Suleiman Muhammad Odapu

Obama’s visit to Ghana was the front burner of discuss especially in the media and one would be forgiven to conclude that Ghana would be the eighth wonder of the world. Weeks after the visit, I phoned a Ghanaian friend to enquire after the post Obama Ghana. Guess what? It is still the same Ghana.

Many a Nigerians felt our country has lost a lot for not hosting the President of the United States then came what others may see as compensation, the visit of the US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton. If Ghana got diamond for Obama’s visit, hers to Nigeria should give us gold. However, Ghana never saw diamond and so we too saw nothing.

The comments by Mrs. Clinton and the reply by some Nigerians led by the President of the Senate, Sen. David Mark has again brought the question of patriotism to fore. It has also generated aftermath commentaries. Hillary made her point, it is not wrong if Sen. David Mark or Alh. Balarabe Musa or anyone else replies her.

Patriotism is not loyalty to leaders, ruling parties or public officers and I think the respected Balarabe Musa knows this well thus his response to Clinton. Mark’s comments is patriotism and not necessarily because he heads the red chambers.
Nigeria must not fall; it is only when we realize that our problems as well as solutions are at home and patriotism is the tonic for national development.

I was not there when Clinton made her remarks on Nigeria, neither was I at the Airport when the President of the Senate gave his reply, me, like many, relied on what was reported.

According to media reports, Clinton blamed our woes to leadership problems including our electoral laws, adding, “You (Nigerians) are the ones with the opportunity and responsibility” while Sen. Mark maintains that we are a sovereign state and be allowed to decide what form of government to practice. Our problems are not with our laws, Mark added. If you ask me, it is the same point. Why then the furor about the latter’s’ point?

It is a fact that all is not well here, but tell me of where all is well and I will tell you of a dead living man. What is Mrs. Clinton’s deal? America’s stance many a times reminds me of the saying that when the sympathizer mourns more than the bereaved, it surely raises an eyebrow. it is time we woke up and see reason in Mark’s reply and view it as patriotism, let us raise our eyebrow to America’s seemingly “love” for us. After all, it takes two to tangle in a corruption, if Nigerians are corrupt, America provides the accomplice. It is the case of the pot calling the kettle black.

For God sake, what is wrong in reminding those (Americans) who missed to colonize us (off course USA was nowhere during the scramble and partition of Africa) that we are a sovereign nation. Her visit and comments is but neo colonialism and not an avenue for us to do politics or settle scores, as some faceless paid people are doing by attacking the person of David Mark.

There are times that a people rise up to their challenges, wrangle within, unite against a common foe and forge ahead. This is the time. Equally are times we dismiss charlatans who use pen names castigating individuals and undermining our national sovereignty. This is what The Palladium column of The Nation Newspaper, 16th August 2009 deserves.

We cannot forget so soon the controversial Florida election result, which brought in former President George Bush to power. Did Americans shout to the outside world? We all know that we need to change for good and we know very well of the dictum that he who preaches justice must come with clean hands. Why are these faceless persons calling the dog a bad name in order to hang it.

Me thinks that such writers should go beyond personalsing national issues or finding fault were there is none; in issues like this, charlattans who parades themselves as pundits should at least discuss ideas not individuals.

Of course there are some best practices from the US, we could study and fine-tune, just as they too can study from us. Not all that is from abroad is gold. The Late comedian, Afolabi (Jagwa) once said “wetin you de go find for Sokoto, nayi de for your Shokoto) what you want to go and search in far away in Sokoto is readily available in your shokoto (pocket)” Like Sen. Mark told reporters at the Airport, our problems and solutions are within.

Odapu is of the Office of the Special Adviser, Political and Governmental Matters to the President of the Senate.