Before my editor suggested that I did a write up on Nigeria, I’ll be honest and admit that the thought never crossed my mind. And even after she put said thought in my mind, it took me the better part of four hours to come up with something to write. Mainly because I was struggling to find a way to write this piece without sounding like a grumpy disenchanted grinch out to ruin the “Nigerian Independence Day Celebrations”.
Today, October 1, this great country turns 54, and despite what I said in the opening lines of this article, I’m still fiercely proud of this country. Why?
She is the giant of Africa (albeit a dozy giant, but a giant all the same), the continent’s most populous nation and the most endowed resource-wise; and although an overly religious nation, we truly appreciate the essence of culture and tradition.
Yes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the negatives; the crippling unemployment, endemic and systemic corruption, administrative ineptitude, myopic tribalism, nonexistent/failing/failed infrastructure, the wanton violence; and lose sight of the fact that her people are funny, vivacious (have you ever come across two Nigerians exchanging greetings? It’s an interesting and amusing sight I must tell you), creative, resilient, hardy and intelligent.
The 200 plus Chibok girls may not have been recovered but the psychopathic leader of the Boko Haram sect has been killed and for once the momentum in the war has swung the way of the Nigerian army.
Ebola may still be ravaging other African nations but it’s been contained quite effectively in Nigeria (to the surprise of the outside world).
In the course of growing up, I have travelled around this country and thus have been fortunate to have been a part of its interesting tribal mix. From the rude boisterous devilishly cunning people of Warri, to the party loving Yorubas of the West to the intelligent (normally) quiet Hausas and the exotic Fulanis of the North and the enterprising Igbos of the East, throw in minority tribes of the Middle Belt, Akwa Ibom, Delta state, Edo state and you have a multicultural collage; and as disparate as they could possibly be they all have a common drive, to see this country be better and while the progress may have been painfully slow, there has been progress.
It’s easy to understand why there’s a rush for people to migrate to other nations, especially in the light of events of the last few years. But underneath all that is an undercurrent of change, a slowly budding realisation that this country is equipped for greatness and a reorientation especially amongst the younger generation, ushering in a new dawn for Nigeria is evident in the new ways we approach enterprise, and in the explosive growth of the entertainment industry beyond the borders of this nation.
No matter how things may have looked up until this 54th year, we as a people have always remained strong and proud and stayed true to who we are. It’s the Nigerian way, it’s what has made us stand out, it’ll never change.
From here on out, the only direction we can go is up. Stay positive.
Ariel Ugorji identifies himself as a mild insomniac, geek, nerd, an audiophile, an avid music lover, Liverpool Fan and an unashamed Christian; with more often than not a completely different point of view on the world and a love for sensible arguments. He Resides in Warri, Nigeria; the land of the sharp and the brave.
To view more of his write ups, please visit his BLOG. You can also share your views with him on twitter @arielugorji.
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