Editor's note: Omoniyi Animasaun an active cyclist, reader and writer in the Nigerian tech space writes on the national anthem and pledge as Nigerians across the country to mark the nation’s 61st independence.
I recited the national anthem and the pledge daily for the six years I was in primary school. Some of us just recited. Crammed, and recited.
We never understood the import of the powerful words we mouthed daily. Years later many of us still do not understand.
It is that time of the year again. October. We will reminisce about the good old days. And the not so good one. Some will look back with nostalgia. Others with regrets. But at the end of it all, we would move on till it is another October.
Many of us fear to move freely even within our comfort zone. Mine is Lagos. We fear being kidnapped. We fear being mugged even on open roads.
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An avid recreational bicyclist, Afolabi Magbogunje (I will say his name), died from stab wounds from robbers who only took his phone where he was waiting for his riding buddies. It could have been me.
Cycling is one of those joys I wish to indulge in till my body resists. How Afolabi did not make it is a story for another day, though he rode several kilometres to seek medical help.
We are quick to blame everyone but ourselves for the decay we have in Nigeria. We promptly line behind political figures who add no corporate value but promote personal and sectional ideas.
But we can have peace. We can have unity. We can have it all when a few of us inculcate the right spirit. Stella Adadevoh put her life on the line for public health. Some of her colleagues barely escaped with theirs so others could live.
Many medical doctors in public hospitals are carrying the burden of the paying for medical expenses of indigent patients. Imagine if more of us have these kinds of dispositions?
A Nigerian Uber driver in the US, Adekunle, returned $700 that was forgotten by a passenger in his car. Olayinka Adeniyi, an airport cab operator returned $2,400 and an international passport that a passenger left in his cab.
We should strive for the resilience of the Flying Eagles of the Damman miracle fame. The match created a footballing record as Nigeria became the first team to be four goals down, equalize and then win a FIFA World Cup match at any level. Or the Atlanta '96 team that beat football superpowers to win Nigeria an Olympic Gold.
At these times, our drive should come from the positives we have as a people. More of us need to decide to take the positive steps to rebuild Nigeria from the ground up since it has become difficult otherwise.
Line up when you should. Respect others' time. Respect others' right to their ideas within the confines of the law. Hold public officials accountable. Educate fellow voters and perform your civic rights.
Maybe, one day "one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity" would mean more than the lyrics of a song.
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