Great Things About Nigeria, Which Every Nigerian Should Be Proud Of! By Aishat Ibrahim
Nigeria, an officially democratic secular country on the Gulf of Guinea, is a federal republic in West Africa. It is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, owing to its large population and economy, with approximately 184 million inhabitants. The existence of some basic factors that make this country great cannot be overemphasized. It is then imperative to mention few of such undoubted constituents of this great nation.
Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy and an emerging market with its abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed agricultural sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange) – which is the second largest in Africa (Nairametrics, 2017). Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) worth 405.10 billion USA dollars in 2016 (Trading Economics, 2017). Nigeria is the 14th largest producer, the 8th largest exporter of petroleum in the world (Business Insider, 2017), and has the 10th largest proven reserves (CEOWORLD Magazine, 2017). Nigeria also has a wide array of underexploited mineral resources, which include natural gas, coal, bauxite, tantalite, gold, tin, iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc.
Major crops produced by Nigeria include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, groundnuts, gum arabic, kolanut, maize (corn), melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, sorghum, soybeans, yams, leather, which is the leading non-oil foreign exchange earner, as well as cocoa, which is the second-largest non-oil foreign exchange earner (Foraminifera Market Research, 2016).
- Security and Law
The national security agencies of Nigeria are charged with protecting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, promoting Nigeria’s global security interests, supporting peacekeeping efforts, especially in West Africa. Hence, the Nigerian military as well as other security authorities have gone a long way in protecting lives and properties as well as innovating new security standards, which have qualified them for security awards at home and abroad. In November 2017, at least 230 Nigeria peacekeeping troops serving under the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) were awarded the United Nations peacekeepers medal in recognition of their contributions to peace and stability in Liberia. Also, Nigeria has become the only country in Africa to have its two airports attain Global Safety Standard certified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the only country in West Africa sub-region with internationally certified airports; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and Murtala Muhammed International Airport (PositiveNaija, 2017). Similarly, Digital Encode (Nigeria’s consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other information technology infrastructures), emerged winner as the best information security management consultancy in West Africa, and also received excellence award for security assessments from a United Kingdom group (Corporate Vision), during its 2017 Technology Innovator Award.
- Science and Technology
Nigeria has one of the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world. Major market operators like MTN, Airtel, 9moble and Globacom, have profited in doing business in the country. Nigeria has space satellites (The NigeriaSAT-1, NigeriaSAT-2, NigeriaSAT-X, NIGCOMSAT-1 ), which are monitored at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) headquarters in Abuja. These satellites have made data available to Nigeria and the world for resource mapping, disaster management, environmental monitoring, sustainable development, food security as well as many applications. These are vital to the development of various sectors of the economy such as petroleum, solid minerals, forestry, land administration, transport and aviation, environment, security and defense, tourism, census, health, and water resources (National Space Research and Development Agency, 2017). Nigerians have also innovated various technologies that have called for awards at home and abroad. Technologies such as MekaMonsters, the world first gaming robots created by Silas Adekunle, which intertwines gaming with STEM education. Godwin Benson also developed Tuteria – a personalized learning tutoring app that links qualified tutors to student in their area and within their budget. Similarly, in other to take cocoa farming to large scale industrial dimension, Olusegun Arowolo in 2017, invented a cocoa pod breaking machine to boost the production of the commodity in the market.
The need for manufacturing cannot be overestimated as the world is full of raw materials, which cannot be utilized in their raw states. This has led to the creation of manufacturing companies that are able to process these raw materials into valuable finished products. Nigeria in recent years has been embracing industrialization. Nigeria has manufacturing industries amongst which are Dangote group, which is the largest in Africa (Nigerian Finder, 2017), known for the production of sugar, steel, cement, oil and gas, etc.; the Nigerian breweries, known for the production of beverages such as malta gold, climax energy, heineken, ace passion, etc.; Nestle Nigeria, the biggest food company in the world (Nigerian Finder, 2017), known for the production of infant foods, soup and sauces, frozen and refrigerated foods, bottled water, etc.; Flour Mills of Nigeria, which produce Golden Penny flours that is popular among bakeries, consumers and confectioneries in Nigeria. Nigeria, also have an indigenous auto manufacturing company; Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing located in Nnewi, Anambra State, which has metamorphosed into a continental business venture. It is known for producing buses and SUVs (PositiveNaija, 2017).
