By Balogun Omeiza David (BOD) Media Aide to the DG Government House, Lokoja.
Talking about patriotism, it refers to a person who loves and zealously supports and defends their country. It is however hard for many people to exhibit this civic responsibility among others but the man named Oricha is not not one that will for any reason point a left hand to his fatherland, Nigeria.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria participated in the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and could not bring the trophy home as they lost to Cote D’Ivoire, the host nation. The expectation of many Nigerians was that the Super Eagles will win fly the trophy into the shores of Nigeria but the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire showed us and the entire world that the strength of the elephant on the ground is not to be equated to that of the eagle whose strength resides in the air.
In preparation for the final match at AFCON, Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu sent for the white jersey of the Super Eagles of Nigeria for himself and others in readiness to celebrate the winning of the trophy. Howbeit, he was also aware that two things will be involved. It is either they lose or coast to victory. The former happened to be the case at the end of the day but that did not deter this astute administrator from wearing the Super Eagles jersey to the office on Monday 13th February, 2024.
I did ask him why he wore the Super Eagles jersey to the office despite our loss to the Ivoriens and his reply shocked me to my bones and marrows. I will make his reply dramatic thus:
Oricha: BOD, do you know one female reggae musician from Nigeria known as Evi Edna Ogholi?
BOD: Yes sir. I know her very well. She is of blessed memory sir.
Oricha: (picking his biro and fixed it in his index fingers) Do you know any of her songs?
BOD: (racking his brain with a of on his head) Yes sir, I do.
Oricha: Which of her songs do you know?
BOD: (with the sound of reggae already beating in his head) I know the one she sang about Birthday celebration (Wuye, I wish you happy birthday) and the one also about Jealousy (Jealousy (3x) is the root of hatred.
Oricha: (laughing heartily and dropping his biro on his wide office table) You are correct but I want us to dwell on album she waxed talking about: There is no place like home, Oh sweet home…
BOD: (eyes beaming with excitement) Yes Adayi, I know that one too sir.
Oricha: I want you and others to know that there is no place like home and Nigeria is that home. The author of the no el known as Second Class Citizen knows that even if one is privileged to travel abroad such a person will only maintain a second class citizens status. Nigeria is our home and we must always be patriotic enough her whether in victory or in defeat. Aside sports, we as citizens do have our expectations about this country and that is why we all need to have our hands on deck to see that the Nigeria we hoped for will one day become a reality in our very eyes. So BOD, if I do not wear this jersey of the Super Eagles to support them as runners up at the just concluded African football mundial will you say I am patriotic?
BOD: (nodding his head like an agama lizard with a filled up belly after eating much ants) I do understand sir. Thanks so much for lecturing me on the aspect of patriotism.
Are you not happy I shared this with you? Let us strive to be patriotic. Respect the national anthem whenever it is sang. Help to protect public property. Our legal tender should be handled tenderly. Pay your taxes. Maintain law and order. There are many more. Do them. Do not conclude that Nigeria is already doomed for life. Play your part as we continue to hope for a better Nigeria.
Photo Credits: Josh D Vibe (Official Photographer of the DG Government House Administration, Lokoja).