OPINION: Nigerians Are Patriotic?

In the city of Abuja on Wednesday, 7th February 2024, I was surprised at the way the motorways was deserted and areas known for heavy traffic after close of work had unusual free flow of traffic.

So I began to ask these questions;

What happened? Why is this road so free.?

I ask those questions and my driver as well as my cousin in the car spoke excitedly that today is Nigeria versus South Africa, and it was already a little after 6pm and Match was ongoing, hence, the sudden change of situation on the road. Of course, I do know that is not only in Abuja but all over the country.

I saw few vehicles running like trying to catch a flight, but it was to rush home to watch the match.

Some needed to stop at restaurants and public places nearby to just be part of the match.

What a loyalty to one’s great country; Nigeria.!!!!

Most people that rushed around and shouted with joy didn’t do so because they are addicted football fans.

They are not like my son and any other football lover who plays and also monitors European and other leagues.

They are not Manchester United or Chelsea fans, but purely lovers of this great country.

Then I concluded that the act of Nigerians on 7th February, 2024 is National Anthem in Action. Arise oh Compatriots. Nigeria’s call obey.

People Obey the call to watch and to expect victory.

The funny part is that this was not even a call by anyone.

Nigerians call themselves into this type of patriotism display.

No wonder our people in diaspora despite holding UK, US Or Canadian Passport still follow everything in Nigeria from politics to health care and security.

I observed in my friends house in Dallas; they watch TVC & Channels TV daily.

Most times when I feature on Sunrise Daily at Channels to discuss Economy, Tax or Fiscal Policies; they seem to be more interested outside Nigeria.

Patriotism to the core in the actions and reactions of our people around the world.

This match of yesterday, my wife couldn’t watch because she does not want High Blood Pressure that follows the tension of the match, but she carefully listens to the type of noise and reactions from customers that converge at Rejoice House at Idi Aba in Abeokuta in our Supermarket and Restaurant that have not been too busy in our town.

She also forgot about the need to restock the supermarket and the fact that inflation has wiped off more than 50% of working capital. Focus on 7th February is how Nigeria will win. She even told me seriously to start praying and use my faith for Super Eagles. What a way to love one’s dear country.

As she listens to people that converge around us, if they are too quiet; then it is because they are sad that we are losing but if they shout for joy, then we are winning. She will send one staff or call intercom to ask about the match as she was too scared to switch on the TV in her office.

12. Back to Abuja, the whole city was so deserted and estates roads that are usually busy with people walking around to keep fit between 6pm and 7pm were empty and quiet.

I am sure kidnappers will not operate on 7th February 2024 even in dangerous zones.

Why? Nigeria is playing South Africa, and we must all forget about our differences and work together to achieve victory.

Young and old, male and female, students and workers sat together and some even joined hands to pray.

The other day, Jimmy Odukoya left his sermon and was raising prayer points over our football match, I first condemned his action but later realized that patriotism is like drug or alcohol and so people act or react to show love to their country by ignoring every normal acceptable standards.

In my office during office hours, staff will gather round TV in the reception area and even me, I dare not talk about deadlines at such times, love for the country and Patriotism at work.

Bike riders and suya sellers usually roll out free ride and free meat after every Match Victories in Nigeria.

In Yorubaland, you hear people talk alone as they go home after watching elsewhere . OLUWA ESE OOOOO….SUPER EAGLES TI NA WON PA OOOO…meaning…Thank you Lord, Super Eagles has won.

Nobody cares about the state of origin of the players.

Nobody cares about religion and ethnicity.

Everyone wants Nigeria to win the match. In fact one man can buy fuel to power the generator for all neighbours to watch the match.

I was talking to my wife at the same time as she also told me about the tension in the streets and in our restaurant.

Like Abuja like Abeokuta, like Lagos like Kano, like Kogi like Imo, like Borno like Ekiti, like Adamawa like Delta, like Rivers like Zamfara, everywhere, it is the same.

