David Mark’s seductive patriotism

Casmir Igbokwe

First published August 2, 2009 

A mother whose name I wouldn’t want to mention here was excited over a new bra somebody bought for her recently. Thanking the buyer for the wise selection, she enthused, “That bra is cool! It makes my breasts look like a young lady’s.” 

 For some men, the mere sight of a bra or breasts can get the adrenalin flowing. This may be why many women these days tend to flaunt this nature’s gift anyhow. Sometimes, the aim is to seduce.

 Seduction can come in some other ways. For instance, someone’s dream car, or a man’s poetic love notes to his dream bride can become an object of seduction.

 Senate President, David Mark, may not have intended to seduce Nigerians, but his recent patriotic sentiments are literally doing just that. Mark was a soldier; and soldiers are trained to be hard, to divorce emotions and unnecessary sentiments from whatever they do. But life as a civilian may have changed him a lot. Now, where there is war, he seeks peace. Where there is hatred, he desires love. And where there is antagonism, he preaches patriotism.

 One example will suffice here. At the 2009 Diaspora Day held in Abuja last weekend, Mark reportedly said Nigeria was doing well except for some pessimists who enjoyed running down the country from within and without.

 Hear him, “A lot of Britons will never go out to criticise their country elsewhere, but a lot of Nigerians go out and start running down our country. Why can’t they go and start another country.” Ably represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Jubril Aminu, Mark exhorted Nigerians in the Diaspora to let people hear and see only the good side of the country.

 Call it the good sights and sounds of Nigeria if you like. I have made up my mind to follow the Senate President’s advice. And so, since last week, I have been on the lookout for these goodies from Naija.

 Hence, I made a random search in some of our national dailies last week. Last Wednesday’s edition of THE GUARDIAN, for instance, had an editorial on the recent feat of a young Nigerian, Kimberly Anyadike. The 15-year-old girl broke aviation records as the first African-American of her age to fly an aircraft from California to Virginia in the United States. In this 13-day expedition, she landed on 13 cities with great funfair.

 American media reportedly celebrated this girl without any mention of her Nigerian roots. I don’t know Mark’s thoughts on this considering that the same America snubbed us by making Ghana the first country President Barack Obama would visit in Africa. That country even went further to debunk Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Maduekwe’s claim that Obama would also visit Nigeria.

 I know that if an American achieves such a feat in Nigeria, we will celebrate him to high heavens. A few months ago, for instance, the Nigerian media celebrated an American researcher who came to Lagos to hawk Gala sausage roll. These days, the number of our own hawkers may have increased with the indefinite strike embarked upon by university lecturers. This is not to say that our undergraduates are hawkers.

 In my further search for good news, I went through last Tuesday’s edition of THE PUNCH. What I saw there convinced me that it’s foreigners and cultists that are painting us in dark colours. Look at the Boko Haram militants, for instance. We all know that it’s mostly the hungry insurgents from Niger and Chad that are fuelling the crisis. Their unwholesome activities have led to the death of scores of people including security men. This came a few days after some frustrated militants attacked Atlas Cove jetty in Lagos.

 The same edition of the newspaper had the story of the renewed fighting that erupted between Ezza and Ezillo communities in Ebonyi State. One military officer was said to be missing while over 10 other people were feared killed. Again, the combatants reportedly invited mercenaries from Benue and Niger Delta, and perhaps Cameroon to fight their battle.

 The next page was a story on corruption being a threat to Customs’ performance. I quickly flipped through and saw a headline which reads, “Armed cultists exchange fire in Port Harcourt.”

 Being a patriotic Nigerian, I ignored the story and devoted my attention to another headline on the same page. It reads, “No winner, no loser in petroleum bill – Mark.” In the story, Mark assured us that the petroleum bill would change the face of the current agitation in the Niger Delta. This was in apparent response to the stiff opposition the governors of the South-South region mounted against the bill.

 If we all emulate Mark, this country will be a better place. Rather than wash our dirty linen in public, we should always project the good image of Nigeria. Foreign media organisations can say anything they like. But it’s not for us to tell the whole world that our mother is not a virgin. Let us always say good things about our country and hide those ones that will bring shame to her.

 On a final note, let’s ignore those who believe that nothing can be done about a sagged breast. With the help of a good bra, as Mark has apparently advised, a sagged breast can become very firm again.

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