By Adebayo Ajagunna
A little Island country, Jamaica, with a population of slightly over two million people is the pride of the human race today in the field of sports. Now who are Jamaicans? 90 per cent of the population is made up of descendants of former slaves taken from West Africa to work in the sugar cane plantations, about seven per cent are descendants of the white slave owners and three per cent are Chinese.
Though they are a diverse mix of people of different heritage, who have chosen to honour the country of their birth, they still acknowledge their ancestral roots in Africa, Asia and the rest of the world, but they have accepted to work to build their country to enviable heights despite their stark differences. Evidently, they’ve sure succeeded in a GOLDEN manner. Jamaica gave the world such music icons as Bob Marley (he was of mixed heritage), Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Shaba Ranks, Yellow man, Luciano and in the field of athletics Marlene Ottey and the mercurial Usain Bolt.
They fly their country’s flag with pride, while my village-minded compatriots can’t stand the sight of their next tribal neighbours and do everything to denigrate and bring down their own nation. They hold on to a “golden” past found in story books, and dream of a “golden” future in nations they wish to build on foundations of hatred and intolerance.
I heard reports that some people the other day declared a “Republic of Bakassi Peninsula” and hoisted a flag. I see some cheering from the “Break Nigeria” peddlers about this and the Ogoni and Biafra debacles and my heart bleeds. I tell you with all sincerrity; be careful what you wish for, for when it comes on you, the consequences might not be what you think. When you become disillusioned in your new country, would you break it up until each family becomes a republic? Have you put a genuine effort into building up Nigeria?
It’s a shame on the current set of leaders that under its watch they are unable to inspire a sense of patriotism and hope in the ordinary folk.
By Adebayo Ajagunna