NIGERIA@57: Love, Hate or Confused

Nigeria is an awesome country. It is a place of rich history, endless opportunity, amazing resilience with an inexplicable capacity to absorb shocks that have splintered many a nation. As Nigeria marks its 57th year of independence from British colonial rule, here are 57 things that make you love or hate Nigeria, or simply leave you confused. They are listed in no particular order.

Things to hate:

  1. Lack of patriotism
  1. Weak and ineffective national institutions
  1. Insecurity
  1. Corruption
  1. Epileptic power supply
  1. Poor knowledge or application of the country’s History.
  1. Death-trap roads.
  1. Unaffordable healthcare.
  1. Dysfunctional education
  1. High rates of violence against women and girls
  1. Discrimination on the basis of religion, gender and ethnicity
  1. High maternal mortality rates
  1. Millions of persons internally displaced
  1. Lack of capacity to deal with natural disasters such as floods and erosion.
  1. Millions of children out of school
  1. Millions of young people unemployed
  1. Many civil servants do not get paid for months
  1. Children do not know our Heroes and Sheroes. When you ask about Obafemi  Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Ahmadu Bello, they respond with ‘Who are they’?
  1. Discipline and good manners are becoming a thing of the past. Once upon a time, parents would slap you for something you did not know you did wrong. Today young and old alike do not know right from wrong.
  1. Rumour mongering. If you are not careful, a rumour will kill you, bury you and describe the location of your tomb before you wake up.
  1. The lazy, get rich quick crowd who keep fueling stereotypes of Nigerians as fraudsters and ritualists.
  1. For most salary earners, expenses always exceed income. Even when you have a bonus or unexpected windfall from a side business, it will coincide with when a storm will blow your roof away or your elderly grandmother will decide to die that month.
  1. To have some sanity in Nigeria, if you can afford it, you have to be your own local government. This means you grade your own road, provide your own electricity, water, education for your children and healthcare. Yes, you still have to pay tax.

This list of hates is getting too long so let us move on to things that confuse – or amuse:

  1. The poor pay more tax than the rich
  1. The church member on an Okada pays tithes for his Pastor to drive a Limousine
  1. You can win an election from the comfort of your prison cell
  1. Policemen take selfies with their ‘VIP criminals’
  1. In some places, ‘Stomach infrastructure’ is more important than physical infrastructure and development
  1. Nigerian English. Forget the ‘Queen’s English’. Nigerian English allows you to ’source for funding’ and ‘borrow me your book’.
  1. One of Nigeria’s main exports is Christianity, centuries after it was imported into the country.
  1. There are more churches on many streets in the Southern part of the country than there are restaurants to eat.
  1. Nigeria has the highest alcohol consumption rate in Africa.
  1. Many Chairmen of the National Union of Road Workers and Transporters (NURTW) are richer than Professors and Bank Managers.
  1. An agency in Nigeria (JAMB) can record more revenue in one year than in the past forty years put together.
  1. There is a Yoruba saying, ‘If you are left in charge of a bird’s nest, it is okay to help yourself to some eggs’. For some in leadership, this translates into eating the eggs, nest, the bird laying the eggs, the tree, and the land it stands on.
  1. Everyone claims to hear from God. Politicians ‘hear from God’ as they decide to contest elections. Business people are ‘directed by God’ as they decide to invest in businesses they know little about.
  1. People believe anything. An armed robber can turn into a goat. A preacher can convince parents that their child is a witch. A crippled beggar can steal a man’s penis.

 

Regardless of the number of things we have to complain about, there are some things we simply love. These are a few of them:

  1. Community solidarity and philanthropy. All year round, people mobilise to support one another or their communities with whatever they have.
  1. Every year, during graduation season, there is news of a Nigerian graduate with amazing results from institutions around the world.
  1. There are always inspiring stories of human endeavor and sacrifice. A woman selling fish manages to put a son through university. A woman selling corn manages to train five graduates.
  1. Jollof Rice!
  1. Pounded Yam and Egusi Soup with bush meat (before the Ebola scare)
  1. Cold, freshly tapped palm-wine
  1. Street food such as roasted corn, roasted plantains, Suya, Akara, Dodo, Gala
  1. Fish or goat meat pepper soup.
  1. Old school music – Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Victor Uwaifo, Victor Olaiya, Dan Maraya, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Bongos Ikwue, Mamman Shatta, late Christy Essien, Onyeka Onwenu and others
  1. New school music – Davido, Dbanj, WhizKid, Olamide, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade and so on.
  1. Nollywood – all the good. Ignore the bad and the ugly
  1. Comedians don’t need to look far for material. There is something to laugh about every day.
  1. Fashion. Nigerians are right up there as pace-setters, creators and consumers. You can’t beat Nigerian ‘Slay Mamas’ on a red carpet!
  1. The Nigerian Wedding -colourful, over the top, entertaining, you name it. Our weddings rock and they should qualify as a tourist attraction.
  1. The Nigerian funeral (for the elderly) too qualifies as a tourist attraction.
  1. Aso Ebi (family uniform): This is symbolic of how Nigerians have seamlessly adopted each other’s culture for their own use.
  1. Nigeria’s many official tourist attractions such as Olumo Rock, Yankari Reserve, Obudu Mountain Resort, Ikogosi Warm Springs in Ekiti, and so on.
  1. Agriculture – everything grows in Nigeria.
  1. Mineral resources – Nigeria is blessed with so much under the ground. There is life beyond oil.
  1. The Naija Spirit. It is a spirit of enterprise, industry and creativity, driven by courage and boldness. It is what keeps the nation running and is the glue that binds the country together in spite of the seemingly disparate parts. This is hopefully the spirit that will keep the country on track and on the path to greatness. Naija will survive!

