The Love of a Nigerian! By Iteire Afor Darlington
I am proud to be Nigerian. I love Nigeria. I love my fatherland. Despite the pessimism bedeviling the nation, prompting some to ask the question, “What is there to love?” My answer to that is, “WHAT IS THERE NOT TO LOVE?”
First was the birth of a new nation following the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria on January 1, 1914. This created a new bond where strangers became brothers and foreigners became countrymen. Shaping a new appearance on the world map, but more patent was the unity with which the founding fathers sought to build a nation –their nation, ignoring ethnic differences and selfish interests to work together so as to become an independent nation. The success of this movement is bedrock upon their enormous sacrifices.
Also to love is the climate and land. Even though Nigeria is placed totally within the tropical region, it still has a kind climate with the temperature on the average rarely exceeding 320C (900F). The high fertility of Nigerian lands is also genial. In 1990, it was discovered that about 82 million hectares out of the total land area of about 91 million hectares were arable lands. Added to the arability of the land is its beauty. With many top attractions ranging from the Obudu cattle ranch in Calabar, to the Ikogosi warm spring in Ekiti (a spring where warm water flows side by side with a cool spring); there is also the Idanre hills located in Ondo state which portrays the architectural strength of nature at its very best and many other top attractions too numerous to mention, all within the 923,768km2 area of land mass in Nigeria which is heavily laden with mineral resources, the Nigerian environment is a very serene environment to its citizens and sojourners alike.
More amiable than the lands are the Nigerian people. The average Nigerian is kind, accommodating, resilient and compassionate. In various spheres of life, this fact has been portrayed by Nigerians at different levels. Nigeria and Nigerians have shown their resilience by still being united and strong despite the calamitous occurrences encountered within the nation over the years, which have both threatened the peace and unity of the nation as well as its democracy. This die-hard tolerance is the reason why the average Nigerian can acclimate anywhere they may go in search of greener pastures within or outside the nation.
The cooperative and well-meaning nature of the nation has been evident since its independence. Following that time, Nigeria has focused on Africa unity and independence. Often tagged the “Giant of Africa”, Nigeria has used this influence to ensure a more united Africa. Being one of the founding members of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) now called African Union (AU), Nigeria has never shied away from stepping in when necessary to bring a calm in African nations when crises arises. Nigeria has had a positive impact on every African nation directly or indirectly (in rare cases); a feat that no other African nation can lay claim to. Even in the face of a colossal economic turbulence faced by the nation in 2016, the current President of Nigeria in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari showed the benign and well-meaning nature of the average Nigerian when he said that the economic challenges encountered by the nation will not deter her from performing her helping functions to other nations.
Nigeria is a nation of heroes and heroines. The likes of General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.) who brought to an end a painful military era in Nigeria by peacefully transitioning power from the military to a democracy in 1999, thereby heeding to the hankers of Nigerians who sought a democratic setting which represented freedom to the people (the dividends of which is still being enjoyed till this day) will never be forgotten. In the same vein, no better example of a heroic act by a Nigerian can be given than the life of Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh. She showed the true Nigerian spirit when she curbed a wider spread of the Ebola virus outbreak in the year 2014 in Nigeria by placing the index case on quarantine (despite not having adequate protective equipment), preventing him from leaving the hospital so he could receive adequate medical attention, not minding if she possibly contracted the viral disease (which she did). She paid the ultimate price, but her actions helped in bringing the Ebola virus outbreak to a complete halt in Nigeria. A plethora of other examples to show the love in the heart of a Nigerian that makes the people kind, cooperative, tolerant and well-meaning towards one another and humanity in this present day, ranges from Dr. Dora Akunyili (with her passionate fight against fake drugs production) and many others too numerous to mention.
Though the popular narrative places Nigeria and Nigerians in a negative light, the reality is to the contrary. Nigerians are generally kind people and this is buttressed by Gallup’s World Giving Index (2014) which ranked Nigeria as the 21st most generous nation globally with a WGI score of 44, saying 63% of the populace is willing to help strangers. Nigerians are cooperative people who are willing to unite with anyone to achieve a common cause. This was shown in the 2015 general elections in Nigeria where a majority of Nigerians, irrespective of geo-political zones or religion, united to oust the ruling party out of power in a bid to salvage the future of the nation. Nigerians are also resilient people. Gallup polls both in 2010 and 2011 found Nigeria to be the world’s most optimistic nation. This is because regardless of the austere challenges faced in the almost six decades post-independence, the nation has endured and stuck together, with love, and strength and faith, believing there is light at the end of the tunnel. Furthermore, Nigerians are well-meaning people towards one another and humanity at large. The involvement of the Nigerian Government in bringing African peace and unity shows that Nigeria does not just seek after its own well-being but the well-being of all.
This is Nigeria. I am proud to be Nigerian. I love Nigeria. I love my fatherland.
- Nigeria Weather and Climate.
- Countries Studies, Nigeria
- Top 20 Most Generous Countries in Africa
I see the possibility of building the Nigeria of our dreams.
This is what inspired me to paint that vision with words so all who see can run with it.