Dear God, I come to you. I want to sincerely pray for Nigeria, my country today. A few months ago I was among them who endured harsh criticism, name calling and fierce opposition as our nation was polarized in the general elections. We were some of them who bought into a new song of CHANGE for our country.
CHANGE we clamoured for, not hope, progress, not even peace and emancipation, or any of the popular slogans of these times. But change, just change! Our message sounded just banal to our traducers. But why did that song of change resonate with me? Why did it resonate with us? I understood it then, as I do now, that it was just what we needed. At such a time. In such a generation. With the kind of experience we have had. We knew that this country is blessed. We knew you, God, had endowed us with goodness in the measure that other countries are envious of.
Yes, Nigeria did not need to shout for hope. We ought to be making progress. Our peace could have been assured. But these were not to be. Rather, we were prostrated as a nation because of the way people, especially those saddled with leadership in our country, did things. Our hope became still born at the pyre of endemic corruption. Our progress stultified on the altar of nepotism. Our peace billows into the air due to the severity of economic afflictions with its spawns of criminalities.
At such a time, we knew that Nigeria only needed one thing: a change in the way we did things. We knew that we must stop ourselves from self-destruction. And in Buhari many of us thought we found that man who could drive this train and change the direction we were headed. And to him we gave support. We went to the media, social media, into the streets, and carried this message. We into our homes, churches and mosques and prayed that Buhari should win that election.
It was not an easy battle; a six week delay did not help matters. But in the end, the result showed that many believed in this message. You, God, helped us, You helped Nigeria. It went well, and Buhari took hold of the mandate of the Nigerian people.
And as the final days of the incumbent government was winding down, temperament was tempted to flay again because of fuel scarcity. Nigerians grit their teeth, even took strides in mirth; and did not even protest on the streets simply because they believed that only few more days and WIND OF CHANGE would blow over the nation. It was such a firm faith, that no one wanted to do anything to truncate this change we all now hoped for. And how wonderfully we thank You, Almighty God, for giving us this day. We never knew it would come; but here it is and we ask You to take glory.
But dear father, this change we clamoured for, I do not see this day as a day we have achieved it. This day is just a flag off. I am human; I wish I could tell where this change will end us. But I don’t know, I can’t know. And that is why I am praying unto You. My heart is in palpitation because from today, the 29th day of May, 2015, Nigeria cannot afford one further step unto perdition. This day looks to me to be the last straw. And I know You, God, understand the reasons for my fear.
By this time four years ago we were hoisting a flag which its SLOGAN was FRESH AIR. The campaign then was also frenzied. Young men and women who believed went out to the streets, stood in the sun and under the rain. We believed in someone then. And four years after, many of us understood that somehow we were wrong. As the FRESH AIR government winds up, many of us who supported it are even ashamed to identify that we ever did. Because we have little to prove that it had been a good decision to give that support. Four years down the line, with averagely the best regime of income earning for Nigeria, all the indices of development are on the negative and spiralling down. These four years only managed to produce another set of very rich, powerful individuals and the rest of the masses are greatly impoverished.
Now, there is nothing to gloat about that a government so trusted failed her citizens so much. Rather, recalling this is one of the reasons that moved me unto this prayer. It made me recognise that the change we clamoured for stood chances of not being realized, because in all things, man is still man and has weaknesses. So therefore, God, come now to the aid of Nigeria. Through Buhari, seize this nation and let it wheel back from this direction of sadness, despair and anger. O precious father, give us a new Nigeria.
Oh, God give us a new Nigeria where leaders love the nation and care for her than themselves and their personal interests, families and cronies. Give us a new Nigeria where leaders always ask for what is the best interest of the last man in Ajegunle and not the best man in Asokoro. Oh, God that is the Nigeria I want from today.
Give us a Nigeria where electricity comes on at the touch of the switch, and every household has access to it. Father, it is possible elsewhere which Nigeria is better than, so even in Nigeria it shall be possible from this day, and it is that Nigeria I want, Oh Lord.
Heavenly father, some other nations we are better endowed are where Nigerian youths are fleeing to just to survive. They are often frustrated there, because no nation offers the best opportunity to foreigners. And frustration drives them to crime. In Indonesia Nigerians are being shot and hanged—Indonesia of all places. In Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, young Nigerians are daily facing the stigma of a crime-ascribed nation. We are a religious nation; I do not believe that we lost so much of the tenets of our faith. It is only the frustration our system imposed on the youths that drive many of them to crime; when decent jobs were not affordable in our country. What do I say then of the thousands perishing in the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea just to get to Europe. Or our sisters who after graduating from higher institutions took to prostituting their body in Italy just to make ends meet. The list of the products of our frustration is endless. That is why we ask You, glorious father, to give us a new Nigeria; one which her children who ran away will queue to return home and not one her children who are at home are daily sleeping at embassy gates because they are running away.
Lord a new Nigeria is possible. Where everyone will be inclined to do what is right. And life will become good again. Roads will be paved, railways and subways commissioned and running. And people’s lives are made easy.
A new Nigeria is possible where Research and Development becomes onus and we stop lagging behind, but join the world in innovating new technologies and lead the lines in self-sustenance. Our top scientists and researchers will return home to take jobs and knowing that their labour will not be unrecognised. Give us this Nigeria, Oh Lord.
Give us a Nigeria that her children will no longer have to fly 48 hours to seek medical help abroad, but one where the best hospitals will be available here, and people of other countries come to seek medical help. This Nigeria is possible, give it to us.
Lord, as I write this, a lot of the people who won seats at various levels in the last general election, and will be part of this new leadership, are yet to come to terms that change is here. They are going there to continue life as it used to be. A lot of people in ministries and agencies of government do not understand that things are meant to change. They hope to return to office tomorrow and continue their stealing spree. A lot of contractors who collude with the pen-robbers to rob Nigeria dry are not thinking that change is come. To them, life continues as usual. Oh, God from this day we ask for a change of heart. And where men are stubborn and persist in this evil, give our new president the courage to grab these people and mete out to them according to the laws of our nation.
God, I know I have asked for too much. But I speak as I feel it in my heart. In these next four years, grant Nigeria prosperity. Let her children be proud again wherever they are in the world. Give our leavers a new vision and new mind. Let us all shine forth again so that at the end of these years, even those who do not support now will have reasons to say; what a government! All these I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Izuchukwu Okeke is studying for Master in mass Communication at the Pukyong National University, Busan South Korea.