By James Katongana
The Nigerian Governor Akpabio observed that lack of patriotism is a major factor contributing to corruption in the society.
Nigeria like Uganda has the highest levels of corruption and other forms of miss-use of office. I will quote at length the presentation of the governor in order to drive my point home.
In his presentation at the opening of a three day workshop of Nigeria Guild of Editors on the theme “The Nigerian Editor and National Security” noted that corruption thrives in countries with low level of patriotism.
He had this to say “As Editors, you are the captains of the media industry and your interpretations of reality for the nation. How do you interpret reality? Take the issue of corruption and you would discover that corruption thrives in countries with low level of patriotism.
If you love your country, you will not steal from it. Clothe this country in beautiful garments, and patriotism will rise and corruption will decline.” He went on to say that “to drive away darkness, you turn on the light, let us turn on the light of patriotism in our country. Lack of patriotism leads to selfishness.
Therefore, let us live not for our families and ourselves alone, or for our friends and class interest alone, let the empathy extend beyond our interest and we will make Nigeria a better and a more interesting country”.
What really lacks not only in Uganda but the world over is discipline. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. There can never be development without discipline and discipline is patriotism.
African people need to become involved in their governments, governments become more accountable, and our society becomes stronger, more compassionate, and better prepared for the challenges of the day and the future. We need to constantly be reminded by our flag at all times every where.
Like Beecher Henry Ward said “a thoughtful mind, when it sees a Nation’s flag, sees not the flag only, but the Nation itself; and whatever might be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the Government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the Nation that sets it forth.” patriotism consists not only in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. “We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth, peace, security, liberty, our family, our friends, our home. But when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it, is the result of duty done”. Coolidge, Calvin.
People in positions of responsibilities need to use power for the benefit of the people. “We use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our own purposes or to make great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power and it is to serve people.” Bush George H.W. The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree. You can’t say you love country and hate your government. Your country wrong or right is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. A man’s country is not a certain area of land, mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.
The only problem is that we have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish this nation.
Like Clinton William said “the new rage is to say that government is the cause of all our problems, and if only we had no government, we’d have no problems. …that contradicts evidence, history, and common sense” it is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had had it taken from you.
Patriotism is like charity-it begins at home. Let’s build our country with patriotism.
The writer is a Pan Africanist