The True Nigerian Dream By Jude Feranmi
I will tell you what the Nigerian Dream is and by the time i am done you would agree that this dream is largely part of what has degraded our country and brought us where we are at the moment. Parents, Our Parents have helped instill this Nigerian Dream into our essence that we live this dream by default. When this dream is actualised in an individual’s life, we celebrate her/him. All the examples of people we should look up to are people who are living this dream. In Fact, it is the reason why a lot of Nigerians live, It’s the liveblood of an average ajegunle hustler, It’s the dream we all have. It’s the dream we all hope to realise one day.
At a time, I was of the opinion that there exists no Nigerian Dream, that unlike the United States of America, land of the free, home of the brave, We had no dream, that we were just spontaneous set of people wallowing in poverty and penury and the prosperity of a microscopic few all mixed together. But, i would have been wrong. And until my conversation with a friend and an ‘hopeful’, Andrea who blogs at andreaebiteh.wordpress.com, i could not figure it out, even though i had all the facts and evidence staring me in the face.
So what is this Nigerian dream? And How, like the American dream has it helped shape our lives.? Even Wyclef Jean’s Father taught him the American Dream. . . Have our parents succeeded in teaching us the Nigerian Dream? And have we been faithful students of family and society? The answers to these questions are what I have laid out in the next few paragraphs and i make a case of why this dream should be changed. I co-founded imdrealities.com and trust me when i say “When you want to change a people’s reality, Start from changing their dream”
The American Dream is simple and it is simply that, no matter who you are, what you are, your social status, your place of birth, your sexual orientation, America is a place where you would find opportunities to make yourself into anything you want to be if you are willing to work hard. This is self evident when you read the histories of some of the richest men and successful men on the planet who come from America, Ford and Rockefeller especially. How America has been faring to keep up with this dream can be debated but that is not an issue i think we Nigerians should focus on. I however think it is necessary we put into perspective how the dreams and the expectations of a people end up shaping their lives, So let us start with how has society shaped our lives.
An average Nigerian in the 1960s thinks differently from an Average Nigerian in the 2010s, and the reason is not far fetched, the dreams and the expectations have changed and we were told ( at least most of us ) that those days were better and unfortunately are gone for good. In this epoch, an average Nigerian expects a lot of different things that are pessimistic by default. A graduate expects that the labour market will be tough unless you have long legs, An average business man expects to get close to breaking even , making profit is going to be a miracle, society has so degraded and whe you start to think of the old professors and lecturers that have refused to retire and put them in perspective, you start to think twice. When you start to look at the doctor’s argument and her/his strife with other medical practitoners in this same perspective, you start to wonder, where is the overlapping venn?
When I was admitted into the prestigious Oba Awon University, my Dad called me and my two other sisters who had also gained admission and repeated what he had told us over and over again for the past six months while we were at home due to a strike action and of course the infamous OAU calendar dynamics, he said “No matter what the labour market looks like, you have to make it and that means you have to come out with good grades so you’ll find someone to employ you” even though he could afford to employ the three of us after school conveniently. The first part of that conjuctive statement summarises the Nigerian Dream.
No matter what policies and politicians and religious exploitation and lackadaisical attitude of government to the state and security of its citizens and all the negative things you have in the society, You Must Make It. I am positive every parent has said this to her/his ward and said it over and over again such that it is a default subconscious response to every attempt to anhiliate the average Nigerian. It’s often quoted for the purpose of consolation as a resilient spirit and it is this dream that we all have that has carved out the new face of our country and nation from Aso Villa where corruption is not stealing to the beggar’s rejection of 5 naira followed by a hiss.
In consideration of the fact that I am writing to a twitter generation where anything more than 140 characters is too long, there will be a second part of this piece where i will try to explain how we have been denied of the dignity of existence by daring to dream the Nigerian Dream and how changing that dream, especially starting from the family and our religious houses will help to revolutionize our society and our country at large for the betterment of our lives and our unborn children
I tweet @juded27
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