Reminiscence of Nigeria’s Motto “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” By Odusote Oluwakayode
No human being could fail to be deeply moved by the political development of this Nation. It is evident and true that we are faced with many challenges. Corruption is the most talked about, followed by unfortunate numerous reasons for the failures we experience on daily basis.
Coming from the extraction of the southwest, I have seen, learnt and so long, as a people regarded as most sophisticated, loved my country so well. What I’ve said is not intended primarily to honor my personality commitment, but to symbolize patriotism — the patriotic belief of those who labored for this beloved country of diverse cultures and tongues with the belief in our ‘Motto”.
For all eyes and for all ears, it is an expression of the true meaning of the Nigerian togetherness: “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”.
That I should be integrated in this beliefs with faith arouses a sense of pride and yet of commitment to the tenets of hope in the project called Nigeria.
“Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”, this motto with reverence dictates what we ought to be, what we can be, what we should be and what we shall be. They are our rallying points: to build and unite when troubles stare at us; to regain faith when there seems to be no hope; to create peace when discord beckons and to Progress in the midst of stormy stumbling weather.
Don’t attach too much importance to my style, I may not possess that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you the true meaning of our Motto.
Unfortunately however, most Nigerians do not take seriously to the underlying meaning of our motto; in fact some will say they are but words of a slogan with flamboyant design of horses and Eagle.
Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule – the motto engraved under the Coat of arm have no meaning!
With it’s over thirty years of existence, to me, those words have meaning.
The words some ignore are supposed to build our basic character, mold our future roles as the custodians of the nation’s integrity. They are to make us strong enough to know when we are weak, and brave enough to face our self when we are afraid.
They teach us to be proud of our diversity, humble in our success and gentle in our victory. Those words do not expect us to substitute personal opinions for words of war, nor to seek the path of separation in the face of troubling challenges, but to face with courage the difficulty and challenges of peaceful co-existence; to learn from our cultural difference, to master ourselves before we seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean to other religion – a goal that is compulsory
Nigeria’s motto must be absorbed with open mind of true wisdom to understand the meekness of true strength as engraved on the coat of arms. The coat of Arms has the black shield which represents the good earth of Nigeria, the silver wavy bands which represent the rivers Niger and Benue, the white horses which represents dignity, the eagle which represents strength and the wreath is in the colors of the Nigerian flag. The ground on which the bearings stand is Coctus Spectablis, which is a common wild flower found throughout Nigeria.
The colorful animal design of Horses and an Eagle gives a temper of the strength, courage and quality of a Nations’ worth, vigor of the emotions of valor, a freshness of a true spirit, a temperamental predominance of maturity over timidity, an appetite for sacrifice over selfish glee.
Those words if truthfully respected create in our heart the sense of brotherhood, the unfailing hope of what lay ahead, and the joy and inspiration of our togetherness. Those words teach us what it takes to be a Nigerian.
And what sort of Nigerian are you irrespective of our leaders’ failing? What can you do for your country? Are you reliable, are you brave, and are you capable of victory over corruption and bad leadership? The unfortunate problems we complain about are known to most of you; how many understands the solution?
The Nigerian, above all other, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice, greatest act of existence – Peace, greatest act of victory – Courage and greatest act of togetherness – Love.
We have had years of painful memories with fears of an uncertain future. Such uncertainties are primarily of our making and until we build hope with a dedicated and active commitment to Nation building, our fears of the uncertain future will persist.
Over Fifty two years ago, our fore leaders fought for freedom. Those momentous periods came as a great beacon of light to millions of Nigerians who had been trapped in the cage of British colonial rule. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of foreign domination of our culture and tradition.
Today, we must face the truth that the freedom is not a total one. Fifty two years after, the affairs of the nation is still, sadly, embroiled in the claws of segregation and discrimination amongst Christians and Muslims.
The affair of our nation is divided between the separate line of North and South with many of the lives of fellow Nigerians desolately left on the poverty line to groan in the midst of a vast ocean of natural prosperity.
Nigerians still languish and finds themselves unsecured in their own domain; almost all public purposes are failing, all public projects –Failing and all public needs, great or small – failing.
That’s the bad situation in which we are currently.
The beauty of our faith and hope do not lay in those failings, however horrible the incidents of our failings as a nation may be, every Nigerian must be called upon to offer their positive quota to the country.
In the past years some pettiest minds tell us that Nigeria will cease to exist come 2015. It has taken yet another form of a predicted 2030 for the realization of the prediction.
In these predictions there has never been an opening created than our inability to see beyond out petty cultural, religious and regional agitations.
We deal now not with things that differentiates us alone, but with the incessant injunctions from ungodly vessels against a nation that had refused to grow. We speak in strange terms: of harnessing resources accrued to states, we deviate sadly from governance by over dependence on self political achievements and glorification; we ignore the true meaning of our co-existence by blindly accepting the self induced sectarian crisis of bomb blast, kidnappings and corruption.
The will to find a true accomplishment begins with individual — the will to win, the sure knowledge that though “tribe and tongue may differ”, there is no substitute for a peaceful Nigeria; that if you fail in this regard, the nation (which includes you and I) will suffer as we currently do; that the very obsession of our public belief must be “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”.
Others will debate the controversial issues in our country, with predictions that divide men’s minds; but we must not let these negative assertions move us, as patriotic Nigerians we must forge to defend, guard and protect the tenets of “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”.
In those underlying tenets lay the hope for a better Nigeria.
There is no substitute for a united Nigeria. We have a commitment to those tenets that will enhance our unity and aid our choice in putting quality leaders forward to lead in a country where all citizens are proud of, where the Nigerian flag would be the symbol of honor and a banner without the stain of corruption or the stigma of 419, where no man, tribe or culture is oppressed and subjected to the feelings of regret in a union of over fifty two years. A country where our economic and political model will be well defined, a country where road and highways of multiple lanes joining one city to the other from the east to the west and from the north to the south will be built. A country where there would be no difference between night and day and a place where other valuable developmental programmes will be made available.
We must wisely understand those tenets that should open our eyes to see why hope is not lost for our dear country. Those tenets should open our minds to believe that there is hope for a Nigeria where there is respect for human dignity and justice, where we promote respect for liberty. The beauties of such a Nigeria entails duties in which WE EACH and ALL have a ROLE to play.
Those words of our motto are fraternal. It requires our commitment towards a goal of respecting our diversity towards national development.
Our roles are numerous but we must attach importance to those words of wisdom in choosing our leaders ” A nation is as great as her leaders so in choosing our leaders, we must exercise great care and make sure that the right person is chosen: we must not confuse champions for leaders, we must not confuse prominence for pre-eminence, we must not confuse eloquence for honesty, we must not confuse silence for wisdom, good looks for efficiency – bravado for courage”.
“Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” – Nigeria for Nigerians
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