By PRISCA SAM-DURU
Our Nation Our Hope is a 200 page book, written by a retired Senior Broadcast journalist, James Egbuchulam, which documents exhaustively, contemporary Nigerian life beginning from the birth of the Nation in 1914.
The content of the book which are unaltered articles of the writer published in different Nigeria’s newspapers from the early 1980s are intended to examine the impact of series of events that have continued to mark the under development of Nigeria as a nation.
The book opens with a commentary on Nigeria in the beginning. This chapter documents the history of the geographical entity called Nigeria which was given birth in 1914 through the ill fated romance between Sir Lord Luggard and his girl friend , Flora Shaw. The chapter goes on to trace the Nation’s birth in the after math of the scramble for and partition of Africa in 1885 at the Berlin Conference.
The author , Egbuchulem in this chapter, also, analysed the unfortunate situation the country was in while recovering from the civil war and suggested clues for progress which includes; a change of name, from Nigeria which he said may do the magic of bringing into existence a great Nation.
He based his suggestion on the fact that countries like Zimbabwe, Ghana and Benin Republic are no longer bearing names given by their imperial masters and therefore wondered why Nigeria should not take a name that would instill a new sense of patriotic zeal and identity into her.
‘Save this Country, Dear Rulers’ which is the title of Chapter Two is an article written in September 1982. It documents the relentless efforts of some Nationalists like; Herbert Macaulay, Ernest Ikoli, JC Vauhan, Samuel Akinsanya, HO Davis, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano, in the birth of modern Nigeria.
This chapter however, examines the journey of Nationhood through political bitterness and crisis after the civil war and resultant effects of bad leadership which clearly manifested in the operations of successive governments.
In chapter three titled, Our Nation Our Hope, from where the Book gets its title, the author paints a picture of Nigeria in the after math of the civil war. It was a time, he described as disgusting; a period in which according to James, Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest enslaved majority of the entire populace as people suffered in abject poverty.
The situation as portrayed in the article was so terrible that the author noted that what remained was for individuals to purchase air which was badly polluted. The chapter also weeps for women as they “emerged in the cities carrying ignominious head-pans or molded blocks on their heads, walking through collapsible plank-ladder up high rising buildings under construction.”
Most other chapters including chapter sixteen which has a National prayer attached, are all a critique on the negative impact of some topical social issues on the citizens.
All the articles capture scenarios of the metamorphosis of the National currency at various times; programmes and policies like War against indiscipline, Banking reforms and issues relating to strike actions, health, education, sports and broadcasting.
The book in general, condemns the unholy roles played by the military in the underdevelopment of the nation as well as the unpatriotic contributions of Nigeria’s political class and elected officials who grossly violate the rights of the electorates.
The book is quite engaging and exposes the authors ingenuity, versatility and sense of history such that if many of the articles were to be republished, it will definitely, be difficult to find out that they were written some decades ago since the troubles with Nigeria have multiplied greatly even when years of the much detested military rule have long ended.