What is the Nigerian dream?
One of the many things that fascinated me about America is the American dream, what is the American dream?
The American dream is a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.
In the definition of American dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931 stated that ‘ life should be better and fuller for everyone with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth’ .
The American dream is the reason Nigerians are excelling in America irrespective of their Nigerian background, it also the reason artists from all over the world travel to America to chase their dream and promote their career. It is also the reason America is the destination for every dreamer and ambitious mind world over.
The American dream simply means anybody can be somebody irrespective of their background. That brings me back to my initial question; what is the Nigerian dream?
The answer to this question is a big black empty hole, it’s an eerie silence in a dark field with the chirping of the cricket; there is nothing like the Nigeria dream.
The absence of a Nigerian dream does not automatically imply the opposite of the American dream, but sadly in practice the opposite of the American dream is the reality of the Nigerian life and society. That is to say that your social class and circumstances of birth are both determinant factors in your quest for success.
We might have had a Nigerian dream different from the American dream and anchored on an entirely different sets of principles but nevertheless a dream that every Nigerian irrespective of tribe, class and religion could look forward to, a dream that will be bigger than our tribal differences, the pursuit of which will trump our religious alliances, but instead we have a Nation of private interests with superiority of some people acquired not through hard work or any other route recognised and respected, but rather through seizing of opportunity presented for many for themselves and sacrificing our common interest and growth as a Nation at the altar of a closed elitist crowd with no vision, plan or ideology.
The Nigerian situation is the type where tribe trumps talent and family name supersedes class of degree. Religion is more important than performance and productivity is sacrificed daily for regional alliance. It is a nightmare that cannot be a dream for even the worse visionless leadership anywhere in the world, surprisingly it has been embraced and promoted and the nation have continued to go from bad to worse with the underdogs resorting to unbelievable means for survival; the hangman’s noose in Indonesia and Malaysia must have gotten tired of the Nigerian blood it sheds every now and then but then again we are a country of clowns and kings. One lives a royal life style with Nations resources buried in the soak away while the rest joke and make memes of the dire situation.
I am a dreamer, and dreams for me remain the only romance that can spice this ungodly union of a Nation. Without a Nigerian dream, there will be a country but a Nation will always elude us.
by Chinyere Ifediora