How Great Is Nigeria! By Mpamugo Chinedu Christian
Good People, Great Nation
Besides in the setting of the slogan of the 2009 rebranding exercise and on a few other occasions, it is currently not common to see the word ‘great’ employed to describe Nigeria positively. The slogan itself is now scarsely heard, possibly more out of perceived inappropriateness than out of advancement beyond 2009. Indeed many headlines about the country today are those which, like a painter’s brush, successfully add successive layers of uncertainty and ugliness over her image. Unfortunately, Nigeria and Nigerians have become known for many unpleasant reasons. Widespread and deep-seated corruption, nepotism, misappropriation of public resources, insecurity of life and property especially due to militancy and terror, high unemployment and an unstable economy are realities which confront Nigeria. Adding to these bad governance at various levels, the weakness of basic infrastructure like education and health, poverty due to unequal distribution of wealth, continuous ethnic and religious tension and mistrust, and the surge in the level of crime, it is obvious that the concerns of well-meaning Nigerians are serious and sincere.
However, despite all that besets Nigeria, she remains a great nation, and considering the existing national situation as a challenge against the full exhibition of this greatness rather than as a permanent rotten state is necessary for making meaningful progress. The truth remains that issues pertaining to the country have not always been this way. Like Jide Olanrewaju in his documentary The Story of Nigeria said, there was a time when Nigerians were respected and even honoured everywhere they went. There was a time when the significance of Nigeria was evident in many areas of nationhood. Hence, thankfully, although her greatness may not be very apparent today, although it may have been masked for so long, it has not been lost. The matter therefore should not be to keep mourning and complaining over what has become of Nigeria, but to look carefully and see what makes her great still, for, among other things, this will form a basis on which to anchor the hope for a better country.
Describing Nigeria as great is beyond a sentimental decision; it is a fact. Many factors make her the great nation she is. Some of them involves the exploits of certain Nigerians who have shone in many different fields. These exemplary Nigerians are a testament to the fact that every Nigerian and indeed Nigeria as a country has the capacity to shine.
The Nigerian Spirit
The fact of being a Nigerian is something every Nigerian should be proud of. The patience of the Nigerian people in the face of difficulty, the continued perseverance despite all the negatives and the fact that Nigerians find a reason to laugh in every situation make Nigerians a very happy people. Nigerians have an innate resilience, something that just makes them able to raise their heads in the face of opposition and prevail. Nigerians are hardworking people, they do not give up on their dreams.
This is a land where opportunities in many areas abound. Though not without some setbacks, the Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa, with very numerous chances in many different fields like commerce and trade.
Culture and Diversity
With hundreds of cultures and ethnic groups, Nigeria certainly stands tall as the home of diversity. Nigeria is home to various tribes, languages, festivals and so much more. Very interestingly, Nigeria is also a place of very many mouthwatering dishes, each unique in an amazing way. For instance, while the Yorubas in the southwest are owners of delicious delicacies like amala and ewedu, the Ibibio are the experts in Afang, and those from the Niger Delta possess the famous banga soup with pounded yam.
Nigeria has numerous sound minds in various areas like medicine, politics, law, economics, technology and many other fields. Both home and abroad, Nigerians continue to excel in these very many fields of endeavour. Nigerian scholars continue to stand out everywhere they go. The very fact that Nigerians are the most educated immigrant community in the United States of America says a lot of good things about the country. Geniuses like Philip Emeagwali and Jelani Aliyu are Nigerians who have excelled exceedingly in invention and technology.
Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry continues to impress and improve in terms of quality, consistency and production rate. As the largest movie industry in Africa and one of the largest worldwide, not only does Nollywood employ many Nigerians, it has also produced great movie actors, actresses, directors, producers among others. The world over, Nigerian movies are celebrated for their entertainment value.
In modelling, the likes of Agbani Darego and Oluchi are world renowned models who have displayed excellence in their crafts.
Like the movie industry, the music industry in Nigeria is the biggest in Africa and one of the most vibrant worldwide. Multiple award-winning musical acts from Nigeria have gone on to make their voices heard both nationally and abroad. Musicians such as Onyeka Onwenu, Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade were prominent internationally in time past. Currently, with a relatively new group of musicians such as the multiple award-winning Timi Dakolo and the sensational soul singer Asa, Nigerian music continues to dominate.
The human resources and the people
As the most populous black nation with over 160 million people, Nigeria does not fall short on the issue of human resources. Nigeria also has a large proportion of young people who constitute the workforce as indeed there is strength in number.
Ecology and Agriculture
The beauty of Nigeria does not lie in just the pleasant nature of her land but also in the delightable variety in her geography. Exploring from the savannah regions upnorth to the green hills of Enugu and to the rich rainforests and rivers of the Delta, it is obvious that there is something special about the Nigerian landscape. Nigeria also has a favourable weather and climate which also promotes agriculture and makes for a comfortable environment.
With flourishing agriculture evidenced by healthy crop and livestock farming, confirming the green colour on the national flag, Nigeria is a place to be proud about.
Nigeria had a major role in the development of Africa and the liberation of the continent from colonization and black segregation. Eminent Nigerians like Sir Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Obafemi Awolowo played prominent roles, not only in the Nigerian cause. With some of the earlier pan-Africanists and political heads such as Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta, they advanced the African cause for self-determination and progress. Nigerians like these are a source of inspiration and pride.
Nigeria is well endowed with natural resources. Most apparent amongst the resources involved is petroleum, with Nigeria, very rich in oil, being a major part of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Apart from the obvious resources such as petroleum abundant in the south-south of the country and coal plentiful in Enugu state, there abounds more resources in Nigeria.
Many of Nigeria’s resources are good commodities for export and business and are a source of income and foreign exchange.
Intelligent literary icons who have etched their names and the name of their country in gold are not rare. Individuals like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Isidore Okpewho, Elechi Amadi, Helon Habila, Femi Osofisan, Buchi Emecheta, Flora Nwapa and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are Nigerians who have successfully become outstanding and recognized. This is another evidence of the intelligence and excellence that resides innately in the Nigerian, a reason for all Nigerians to hold their heads and shoulders high.
Chioma Ajunwa, Nwankwo Kanu, Blessing Okagbare and Austin Okocha are just a few of the many whose exploits in the sporting world has put Nigeria on the map of sporting nations. Still, Nigeria continues to produce successful athletes such as Safiya Yahaya-Kongoila and Kelechi Iheanacho. Being the only African nation to ever win an Olympic football tournament is a feat to proud about. Sports in NIgeria has grown as a unifying factor has thrived and continues to be a source of happiness and engagement to her citizens.
The hope that still lives
Despite all that has transpired in the history of Nigeria, the very fact that Nigeria still stands as a nation is a reason to smile. Every Nigerian must be proud of the greatness that they hold on the inside. Indeed, the excellence that any country would have is the result of the summation of the individual greatness within her citizens. If Nigeria still has persons of greatness in it, then there is hope for a better day for all concerned.
In every endeavour, in every sphere, heroes abound who make Nigeria and the whole of Africa proud. Nigeria is great because her citizens are great and are the standard for many .The horses on the Nigeria coat of arms represent dignity and the eagle, strength. These virtues in Nigerians are indications of greatness.
Indeed we are a great nation of good people.
I am a medical student at University of Nigeria.
I love to write.
I love Nigeria.