By Tade Oshaloto.
In trying to help my younger friends overcome negative thoughts and feelings about their country, I would often point out to them that Nigeria has a mysterious way of hiding progress and development in plain sight. From notices of credible job openings to pockets of infrastructures and innovative solutions, you would think nothing great ever takes place until you take a pause, put on your garments of gratitude, humility and love and loyalty for country.
It is amazing, for instance, how the wave of violent attacks, going by media reports at least, has calmed significantly BUT almost completely unnoticed. The human mind, despite its enormous powers, is very tricky and sometimes unreliable. It very easily takes good things for granted. This is why as citizens we all must calm down and re-educate our minds and eyes on what is truly on ground and not what the mind feels comfortable to think about.
Last Friday, accompanied by Hassan and Kayode, I did some mountain climbing at Igbaruku. We reached 954 metres above sea level. While Kayode who holds a BSc in geography explained many things to me about our earth, I took the opportunity to share with them some useful insights about our world. Incidentally the primary school I attended sits at foot of the hill. I took them through my childhood there and the lessons I learnt from the sacrifices of our teachers.
954m a.s.l afforded us a panoramic view of the city that Igbaruku has become within a very short time. It helped us appreciate the beauty and expansion that have dawned on a community that anyone would easily call poor if you give your ears to pessimism.
New structures, more trees, fabulous weather and all that. The community quietly doubled its size in less than ten years. No breaking news, no nothing! I may as well guess that more young people from the community have furthered their education in the last 15 years than since the community was founded. Possibly, more have been to other countries of the world either for business, education, ministrations or just on vacation within the same period than in all the years preceding.
I may also add that more food menus have been added to many homes in the past few years than we thought possible when we were growing up. What about home utensils or water sources? Our lots have indeed changed. It is these little changes that I feel something is preventing us from spotting let alone acknowledging, leaving us bitterer and unthankful each day.
To live a healthier, fuller life, we must rescue our senses from the grip of evil realities, follow and even hunt for good news and good things.
Yes, I know you already know that ”wàhálà no de finish”, but it is time to know better. It is time to agree that our land is filled with milk and honey. It is time to consciously befriend the good of the land. Oya, say after me: Oluwa, great things are happening, give me my own.
– Oshaloto Tade is a researcher, PR practitioner, development media expert. He is Senior Special Assistant on Grassroots Sensitization to the Governor of Kogi State.