She said our restaurant that is usually not busy was full of people and some noise coming from the place as a result of the match is a sweet noise because all Nigerians are waiting and watching hoping to win. We are not bothered about the crowd enjoying A/C Without buying anything.

When Nigeria lost a penalty kick, sadness was heavy in the air, when South Africa lost it, smile was on the face of many.

In fact, many began to pray and suddenly; right in Abuja I heard a heavy shout like the sound of Alleluia that brought down the wall of Jericho.

The shout of joy was so much. It was like the sound of war.

As I walked around, I saw a security man run around alone with joy. From every house, there came a heavy shout of joy; loud enough to shake the foundation of buildings, the joy was for all of us.

No one sees the victory as belonging to Hausa, Ibo or Yoruba.Fulani, Itshekiri, Tapa or any tribe, everyone joined hands and minds to wish our team victory and to also celebrate after the match.

In Ogun State, there is nothing like I am Egba, Ijebu or Yewa.

All over the country, among politicians ; there is nothing like PDP, APC, Labour, APGA, SDP or NNPP. The victory is for all.

No one sees the victory as belonging to North or south, it was a national joy.

Like every football match in the past, Nigerians are united in their expectation of victory.

From this incident and previous football matches, I can then conclude, that NIGERIANS ARE UNITED AND PATRIOTIC.

Those dividing us along religion, tribe or ethnicity should repent or face the wrath of God.

Yes, there could be few bad eggs who will vandalize National assets, who cut railings on our bridges, who steal electric cables, who disturb businesses that are creating jobs in the name of performing their duty as regulatory agencies; Few who destroy the environments but in all; not all of us are bad.

Not all Police men are bad, not all lecturers are bad, .not all civil servants are bad, not all custom’s officers are bad, not all immigration officers are bad, not all NDLEA, not all NAFDAC staff are bad, not all EFCC staff are bad, not all Road Safety officers are bad, not all Civil defence staff are bad, not all LASTMA in Lagos are bad.

In Abuja some wait at a corner to let cars park, and then they lock the tyre and start making demands but not all of them are that bad.

Not all dwellers in our cities, towns and Communities are bad.

Not all Nigerians are kidnappers, not all Nigerians are religious fanatics to the extent of killing fellow Nigerians, not all herdmens kill farmers.

Not all teachers will demand to sleep with students to pass them.

Not all lecturers will collect bribe from post graduate students.

Not all civil servants will delay approvals because of brown or white envelopes.

In fact not all politicians are bad, Some are performing.

Not all pastors are exploiters, we still have good ones.

Not all husbands are bad and not all wives are evils.

In fact not all our youths are involved in Yahoo Yahoo or Cyber Crimes, not all our youths are involved in rituals. Not all supermarkets owners sells expired goods.

In our common desire for the good of the country; NIGERIANS ARE PATRIOTIC.

When you look at the way Nigerians outside the country are building houses in Nigeria; you will see Patriotism.

I therefore say Nigerians are PATRIOTIC and if you are a Nigerian; let’s love our fellow Nigerian and our dear country.

Let us speak peace and progress to the soul of this country.

Do not destroy the country with your words and action.

Those trying to Japa, you can Japa but don’t destroy this land before you leave and also think of the Glory of this Land before you leave.

While some will need to leave to succeed, Many may be better after all in Nigeria.

I believe that Nigeria will become great again, if we all join hands to address our challenges and those in Government become humble to listen to those outside and of course become flexible with our policies by adjusting or eliminating any policy that is counterproductive and breeding Poverty and hunger to avert National Anger.

God bless Nigeria.

Dr. Gbenga Adeoye is a Lawyer and Chartered Accountant and holds a PhD in Management Accounting.

He holds an LLM in International Business Law from University of London.

He is an Arbitrator of UK and Nigeria.

He is in practice as a Lawyer and Chartered Accountant in Lagos, Abuja & Abeokuta among others.

He is a Tax and Fiscal Policy Expert and can be reached by e-mail via: dga@gbengaadeoye.com

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