- Health and Environment
The Nigerian health care system, functions to provide quality stewardship and services for the health of all Nigerians. Nigerian’s adequate and timely medical care to its citizens through providing health care facilities and centers cannot be overemphasized. The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), provides social health insurance to Nigeria to improve the health of all Nigerians at an affordable cost. On children’s health and nutrition interventions, the Federal Government of Nigeria, in October 2012 launched the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) initiative, in response to the poor health outcomes in the country, particularly for mothers and children. One of the strategies the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) deployed to address a continuous uninterrupted availability of these health products is the set up of the national product supply chain management program, domiciled in the department of food and drugs services to champion effective and efficient supply management system. The program collaborates with all programs and projects within the FMoH especially the HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, reproductive health and vaccines programs to ensure effective management of the respective supply chain systems and proper handling of products in a professionally compliant manner.
The Nigerian health care system, does not only function to provide adequate and timely medical care but also track, monitor, and control disease outbreak. In 2012, a new bone marrow donor program was launched by a group; bone marrow donors registry research group, from the university of Nigeria, to help people with leukaemia, lymphoma, or sickle cell disease to find a compatible donor for a life-saving bone marrow transplant, which cures them of their conditions. Nigeria became the second African country to have successfully carried out this surgery (Wikipedia, 2017). In the 2014 ebola outbreak, Nigeria was the first country to effectively contain and eliminate the ebola threat that was ravaging three other countries in the West African region (Wikipedia, 2017). Nigerian unique method of contact tracing became an effective method later used by countries, such as the United States of America, that had to send experts to study Nigeria’s anti-ebola strategies (The Punch, 2014). In May 2017, the African centre of excellence for genomics of infectious diseases of Redeemer’s University developed ebola & lassa test kits, which are able to detect the virus in human body fluids in 10 minutes (PositiveNaija, 2017). A Nigerian (Rotimi Fadiya), is one of the team of four of bioengineering undergraduates from Ontario’s McMaster University to develop a skin cancer-detecting device (sKan) that won the 2017 international James Dyson Award. sKan, a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world, is made from widely available and inexpensive components and can possibly make detection of skin cancer more accessible. Nigerian health experts are indeed, diligently performing their duties and are been honored within Nigeria and beyond.
Education has been recognized as a basic human right since the 1948 adoption of the universal declaration of human rights. The education system in Nigeria is divided into kindergarten, primary education, secondary education and tertiary education, etc. and they are overseen by the Ministry of Education. 68% of the Nigerian population are literate (Wikipedia, 2017). The Federal Government of Nigeria, on 30th September 1999 in Sokoto State, launched and executed the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme to eradicate illiteracy, ignorance and poverty as well as stimulate and accelerate national development, political consciousness and national integration. This programme that exists up till now, is Nigeria’s strategy for the achievement of Education for All (EFA) and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) now Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Nigerians are blessed with intelligent minds, which have made them to innovate, participate in different kinds of competitions, thereby receiving different awards for educative and innovative purposes. Some of which are; in November 2017, a mobile application, mAcademy was developed by Bilyak Consulting Firm to enable students, teachers, and parents access past questions of school and professional examinations, curricula and other key information in the education sector. A 24-year-old Nigerian Doctor, Toluwalase Awoyemi, emerged winner of the 2018 Rhodes scholarships for West Africa, an achievement that has made Toluwalase to be joining 93 other “scholar-elects” from around the world to commence studies at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom in October 2018. Also, The Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) was in 2017, designated as a centre of excellence in geology and geophysical studies by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). FUTA would now, on behalf of the board, carry out research activities relevant to the needs of the oil and gas industry in pursuant to section 36 -39 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act. Similarly, Nigerian students are emerging overall best in their endeavors as a result of their extraordinary performance in their academic pursuit in various institutions across the globe: Chinasa Ufodu emerged the 2017 overall best graduating student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka from department of Pharmacy with a CGPA of 4.903 on scale of 5.00; Samiat Owo-Alade, emerged the best-graduating pharmacy student with the highest score of 75.5 percent at the Rajiv Ghandi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, India [2016/2017]; Folafoluwa Oginni emerged the best graduating student from the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, after she finished her Law degree with a perfect score of 5.0 GP ; to mention but a few. Nigerians are also becoming the first youngest lecturers in various institutions outside the country; Salihu Dasuki became the youngest senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom in November 2017; and 24-year-old Nemitari Ajienka emerged the youngest lecturer at Edge Hill University in the United Kingdom in November, 2017.
Nigerian secondary schools have been receiving prizes of achievements of West African Examination Council excellence, through producing the best overall result in the Council. 2013 WAEC best performing school was Nigerian Turkish International College, Kaduna, 2015 was Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja and in 2016, Lumen Christi International High School, Edo State, emerged the overall best performing school in the country by clinching the Augustus Bandele Oyediran trophy for producing the best overall results (PositiveNaija, 2017).
