This post is 7 days late, blame it on network. Enjoy!
Last night, I was listening to the radio and all they were playing were songs about Nigeria and peace and unity. OAPs reading shout outs, wishing Nigeria the best and all that. I really didn’t plan on writing anything for today being Independence Day, but listening to the songs and everything made me feel some high level of patriotism I haven’t felt in a long while. I won’t lie, I won’t sit down here and paint myself as the most patriotic Nigerian ever because I’m not. To be honest, most times when the issue of Nigeria comes up, the things that comes to mind are : corruption, bad leaders, poverty, terrorism, security. Nobody uses ‘insufficient electricity’ ‘poor infrastructures’ anymore, too much grammar. It’s ‘no light’, ‘bad roads’. Tell me you’re Nigerian and as a little child you never shouted “Up Nepa!”. The first time I heard my three years old cousin shout “Up Nepa!” I was beyond weak. True sometimes this country doesn’t give you much to believe in, or hope for. True some wait for college, for Masters or a visa lottery so they can ‘check out’ ( it’s not like I haven’t had the same thoughts), but the truth is no matter where you go, no matter the type of accent you acquire, le boo you have Nigerian blood flowing in your veins. When the idea to an article about Nigeria popped up in my head I thought to myself, what will I write that people haven’t heard before. “One Nigeria” “I believe in Nigeria” “I will stand and fight for what I believe in”… So instead of wearing green and white today , I ask myself what has Nigeria given me that I’m thankful for.
Firstly, Nigeria has given me a family that I am very thankful for. I have the most wonderful friends ever, everyone of them I met in Nigeria. I’m Igbo, my native language is beautiful, my culture is rich and I am more than proud of it. KFC ain’t got nothing on pounded yam and egusi soup. If you think clubs abroad have the best parties, then you have never attended a party thrown by a proper Yoruba man. Until you meet my brothers in Alaba, then you haven’t met a real entrepreneur. You think twerking or the booty pop is the real deal? Meet a Calabar or an Igbo girl. Fulani girls could easily become muses for doll makers. Most of all Nigeria has given me a place to call home. A place I can run too. Almost every year, Christmas is spent in my home town. Call me weird but there’s this serenity I get seeing red earth and I know I’m home. I know I may go some places and get looked down upon but never there. Nigeria has given me that place.
In my opinion, we Nigerians are known for our strenght, our faith. It is true that our unity has been tested more than once. Being Nigerian is the only nationality we have. Yes we may ask what exactly are we fighting for? What promises does this country hold? It’s hard to keep on believing in something when people who once stood with you now sit. They say my generation is wasted, but I choose to disagree. I believe from my generation will emerge better leaders. I believe my children will never say “Up Nepa!”, it would all be in a ‘once upon a time in Nigeria…’ story. If I don’t believe in me, who’s going to? If I don’t believe in Nigeria, who’s going to? If I don’t stand up against unfair practices, who will? If I decide not to fight against corruption, who will? It’s not going to be easy but we can try.
I want to raise children who will be proud to say anywhere that they’re Nigerian because I’m proud that I’m Nigerian. It might seem like Nigeria hasn’t given me much but I can give back the little it has given me by believing in it. So yes, I believe in my Nigeria.