Having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one's country.
Unless you live under a rock (like I do sometimes) you must have heard about the Woolwich attack and our Nigerian brother terrorists. A prayer to the family of the dead soldier Rigby who have lost a son so tragically (Amen) and also for the families of Adebolaja and Adebowale who have lost their sons too. I dont think there is any parent that gives birth and says 'Son, It will be my pride and joy if you become a cold-blooded killer'/get caught and spend the rest of your life in jail barring capital punishment'.
The ensuing arguments over the killers’ British born-bred/Nigerian origin (which I felt was a satisfactory description – nurture vs nature, environment vs genetics) earned me the name ‘unpatriotic Nigerian’ from my girlfriend Jo. shrug.
Today at work, I discovered a new level of unpatriotism.
|This is how i feel about Nigeria as i bear that flag|
I was at a table during lunchbreak comprised of 4 (3 Nigerian females and 1 male Briton). The discussion went from work gossip, to family. Brit guy asked middle aged Lady, "do you go home often"?. She said last time she was in Nigeria was 2008 for a funeral and prior to that, last visit was 2001. We then got to hear of how her family used the funeral opportunity to become money-grasping etc and how that broke down relations.
We commiserated with her that money tends to bring out the worst in humans anyway, next thing she begins this tirade on, "how terrible Nigerians are. Liars, Cheats, Not trustworthy. She looks at Mr. Britain and says, “Don’t ever do business with a Nigerian, they will cheat you and run away with your money. Don’t even go to that Country, cause it’s not likely you will come back alive. Or if you do, it will be without your valuables. They stole my brother’s passport at the airport check in desk. That was how my dad’s business went belly up. etc. etc. In my former place of work, I even dissuaded my boss from doing business with Nigerian companies”.
My mouth was agape? I was like Lady, really? All Nigerians are bad? 150million Nigerians? How many Nigerians have you met, done business with, have cheated you? 10? 1,000? 10,000? 1 million? Out of 150million? Do the Math. That is still not enough proportion for you to say ‘all Nigerians are bad’. Say “I have had some bad experiences with some Nigerians and that makes me wary about doing business with another”, but don’t go brushing all Nigerians with same tar. For every bad egg there are 200 good ones. Smart, hardworking, honest Nigerians abound. It’s not fair to belittle or taint their hardwork because of the experiences you have had.
I was so mad and deeply disappointed!!
Maybe it was her saying ‘Nigerians’ and not making the distinction ‘some Nigerians’. Maybe it was the way she distanced herself from Nigeria…’I am British” (ha!! Until you are a criminal or terrorist then you realize you are “British born of Nigerian descent” ^__^), maybe it was the feeling that she was “airing our dirty linen in public” - the Briton listening to her might have doubted the news he sees in the media about fake scammers/terrorists/fraud and taken it with a pinch of salt. But now that he has heard it from the horse’s mouth, it makes it true innit?
Later in the day, I took a hard look at myself and I have decided to watch a little more, my utterances about Nigeria. I despair about some of the things going on in Nigeria, about the unnecessary loss of lives due to ineffectual security, opportunities lost, about the corruption, about the unnecessary poverty, about gender inequality. While there is the temptation to talk about love and fashion, and repost BellaNaija Red carpet events and dream weddings to take the sting away, that is not my forte.
Love corrects and it is out of love I point out any ills I see.
But I will try harder to not let the negatives overshadow the labour of the majority contributing their bit to making this engine called Nigeria work.
May God bless us all.
Are you proud to be Nigerian? Score your pride from 1-4
1 for not proud. 4 for very proud.