Sunday 23 September 2018

This Man Was Born There

This man was born there
I was thinking this morning.... about your place of birth. Were you born here or there? While you can't determine where you are born, you can influence where your children are born. It is a widely held view that the prayer point of most Nigerian parents is for God to bless them enough to have their children in America, Europe or Canada because, apart from the very high chance of the child surviving due to advanced medical care, the baby will be registered as a citizen of that nation, particularly for USA. Most parents want their children to have the green card because the US government will go to any length to protect its citizens all over the world. No wonder, as at 2016 there were over 360,000 Nigerian Americans living in the US. But hang on, before you start planning to have another baby, be aware that it cost between $10,000 and $30,000 or even more depending on whether there are birth complications, for a Nigerian resident to have her child in the US. In spite of that, many couples are saving for this option because they want their child 'to be born there.'

I have realized that where your child is born could influence the success of that child tomorrow. I have so many friends and relatives that their children are studying in some of the best schools in America and Europe because 'they were born there' and therefore do not have to pay the cut-throat fees stipulated for international students. Also, because they have dual nationality, they have double opportunity and can compete for jobs in both countries, just because 'they were born there.'

Okay, I can understand why 'being born there' is pivotal to influencing opportunities outside Nigeria, but can't understand how we have taken the concept of 'being born there' to a whole new level in Nigeria. Until recently, when appointments are made in Nigeria, many people will give a perfunctory consideration to the state of origin of the appointee but now, if there is any federal appointment, it is followed by a vibrant debate about where that person was born.

Following the sack of the erstwhile DSS DG, Lawal Daura, President Buhari on the 13th of September approved the appointment of Yusuf Magaji Bichi as new Director-General of DSS. Immediately, there was fierce attack on PMB, that he had removed the acting DG, who is from Bayelsa State and replaced him with someone from Kano State. The narrative was not about career nor competence but that 'this man was born there.' Then a couple of days later, Kemi Adeosun resigned as a result of the NYSC-gate and a new Finance Minster in the person of Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed was appointed sparking another round of debate that 'this woman was born there.'

It got me thinking that the way we are going, some people will start strategizing for their children to be born in the section of Nigeria where they think they will have an advantage. How can we be one people and be focusing on 'this man or this woman was born there?' Why should any government be feeding the narrative of sectionalism or ethnicity? Why can't we appoint people irrespective of where they were born in Nigeria? We are short changing ourselves.

To me, it is least important where on this planet my children are born. What matters is to whom they are born. Your son may have been born in Hangzhou, in one corner of China and end up being a great entrepreneur and the richest man in China like Jack Ma (Founder of Alibaba.) Or your daughter could be born in a coal city like Enugu, but yet grow up to be a very successful and sought-after woman like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is making Nigeria proud on the global scene. It is what God puts in your child and what you, as a parent grow in them that matters and not because 'they were born there.' No wonder Psalms 87:4c & 5 says '...This man was born there. And of Zion, it shall be said, This and that man was born in her.' I am certain that our making is in the kingdom and not because 'we were born there.'

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

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