“A Time to Save our Fatherland”: A Priest Writes to Nigerians in Diaspora

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Fr George Adimike

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a good morning here and may it be so for you in peace and wellness!

It is a great delight to respond to the inspiration to drop a few lines of thought with you, my compatriots. In the spirit of gratitude, we remember our roots and thank God for giving us the land that identifies us in this earthly sojourn and pilgrimage. Successive years and centuries have been filled with clear evidence, testimonies and marvels of God, whose mercies have been beyond measure.

Yet, also, they have offered you many uncountable reasons to curse and abuse the hell out of your birthday and existence. These years have gifted many with the wine of sorrows and champagne of heartbreaks. Notwithstanding these experiences, a corporate thanksgiving, in which our voices echo with grace and gratitude, is the most fitting response. Indeed, we thank God infinitely for our lives. True thanksgiving produces thanks-living. In other words, gratitude breeds a life of beatitude and distinguishes excellent personalities. I heartily responded to the inspiration to write this letter for the value it represents and promises and the opportunity it affords me to share my thoughts about the situation at home.

The remarkable resourcefulness and profound spiritual and human gifts of our people resonate with greatness and serve as a wellspring of inspiration. As I celebrate our rich heritage, it prompts me to contemplate our fatherland and the numerous squandered opportunities. The immense potential for greatness instills in me a deep resolve to make this appeal on behalf of our beloved country.

We may feel secure and at peace in our own places of residence, often in lands of freedom and opportunity, but the same cannot be said for our fatherland. Every day, we are inundated with disturbing images and heart-wrenching stories of violence, killings, and destruction of property. Business prospects are clouded by uncertainty, and the institutions that should uphold civil society are operating at their lowest capacity. The powerful feed fat on the commonwealth and exploit the misfortune of others.This cycle of destruction began with the neglect and deterioration of and outright refusal to strengthen these institutions, further worsening the lack of opportunities in Nigeria. However, the path ahead involves harnessing positive energies and investing them in shaping our envisioned future. It all begins with faith—faith in our fatherland and its potential for a great future. Only through this faith can we construct a future driven by hope.

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Without a doubt, the path to living hope and national recovery hinges on the establishment of justice and fairness, government accountability, capital injection, increased opportunities, support for wealth creation institutions, the rule of law, and social coexistence. At our level, we must acknowledge that poverty is a complex structural issue, often stemming from corruption and a lack of access to capital. The resources squandered in consumerist societies, where life revolves around comfort, consumption, and possession, could significantly contribute to revitalizing our homeland, Nigeria. We must not settle for less when there is an expectation of more from us. While we may enjoy the benefits of these affluent societies, we must not neglect our role as contributors to development at home. The impact of our efforts to save our fatherland should be a measure of the value of our lives.

From the limited prism of my perspective, the lives of many Diaspora Nigerians in all your ramifications are deployed to creating a free, just and prosperous society for all. You are committing yourselves to an ongoing self-gift for the common good. You outstandingly create value and generate wealth, and I wish you success as I felicitate you all.

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Yet, it’s time for all of us to come together and save our fatherland. I am often reminded of the French saying “noblesse oblige,” which means that nobility imposes obligations (nobility obliges). Our achievements have placed us in a position of influence and responsibility, and it is important for us to deeply consider this. We should constantly keep our fatherland in mind in our daily pursuits. It’s not enough to just have wishes and dreams for our country; we need to translate them into concrete plans and actions that will bring about transformation. Nigeria is calling on us to free her from the grasp of those who harm her. The current state of our nation serves as a stark example of how the seven social sins, as listed by Mahatma Gandhi, can wreak havoc on a society. It’s up to each of us to contribute to the rescue of our homeland. To truly grasp this message, let’s reflect on Gandhi’s seven social sins: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Business without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, and Politics without principle.

These social sins are emblems of the decay of our dear homeland, and this letter is a cry for help to encourage us to think and remember home. Let us not enjoy the good life in our countries of residence and abandon our fatherland to ruin. Remember our brothers and sisters back home and not neglect our responsibilities as a privileged few. Therefore, I encourage us to rebuild and recreate a home that is truly one. I know that we can. In our ways, together with the potential of our fatherland, we can create a better place, a paradise for the current and future generations to come. We can, and we should. Our home can be more.

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I completely agree with Edmund Burke’s assertion that evil prevails when good people do nothing. Although it may seem like we are powerless in the face of the destructive forces threatening our homeland, we are not. It’s tempting to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is fine, or that we can’t make a difference. However, instead of succumbing to the darkness or bemoaning it, we can choose to light a candle. We can invest in our own communities, support local initiatives, work for the reality of Diaspora voting and active participation in the electoral process, provide assistance to struggling start-ups through microcredit schemes, and advocate for value reorientation, particularly within the political sphere. By holding the government accountable and investing in charitable causes at home, we can all contribute to changing the narrative and move away from the worship of money. It will take the efforts of good citizens to bring about this collective change and save our fatherland.

The Greek classification of the inhabitants of society has three distinct categories. First, there are the “idiots,” who are self-centered individuals focused solely on their own interests. The second group comprises the “tribespeople,” who prioritize the welfare of their core group above all else. Finally, there are the “citizens,” who are the driving force behind civilization and work for the betterment of society as a whole. Let’s be good citizens of Nigeria, even in the diaspora.

Thank you for your attention, and best wishes, compatriots.

Reverend Father George Adimike, PhD.

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