag about simple streetlights and culverts from public officials, or their tribesman’s academic, political or technological record abroad. With this arrogant disposition, different ethnic groups continuously seek reasons to justify their superiority over others, or their ability to frustrate other groups’ success. This toxic petty rivalry distracts the different ethnic groups from the bigger anti-colonial picture of retrieving their resources for productivity, internal trade and pride.

 

Which type of pride is necessary for Nigeria’s growth? – Pride as defence

Before colonialism, the different kingdoms and communities in the present-day Nigeria had proud histories of productivity, trade and values. They had cultural values of hard work, integrity, hospitality, independence, respect, justice and creativity, manifested in their crafts, sculptures and proverbs. However, the colonially-imposed form of Nigerian governance is gradually robbing off these histories and values from formerly great kingdoms and communities. They seem to be quickly adjusting to the forms of mental dependence, unproductivity, conformism and weakness that came with colonialism.

 

The major resource upon which Nigerian government depends for funding is crude oil from the Niger-Delta. Using the imposed constitution, Nigerian government auctions seized oil from Niger-Delta, and shares the proceeds as it wishes. So, other Nigerian groups do not have to produce or trade anything with Niger Delta to earn oil proceeds and amenities. They just have to support the colonially-imposed form of robbery (democracy) to claim joint-ownership of “awa-oyeel”, and to demand free amenities. This is the mind-weakening, shameful and colonially-imposed system for robbing Peter to please Paul and other supporting apostles, including Judas.

 

In conclusion, the different ethnic communities in Nigeria have not always been weak and mentally dependent. They still have brave people of integrity who value their histories of dignified productivity over ‘free’ crumbs used as bait to support legalized armed robbery. These brave people from the different kingdoms and communities will eventually motivate their natives to retrieve rights to their own resources for local productivity and dignified trade. With their dignified productivity, they will be able to solve problems, trade and earn their dignified living. Instead of continuously depending and begging government, aid agencies and foreigners for basic needs like food, shelter and healthcare.

 

Finally, for a progressive Nigeria, the different kingdoms and communities need pride as appreciation.

 

[1] Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, International Student’s Edition, New 8th Edition, S.V. Pride

[2] S. O. Oyedele, “Federalism in Nigeria” in Issues contemporary political economy of Nigeria (edited) Hassan A. Saliu, op.cit, p.57

[3] cf. Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. (New York: Public Affairs, 2010). p.3-4

[4] Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, 2009 edition (Abuja: Panaf publishing Inc. 2009), p.273

[5] C. C. Dibie, Essential Government (Lagos: Tonad Publishers, 2012), p.137