Wednesday, 18 May, 2022


A New Nigerian ?

Is a New Nigeria Possible?

“Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, But They Were Laying Bricks Every Hour” -John Heywood, an English playwright. The same John Heywood, to whom other popular sayings, including but not limited to the following have been attributed: “Out of sight out of mind”; “Better late than never”; “The more the merrier”; “Many hands make light work”.
Definition of Concepts –
“New” is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “different from one that existed earlier”.  we shall limit myself to the definition above. 
Who then is a Nigerian?  You may wish to read the clear and unambiguous provisions of sections 25-32 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) in extenso, for a better and fuller appreciation of how the Nigerian citizenship may be acquired,  conferred (by marriage and naturalization), relinquished or lost. 
At a very early stage in my life, I came in contact with the words “The American Dream” and I became curious and fascinated at the same time. I sought knowledge, as usual. I wanted to know what those words meant and my “cursory” research produced the next quote “The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American Dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance.” Source: Investopedia. 

Great People Great Nation

Following the above discovery, I became even more curious, and I sought to know -“what is the Nigerian Dream?” My intentional and specific inquisitiveness led me into another research which provided no result. In any event, I consoled myself with the following words -“must we copy America'” all the time? However, I remembered that an anonymous quote -“success is not accidental, it is intentional. Do something intentional every day to create the success you want and deserve.” What an antithesis! Having firmly come to terms with the fact that success is intentional, and not accidental, I dare submit that the reasons for the failings of my dear nation may not be far-fetched and I shall attempt to enumerate and discuss some of them in few lines, using the American Dream as a case study. Disregard the pockets of recent incidents that took place in America, it still remains a great nation. 
May I now ask:
In Nigeria, do we still share the sentiments that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success? I doubt.
Is Nigeria a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone? I doubt.
As leaders or “the led”, do we sacrifice enough, take risks, and work hard, rather than by chance? I have deliberately adopted the American Dream model because of the popular quote -“never change a winning game; always change a losing one -Bill Tilden”.
Permit me to break down the American Dream and attempt to draw a comparison between the same and the current state of “The Nigerian Dream”. 
For a New Nigerian thinker different from one that existed earlier” to be realised, we must consciously cultivate or reawaken the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone.
Further, the New Nigerian thinker who surfaces different from those docile, stigmatised and bastardised by failed leadership and more, must go a subtle through sacrifice, of risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance, and they must be ready to cultivate, maintain and sustain “The Nigerian Dream”. 

How may the “New Nigerian” as an individual cultivate, maintain and sustain “The Nigerian Dream”? 
1. By being intentional in our approach. 

2. By painstakingly and deliberately choosing role models and mentors in areas of interests and human endeavours.

3. By being positive and seeing the good in Nigeria. 

4. By deliberately getting involved in nation-building tasks.

5. By shunning criminality.

6. By thinking more of what we can offer the nation; rather than what the nation can give us. This is hard, but we must try hard. 

7. By deliberately investing in the future of our nation, rather than leaving everything to chance. 

Flowing from the foregoing, once “The Nigerian Dream” is birthed, maintained, and sustained, rest assured that our dear nation would be populated more by women, girls, men, and boys who are “different from one that existed earlier” -“The New Nigerians!”

The New Nigerian ?  written by Olakunle Fapohunda and published with permission.

2 comments on “A New Nigerian ?

Olakunle Tayo Fapohunda

We can build a New Nigeria, yes, I believe!

Felix Obinna

Respectfully speaking, I thank you for this indepth and we’ll researched exposition of the though wishfully utopian but realistically achievable Nigerian dream.

Accordingly I most humbly recommend your kind thoughts and aspirations beautifully encapsulated in this expose to all well meaning and truly patrotic Nigerians.

Finally I sense and hopefully envisage an eternal documentation of your wise postulations in a future book.

I thank you and I wish you exceedingly well.



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