“I have lived outside this country, but I have never loved any other place better than Nigeria. I have never exchanged my passport or pay allegiance to any other flag, even when I have been offered many opportunities to be citizens of other countries, because I believe that no other country in the world is better than Nigeria”
The above profound statement, was made by Gbenga Olawepo Hashim, a man who has not only seen it all by every standard, but has equally made it all.
The 2019 presidential candidate made this remark during the heat of the campaign, while advancing his vision to grow Nigeria’s economy to $4trillion within 10 years and unite the country for greatness.
The global business mogul has not only traveled to more than 32 countries around the world, participating actively in global affairs, especially in funding and investment, he actually started small, in one corner of his room in Nigeria and grew it into a multi million dollars, multi national business, operating in 4 continents of the world.
Having seen the best of both world, or better still, the best of 4 continents and over 32 countries, his love and determination to get Nigeria working is beyond firm and the globe he has seen hasn’t diminished Nigeria in his sight, but instead, energized him to take greater ownership of the country, beyond the usual elite criticism and general mass complaint.
This is what it means to genuinely love ones country and continue to strive to take it to the height it ought to be.
We cannot love Nigeria when it meets our needs and expectations, both economic and phycological and dislike it when it failed us material wise. We cannot love it when it gives us pleasant experience and safety and dislike it when it gives unpleasantness or exposes us to insecurity. We have to embrace the totality of the country, the good, bad and ugly and take firm ownership of it, with the aim of maximizing it potentials and transforming its deficiencies.
This is why Hashim is a rare gem, a unique character and a worthy national model.
Unlike many in diaspora, who are quick to switch their nationality at the least opportunity, yet continue to justify their self protectionist agenda while destructively criticizing every effort of the country, Olawepo Hashim is like a star in a dark night, whose quest for personal comfort and security wasn’t placed ahead of love for the nation. Even when the cerebral businessman won a $20million damage against the federal government of Nigeria in a legal tussle, instead of celebrating his victory over the government of Nigeria, he is more concerned about what the government also lost in terms of revenue, which could have been used to better the lives of some Nigerians. To him, his business is not just to make money, but to improve the economic capacity of the populace.
Some Nigerians in diaspora, aswell as those in the country are quick to put out negative energy about the state of country and even sell negative stories about it to advance personal interest, yet they are quick to blame others for the woes of Nigeria, without realizing that they are part of the woes of Nigeria that continue inject toxicity into national consciousness with divisive narrative.
Recently, when the elite of Nigeria are divided along regional lines, arguing in favor of rotational presidency that is destined to further balcanized the nation into inconsequential lots, Olawepo Hashim emerged again with his voice of reason, arguing that merit based leadership is the only panacea to the misgovernance in Nigeria.
He maintained that, leadership failure is the problem of Nigeria and no amount of leadership rotation can undo the feeling of marginalization and correct leadership inefficiency.
The total summation of Olawepo’s being, vis a vis his actions and inactions has made it become so obvious that, this man called Olawepo Hashim is inlove with Nigeria and all we can do as citizens desirous of a better Nigeria is to learn and take a clue from him.
It should be understood that communication is everything. The messages we communicate and how we communicate it have a great role in determining what happens in the country and how the rest of the world will relate with us and irrespective of our disappointment with development in the country, we owe it a duty to protect its national integrity.
Tearing the country down with destructive narrative will not build it up. But protecting its national integrity will most certainly attract positive goodwill.
Abdulrazaq Hamzat writes from Abuja