 

Happy Independence day. Have a great week.

 

 Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20 Responses to NIGERIA@57: Love, Hate or Confused

  1. Femi Diipo October 2, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Wow!!! What a list. I was thinking of what could have been left out but I believe this just generally cuts it. Sadly, there’s more to detest than to admire. So I’ll just add my own piece of hoping like every Nigeria “E go better” Happy independence people

    Reply
  2. Dom Dom October 2, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Trying to imagine the amount of effort and imagination it must have taken to compile this, one may be forced to assume they are all very apparent but the truth is that this is a very intelligent and all encompassing list. Well done ma’am. May the good outscore the bad next year. Happy independence

    Reply
  3. Oluwatosino October 2, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Happy independence my people…
    Welldone ma for taking your time to compile this list. Love, Hate or Confused indeed oo.
    We can only keep blessing God for his faithfulness so far despite the many hateful things and so many confusing situations. May God have his way sha.
    Happy Independence once again ooo and An Awesome month ahead

    Reply
  4. Samuel October 3, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Happy Independence Nigeria. Truly the Naija spirit is so evident in our day to day lives. What caps it up for me is the popular slogan “It is well.” Nigeria, we hail thee.

    Reply
  5. Olakunle Olajide October 3, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Nigeria @57. We have really gone a long way. But the question is are we learning while growing or it is a growth without maturity. So many things are lacking and that is the reason the hate is so enormous compared to the love. And of course, the state of our beloved country still remains confusing to me. Anyway, we still wish our beloved country Happy Independence.

    Reply
  6. Amarachi Isiguzo October 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

    This is beautiful. I wish every Nigerian and non-Nigerian would be read this. Really, a lot of things in this wonderful country of ours, confuse me. We truly are unique. Happy Independence!

    Reply
  7. Perpetua Dandeson October 3, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I don’t think I’ve read such a beautiful juxtaposition.
    One thing I love about Nigeria is her ever-jovial people. We know how to amuse ourselves in the midst of turmoils. This is good, otherwise, the body count would grow immensely. But what can we do to make Nigeria better?

    Reply
  8. Bisola Cole October 3, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Wow. Such a great outline but then, we have so many bad things and some are just amusingly bad. May God save us and help us to be change agents. God bless Nigeria

    Reply
  9. Bisi Alawode October 3, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Rumorrrrrrrrrrrrrr oooo. we can spread rumors a lot in this country. It’s pathetic that we have so many bad things but we are hopeful that it will get better. Being at the platform event yesterday, I saw a glimpse of a better tomorrow for us as a nation. I know we will get there.

    Reply
  10. Victor Udoh October 3, 2017 at 10:53 am

    In fact, You nailed it as usual ma. All these things are obvious to all of us. The way forward is what we buttress us and the willingness to be intentional about the process. Simple traffic laws we disobey.

    Reply
  11. Yvonne Olayiwola October 3, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Ma, you forgot to add that Nigerians are always in a hurry. loool.

    Reply
  12. DSEED October 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I have always long for a better Nigeria. There is no lies in your write up ma. Hopefully by his grace we will get there and the glory of the latter will be more than the former. God bless Nigeria

    Reply
  13. Shola Ademide October 5, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    May we be open to work out the ills of this country and make Nigeria great again.

    Reply
  14. Sir Lukman October 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    God bless this country and please let us allow men of good character and value come in to lead us and not rule us. There’s a difference between leadership and rulership. We need to practice genuine democracy in this nation. God bless Nigeria and God bless you ma.

    Reply
  15. colette idris October 5, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    If only we start the change we want within ourselves. We want to see what we cannot work for? It’s impossible. If every Nigerian decides to work on character, productivity,responsibility and accountability. We will flourish just like we once did.

    The wreck we have here is because we are wrecked in Character.

    Reply
  16. Phillips Mba October 5, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I pray we work on these things even as we read them. We must really start working. I was at event last week and this great woman came to speak and you can see that she exhibits everything she preaches. I hope we all learn to work as living examples. This is what we help us in building the nation.

    Reply
  17. Branny October 8, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Nice write up ma’am, u crossed the T’s and dotted the I’S . God bless Nigeria.

    Reply
  18. Ebonychyqui2 October 8, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Ma’am what about the Nigeria where people can eventually get everything they need in the traffic jams? Be it food stuffs, clothing, even rat poison. LMAO #proudlyniger#

    Reply
  19. Princess October 8, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    The entirety of a better Nigeria is the Spirit of resilience which we portray. God bless Nigeria.

    Reply
  20. Akpes October 8, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Happy 57th anniversary to my Father land Nigeria, the only country when people suffer and smile.

    Reply

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