The truth therapy: Setting the nation free

Sir: It will be illusory for one to bask in the assurance that “the truth shall set them free” without considering the hard demands of a liberation pursuit. Whereas truth may obtain for the guilty the jury’s leniency, it does not guarantee absolute pardon. In like manner, it may absolve one at the confessional but not without penance. What truth does is facilitate freedom — let the receiver meet it halfway with responsibilities.

In the history of nationhood, freedom was born out of a tough bargain, not only because men of valor fought hard for it but also because, once obtained, it was watched and protected like the eagle does her eggs. For Nigeria, whose coat of arm features the vigilant giant-bird, this knowledge should not be elusive to grasp.

Freedom is not a one-off bargain for its recipient – never a done deal but sustained vigilance over the polity to savor the opportunities and benefits which it presents.

Freedom is not absolutely guaranteed, for instance, by obtaining independence from a colonial power. Little wonder the history of post-independence Nigeria is dotted with dark eras of tyrany, dictatorship, pogrom, oppression, marginalization, civil war, etc, which were locally orchestrated. In the same vein, freedom is not assured by just having a constitution but resides in concerted efforts channeled towards having the right constitution – one that is built on the truths about a people, their values, beliefs, yearning and aspirations – and enforcing it to letter.

A nation may survive in pretence but cannot thrive in denial or neglect of her negative realities. Nigeria’s case is not different, as she is confronted by fundamental problems such as insecurity, poverty, ethno-religious crises, illiteracy, poor health care, infrastructural decay, corruption, bad leadership, moral decay, etc. As Asa sang in ‘Situation,’ “it’s our reality.” It may not sound nice but swallowing that bitter pill of truth and seeking a lasting remedy will go a long way in launching the nation toward successful nationhood. It is, therefore, Nigeria’s choice to either maintain her existential drift or find strength and opportunities in her diverse resources to mutually soar with the grace of a hundred and eighty million doves!

Should the latter be the choice, she must pause now to evaluate her current standing in relation to pressing fundamental issues and distill truth from them. Having found truth, she must chorus ‘amen’ to the beautiful wordings of her creed which seeks a ‘nation bound in freedom, peace and unity’ by: enacting and committing to a constitution, which harmonises the opinions of her peoples and constituencies; restoring the blindfold of justice, pursuant to rule of law; delivering the rights of her citizens, including freedom of expression, and worship; rethinking her current structure with regards to agitations for fiscal federalism, resource control, self-determination, etc; building strong institutions that will take over state affair from the sinister clutches of oligarchs; using wealth creation to unlock the handshake between poverty and crime; encouraging hardwork, expertise and fame; opening numerous gates to economic opportunities; delivering uniform and value-based education; etc.

Only such responsibilities, borne out of the acceptance of her realities, can liberate Nigeria and propel her to steady greatness. Save that, she will continuously reel in a vicious circle which brings her back to the confessional with the sins of her past and arraigns her over and over again before the jury, for the same old crimes.
Ikechukwu Igbo

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Ikechukwu Igbo
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