Numbers On The Clock Did Not Change, Time keepers Changed The Clock (Part Two)

By Ikenga Chronicles December 2, 2018

Numbers On The Clock Did Not Change, Time keepers Changed The Clock (Part Two)

— Philip Odoemena

Those great scholars and statesmen had one thing in common when they were abroad. They traveled abroad to get higher education and to return  to the motherland as soon as their studies were completed. They all had in mind to come back home to help in any way possible to make life a better place for themselves, their families and fellow citizens. None of them wanted to stay or stayed overseas forever. In those days, Nigeria had an enabling environment, a rich land, risks were minimized, no kidnappings, children were protected and unemployment among university graduates did not exist. In short, the environment was warm, welcoming and nurturing which facilitated a sense of belonging. The country then was very attractive, and the government provided tolerable enabling environment for those scholars to return home.

Things have changed in Nigeria, the notions and the attitudes of the latter day students of Nigerian origins who had gone or still are abroad for education has also changed. It is no more the same as it was during the days of the great scholars mentioned above. In fact things are never the same anymore. Except for few, the newer generations of Nigerians and the government of Nigeria after the past civil war are not following the respective footsteps of the past generations.

What actually went wrong? The numbers on the clock are still the same but time keepers have changed the clock. What could have caused this change? Is it the civil war in the sixties? Could it have been the greedy and brutal military rulers who siphoned the Nigerian economy? Or is it the selfish and egotistical politicians whose main aim to go into Nigerian politics is to embezzle the oil money and to care less about the grassroots?

Could it be the comfort the newer generations are having in overseas? Unlike the motherland, electricity overseas is in constant supply. Security  is topnotch. What is it? The earlier scholars went overseas with two things in mind–academic pursuit and then go back home. The newer generations of today also have two things in mind–dollar pursuit and stay put overseas. The earlier scholars thought it was better to finish their education and settle down in their motherland, start a family, that way their children will grow up to speak their language and understand their culture. They talked to their children in their native languages, punctuated with their respective and rich Nigerian parables and idioms. The newer generation doesn’t think such is necessary.

Most of the earlier scholars were contented with what they had, no matter how small, but the newer generation is never satiated, no matter how big. Yet no matter the amount of wealth the new generation has accumulated, they are still having problems to meet their everyday obligations, and the whole thing is pounding on their health. The earlier scholars lived past their golden ages, but the new generation is wrestling with high blood pressure and other health issues and dying at younger ages than their predecessors.

What actually is going on with the new generation? Are they actually experiencing everyday hustle and bustle of life or are they experiencing self-inflicted adversity in the midst of obstacles? We seem to forget that we are ageing in another man’s country. We seem to forget that if our children that are born abroad do not have any emotional attachment to their parent’s home (Nigeria), their linkage or lineage is doomed. Again, how are we going to settle the score? Is our emigration to the USA and other foreign nations a curse or a blessing? If you have an answer, please let this writer know. I rest my case.


  • Philip Odoemena writes from Dallas, Texas