Thursday, May 30, 2013

Are you proud to be Nigerian?

pa·tri·ot·ic  

/ˌpātrēˈätik/
Adjective
 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.

18 comments:

  1. I feel I'm a 4. I am very proud to be Nigerian and I didn't realise that until recently. It's just a shame that the negative acts of a minority overshadow the country but I'm not surprised. I wouldn't blame anyone for their negative assumptions of Nigeria.

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  2. I feel your pain, why would she describe Nigeria/ Nigerians like that, i would have been so sad!... i think we are great people minus a few bad eggs which EVERY country has their fair share..abi you wanna hear about my very corrupt and inhuman WHITE BRITISH boss? ..abeg leave story...i would say a 4, because i love Nigeria with a fierceness that surprises even me cos she breaks my heart so much...

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  3. To go as far as discrediting companies she didn't know? That is one hurt woman. Whether she realises it or not, she can't peel off her origin. She apparently has a lot of hate/hurt.

    I'll say i'm a four but i think that comes with living in Nigeria. I wonder how i'll feel if i relocate. I hope nothing changes.

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  4. I'm a 4 beacause I'm constantly defending Nigerians who are hardwoking and law-abiding

    We have a lot of things wrong with Nigeria and we all know it.

    However, like the parent of a thief/ murderer who cannot disown a child that came out of her womb/ from his loins, I cannot/ can never disown my origins.

    A Nigerian who disparages 170 million people because of the sins of approx 10% is disparaging him/herself.

    I can never run down Naija to a non-Nigerian. I can only have a discussion about how the few can be used to judge the many.....and discuss the challenges we (the progressives) face in overcoming the 'bad-heads' amongst us!

    If we were TO go by media reports.......
    Can we say all Englishmen are paedophiles? Definitely not.
    Can we say all Americans are ignorant about world issues? Definitely not
    Can we say all Africans have AIDS? Definitely not
    Can we say all Asians will put money before everything? Definitely not

    A very good friend (English) is visiting Nigeria for the first time this year. He is petrified because his very close Nigerian friends have told him negative things about the country.

    He asked for my advice and I told him that my parents are actually scared I am raising 3 black boys in the UK when all they hear about 'this place' is child abuse, stabbings and discrimination. In short, they have begged me to send them back home so they can be 'safer'. He kept quiet after that LOL


    Stereotypes are hateful and hurtful. It is ignorant to perpetuate them.

    Like Jemima, Naija brings out a 'fierce love' but it does break my hear so.....just like a deviant child or promiscuous partner.

    However, like the parent of that deviant child/ partner of that promiscuous partner......I would be stupid to run my 'person' down to an outsider

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  5. I am Nigerian through and through. I may not be proud of our image but I am proud to be Nigerian.

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  6. Okay that your colleague that was bad-mouthing Nigeria to the "oyinbo" is just stupid. Did she think he was going to look at her and go "Oh you are British, just as British as me? Hiss.

    When I lived in the UK, I was comfortably a 4, definitely. I loved Nigeria, even when I heard another disparaging commentary about my country, I would be quick to mention Nigerians who were doing "big things" to counteract the bad news. Now that I am in Nigeria though? I would say 2.5. Living with the reality of all the NUMEROUS ways that Nigeria/Nigerians will break your heart is on a whole different level. But I have that continuous hope and faith that Nigeria/Nigerians will be better

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  7. 2. That's my score. When i was outside Nigeria though i may have been at 3.

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  8. Just read Young grumblers comment. My feelings exactly.
    Does this mean you will ever hear me bad mouthing Nigeria/Nigerians to a non-NIgerian? Never, but yea, not so patriotic.

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  9. Kai, that woman no try o. You don't run down your own family, no matter how bad. The truth is that we really have no other country, no matter how far we run. Thank God I wasn't there, cos I would have jumped into serious defense, that they'll thing Goodluck is my father.

    This is one of the reasons I wrote the NID post, cos almost all my family and friends outside Nigeria never failed to remind me how bad Nigeria is, as if the white man will come and repair it for them.

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  10. we are always proud of our own country...
    no matter how bad.

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  11. Definitely a 2 or less here on the patriotism scale - and for good reason I think! Being a minority in a minority state has only put some context to just how unequal Nigeria is for some of us.

    These days my eyes-glazed-over, frothing-at-the-mouth patriotic side has been ground into submission by my hard-nosed inner pragmatist... I won't be bad mouthing the country to all and sundry though.. That's just irresponsible.

    Very good point Naijalines makes - if all you listen to is the news there's no safe/good place to live.

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  12. Very unnecessary, u should have given her a hug when she finished her tirade. I am with mizchif per the rating. I am probably a 2 on a good day and thenup it a notch usually when i am out of the country

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  13. I would be 2 on the patriotism scale, really Nigeria is so depressing nowadays and yes, I would not run Nigeria down like your colleague but then again, the daily sad news is not encouraging at all.

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  14. Sigh... It is well with Nigeria... Sometimes I feel patriotic, at others, I don't but I would down-talk my country in the midst of foreigners. Every country "has their own".

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  15. What struck me is her comments are an insult to the other Nigerians sitting around the table! I would probably have said "Um, I'm Nigerian, and I don't engage in any of those dishonest things", just to get her to take back (or clarify) her far too general statement.

    Well articulated and very thought-provoking words, m'dear!

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  16. Super Proud to be nigerian!! Actually, I get a lot of beef at work for saying I am nigerian when I am technically American cuz I was born here. Either way, she was wrong but you can tell she’s coming from a place of bitterness. Lets be honest as much as we rep our country, our country hardly loves us back!

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  17. What can I say?

    Sometimes I'm at 4 other times I'm at 1.
    Mostly 2.1.

    As for the little girl...the British Nigerian I mean, it's just ignorance...scratch that. Stupidity personified.

    Adebolajo taught he was British till he killed a real Brit. He became BRITISH NIGERIAN sharply!

    I love my country, however, I do not love her blindly. I am not blind to her many faults. Hopefully (Sometimes, I'm not so hopeful), she's gon' be alright.

    That is my prayer.

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