The season we are in right now speaks of sacrifice as a very important tool for the upliftment of the individual and his society. 

Sacrifice has both physical and spiritual dimensions to it. The common denominator to all of it is that there must be a foregoing of the valuable to gain another thing more valuable.

    What we give in this instance could be in the form of denial of rights, privileges and acquisitions for the greater good of the whole. It can assume the form of renouncing a long-held philosophy or position. Better still it can be an act of deliberate offering, individuals or groups, as the case may be, offering to give more to achieve the greater goal or ideal.

   The Europe we know today wasn›t the Europe of the 15th century, when it was a collection of small empires at each other›s throats, fighting over amalgamation and supremacy. Instability reigned supreme and life was brutish and short. As time went on, good judgment began to take the upper hand and with it came the ability to see through the beauty in dialogue, compromise and consensus. That modern Europe is an aggregation of small countries with near ethnic homogeneity is one fallout of the era of giving and taking.

   The European Union didn›t just drop, it took its roots from the era of better understanding. The epoch of “we may have our slight differences but in the main, we share far more similarities than our diversity”. It is about sacrifice, people and groups giving up some rights for the well-being of the greater whole. Even in very modern history, there are rich examples of sacrifices in nation-building to draw from. France which is bestriding the world like a colossus today recorded five republics before it managed to find its feet.

    Britain had her turbulent era. Monarchy wasn›t an easy time. The new class that succeeded the monarchical were great except for better education. There existed class distinction. There were first, second and even third-class citizens. It created a convoluted system. It took sacrifice, understanding and determination to reshape society and produce the beautiful country we have today.

   Those familiar with the American struggles to become the first country before growing into nationhood would have come to terms with the hindrances to the dreams. The slave trade was still in place so blacks weren›t even considered to be fully humans. The existing legal provisions made their properties to those who owned the slaves. They had no freedom and if one hadn›t liberty what it meant was he was not entitled to any right at all. One of the publicly exposed persons who was later to emerge president had a black girlfriend, a relationship that produced a son he loved but couldn›t bring to the public.

  The level of discrimination was that bad. People suffered disenfranchisement on account that the law barred them from registering to vote. Yet, America at this time prided itself as the emerging citadel for democracy. The blight remains but from the ashes of confusion, vision-lessness and infighting a society that eventually became able to pull to become a country and finally a towering nation-state. A leader among the comity of nations. Because the people came to a point they realized that sacrifice, losing something vital, offering from one group to the other, dialoguing, making compromises and taking consensus were very necessary tools in building up any society.

     The truth is that sacrifice made the difference between countries that made it through sound development and those perpetually struggling and never making any headway. Vision is not possible without a spirit of sacrifice. Groups must offer to lose something as the case may be. The people must be very willing to give even of themselves. This is a key factor that makes the difference. A people or organization given to the spirit of sacrifice hardly would have the urge to take recourse to acts and pathways that can disintegrate the whole.

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    The spirit of sacrifice is what is lacking in our case and it is what has taken us to the precipice of disintegration and possible destruction. I had a chat with close friends a few days back and the big question was if what is happening to us isn’t a case of fate. The majority insisted our backwardness and very retrogressive disposition aren’t in our stars. It is rather a path our forebears took and which over time became acceptable as a way of life.

   The good thing about attitude and culture is that these are acquired traits and going by the nature of everything it can be undone. This is where leadership comes into play and where the make-up of the ruling class would matter. If the society that is down is blessed with a very perceptive leadership class, they would understand what the mission for the time is and what it will take to get it through.

     But if characteristics of the vanguard class are easy come and easy go, hedonistic and kleptomaniac, then there will be a challenge with the transition to a new most cherished order. Firstly, they can›t catch a vision. Secondly, the absence of vision would automatically mean a lack of organization and process. When these vital ingredients of development are missing, a laissez-faire system would reign, a situation where individual and group expectations become national dreams and aspirations.

   This kind of system doesn›t work. It only serves the interest of a few but not the majority. With time profligacy, looting, confusion, conflict and war loom large if not outright outbreaks. We have walked ourselves into the circle and are moving gradually towards the centre and this is precisely why we should become wary if our senses are still in place.

      With the ascendancy of President Bola Tinubu, many expected a redirection from the path we have walked and the expectation is a misplaced one. The Western region where he hails from has been known for progressive politics and programmes. The region is one of the most equipped sections of the country. The people from the region know the trouble with our society. 

  The challenge in chief is cohesion. Unity. Citizenship and citizens rights. Nigeria still operates under old empire structures. President Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan were too afraid to confront matters of disunity and those conversant with their pathway to power can understand. President Buhari betrayed the ideal. It was expected. Irredentists aren’t unifying forces. President Tinubu has some rich democratic credentials but surprisingly he hasn’t shown any inclination to dance to the rhythm. He stays on the old.

     If he can›t call for a summit he could at least have started with meetings with nationalities and thereafter the professional groups. This will give him a clearer perspective of what current thinking and expectations are. It would have enhanced the «buy-in» factor very much required to push our setting from society to a country. Come to think of it, the resurgence of acts of terrorism in the North is not happenstance at all. They are speaking of a vacuum they would wish quickly filled by them. That wish conflicts with the current interest of the Southwest, the President’s zone. Imagine talking to leaders of the South East, getting a political solution to the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) agitation, particularly the release of Nnamdi Kanu, and what such an act would mean to the insecurity currently plaguing the zone.

Truth is the making of a country and then a nation isn›t a jamboree. It is hard work. It requires deliberateness and a very clear vision. It requires discipline and more importantly sacrifice. It will require patriotic men who will give all so that a great future is guaranteed for the successor generation.

A grabbing mentality has come because we have come to misconstrue what it takes to build a viable stable country. In Asian developing countries, anyone who pilfers public funds is most likely to face execution by the state. This is because they know public service is not synonymous with making private gains.

    We need to pick such great examples and run with them. We need attitudinal change which will be built on sacrifice. “Think what you can do for your country and not necessarily your country for you.” The situation today is terrible. Total collapse of value system. Selfishness and avarice have become national policy. 

  When indiscipline rules a place, destiny is bargained away. Let discipline return and let sacrifice be the underlying philosophy we will stand on to push the other factors of national development. If this is the case, we would be amazed about how much progress we would make in a very short time.