Build ye a great Nation.

shutterstock_23016169-615x345Few days ago was the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg address by Abraham Lincoln. The speech that is believed to have reshaped America into greatness. That event at Gettysburg gave that nation an opportunity to kick-start the healing process from the wounds of a bloody civil war. And it gave them the opportunity to tell themselves the truth and accept the truth and to take the first step moving forward as a truly United States.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, both sides, leaving fifty thousand dead or wounded or missing behind them, had reason to maintain a large pattern of pretense—Lee pretending that he was not taking back to the South a broken cause, Meade that he would not let the broken pieces fall through his fingers. It would have been hard to predict that Gettysburg, out of all this muddle, these missed chances, all the senseless deaths, would become a symbol of national purpose, pride, and ideals. Abraham Lincoln transformed the ugly reality into something rich and strange—and he did it with 272 words. The power of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration.

But in Nigeria, we have been pretending about our ugly past, thinking that by acting as if it never was would make it go away.

That’s not how nations are built.

Kelechi Deca.

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