Imagine how beautiful Nigeria would be if everyone works and earns his words before he can speak the way a worker earns before spending. And immediately we speak, we get the reward whether good or bad. Put differently, what if speech is not a natural ability and free, but something bought in the market according to our different purchasing power?
Would we waste it on curses and insults? Would we convert it to hate speech? Would we use it to blaspheme? Would we use it for gossip? Would we use it for destructive criticism? No! We will speak only when necessary and after a long reflection on the effects.
However, the reality is that, speech is a free gift and an inalienable right of every man. It is the most significant creative (and destructive too) force in the world since creation. No one can deny that spoken and written words have power. Things happen when certain words are either spoken or written. Both curses and blessings take effect when pronounced either immediately or later. By this, it is apparent that there are always two opposing forces, negative and positive, keen to bring to reality spoken words.
I believe you reading this can remember some events of how your words and those of others have influenced your life. I will share with you two of my own before I address how we have destroyed Nigeria with our careless words and also how we can rebuild her, for we have no other country if we set her on fire.
Back in my secondary (high) school days, I had an Economics Teacher (May his soul rest in peace) who often made mockery of his aged mother in-law in his classes just to amuse us and win our affection. He would mimic how she talks, walks, and eats. Then he would say he didn’t want to live that long and look stupid. I was in my second year in the university when I heard of his sudden death at the age of 50. I was not moved because his words became his reality.
My second experience of the power of words is this. One morning I called the office and reported sick. It was a lie because I wanted that day work free to attend to a personal concern. My boss and my colleagues all called to wish me well. I acted so sick that I was awed by my pretense. Despite my instantaneous penitence, before noon of the same day, the exact ailment I lied about afflicted me. It was so terrible and lasted for three weeks. I suffered in silence going to work every day.
Back to my purpose for writing. The youths are said to be the leaders of tomorrow, but when the youths fail to understand that tomorrow is a function of their spoken words, they make nonsense the words of the elders. Four years ago, two of my colleagues came to meet me aside just after we had the morning devotion before work started. They said I was funny and naive. Why do I always pray for Nigeria every time I am asked to pray, they quizzed me. “How can you be praying for a useless country? A country that will soon divide. A country that has no future for the youths. A country with selfish leaders. A country led by c*ws…?” This, unfortunately, is the mindset of many Nigerian youths.
My response was, “Your parents met themselves and got married in this country. You were born and bred up in this country. You work and earn a living in this country. One of you is married with children in this country, and you also are planning and living out your destiny in this country. If your ancestors had cursed this land the way you are cursing it for your children, what would have been your fate? It is true that our leaders have failed us; must we beat them at this?.
I continued. “Our founding fathers, patriots like Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano, and the rest worked and bequeathed this land to us, their children. What will we leave for our children? A divided country on fault lines? Would our children say,”There Was a Country?”
In summary, my fellow compatriots, have we not doubted our unity and cursed our future enough? How long should our words be our swords? Where has it led us to? Is a garden not beautiful, nature not abundant, and the world not unique by diversity? It is said that only fools keep doing (or say) the same thing and expect different results. Let us be wise and start rebuilding Nigeria today with choice words and actions.
I love you as you are.
God bless Nigeria!