Hence, it is imperative to note that great education & innovation are the hallmark of Nigeria and Nigerians globally.
- Arts, Media and Entertainment
Nigerian citizens have authored many influential works of literature. Nigeria’s best-known writers are Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Laureate in Literature, and Chinua Achebe, best known for the novel, Things Fall Apart, which is Africa’s most popular and best selling literary piece ever, translated into over 40 languages across Africa and the World (Wikipedia, 2017).
Nigeria has had a huge role in the development of various genres of African music, including West African highlife, Afrobeat, and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques that have been linked to the Congo, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica and several other countries. In November 2008, Nigeria’s music scene (and that of Africa) received international attention when MTV hosted the continent’s first African music awards show in Abuja. Additionally, the very first music video played on MTV Base Africa (the 100th station in the MTV network) was Tuface Idibia‘s pan-African hit “African Queen” (Wikipedia, 2017).
The Nigerian film industry is known as Nollywood and it is now the second largest film industry by production in the world (Sahara Reporters, 2015). Major Nigerian film studios are based in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Enugu, forming a major portion of the local economy of these cities. Nigerian cinema is Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of both value and the number of movies produced per year, placing it ahead of the United States (Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2017). This film industry however, has been aided by the rise of affordable digital filming and editing technologies.
Nigerians have won various awards within Nigeria and beyond with respect to arts, media and entertainment. Some of which are: Jowhor Ile who became the first Nigerian to win the Etisalat Literature Prize in 2016 for his book “And after Many Days” that depicts originality of voice, literary excellence and African sensibility. Premium Times’ Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, and award-winning freelance investigative journalist, Emmanuel Mayah, also have jointly won the 2017 edition of the Global Shining Light Awards that honors investigative journalism conducted in a developing or transitioning country, done under threat, duress, or in the direst of conditions. Femi Asu and Jesusegun Alagbe have also won the 2017 West Africa Media Excellence Awards organised by the media foundation for West Africa to honour excellence in print, online and broadcast journalism in West Africa.
Leadership, which is inherently value-based is concerned with fostering change. Nigeria operates the democratic system of government often defined as the government of the people by the people and for the people. Looking at leadership and governance in Nigeria, this great nation strives to breed beautifully reflected pace-setters who are participatory, responsive, accountable, effective, equitable, efficient, and transparent based on the rule of law. The Nigerian governance system ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in the society and that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision-making over the allocation of resources. Example of such is the implementation of The Federal Government of Nigeria’s youth empowerment program (Npower). As a matter of fact, the greatness of Nigeria’s leadership has gone beyond the country as Nigerians are now holding sensitive positions across the continent and beyond. For instance, Nigeria emerging new Chair of the Gulf of Guinea Commission; Tunde Fowler, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), been elected as 1st vice chairman of the United Nations committee of experts on international cooperation in tax matters commission; Nigeria winning a re-election into the UN Human Rights Council; etc.
Football is largely considered Nigeria’s national sport and the country has its own premier league of football (The Nigerian Professional Football League – NPFL). Nigeria’s national football team, known as the “Super Eagles”, has participated in the Football World Cup on five occasions 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, and most recently in 2014. In April 1994, the Super Eagles ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest ranking achieved by an African football team. They won the African Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994, and 2013, and have also hosted the U-17 & U-20 World Cup. They won the gold medal for football in the 1996 Summer Olympics (in which they beat Argentina) becoming the first African football team to win gold in Olympic Football. According to the official May 2010 FIFA World Rankings, Nigeria was the second top-ranked football nation in Africa and the 21st highest in the world. Nigeria is also involved in other sports such as basketball, boxing, weightlifting, etc. Nigeria has claimed many victories in the line of sport, some of which are; Nigerian weightlifters winning 18 medals in the 2017 African Junior/Youths Weightlifting Championship in Uganda, Nigerian Bobsled Women becoming the first African team to qualify in the Bobsled category for the bobsled event at the 2018 Winter Olympics Games in PyeongChang, 7 Nigerians emerging confederation of African football standing committee members in 2017 to pilot the affairs of the continental governing body for the next two years, amongst others.
In conclusion, it is therefore not difficult to see that a country so blessed with the aforementioned cannot be but be regarded a great nation. Nigeria is therefore a great nation! LONG LIVE NIGERIA!
*This essay was written by Aishat Ibrahim on the 9th of June 2017.