The Power Of The Nigerian Self-Esteem! By Mafeni Praise
My name is Mafeni Praise. I am a proud Nigerian. I want to speak on the theme, “the power of the Nigerian self-esteem”. This theme reminds me of the statement made by a friend of mine sometime ago, she said: “if there was anything I could change to my status as a Nigerian?”, hearing this, I laughed at my com-patriotic friend. Nigeria has just celebrated her 58th years of independence; yet, some of her citizens do not find reasons to celebrate due to some problems accompanying the country. However, there are many reasons why Nigeria has become the love of many around the world including me; from her fabulous lifestyle, to our rich and beautiful foods, our amazing tourist attractions, our wonderful sense of humor. We are indeed a blessed country of extraordinary variety. Nigeria is not a perfect country, as there is no perfect country, and this is where I oblige to stand up for the country of my birth, my Nigeria.
Nigeria to me remains the giant of Africa. Although controversy rages over the befitting holder of this title. What remains an undeniable fact is that our presence has been felt in every African state, from the tip of Kilimanjaro to the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert. Our influence in all aspect of the continent is a great feat, which no nation has achieved. These influences exist in political, cultural, linguistic, religious and many other forms. Whenever I am compelled by my parents to watch the six o’clock news on TVC or 8 o’clock news on NTA, I can’t stop the tears from making its way across my cheek as I see the hardship faced by a lot of Nigerians. Yet in midst of fear, difficulties, pain, challenges, frustrations and anger, we still find the reasons to be happy, to hold on stronger. It doesn’t matter if they are living in some slums like Makoko in Lagos, or the government not living up to expectations, Wazobia FM still has room for colorful, funny Nigerian gist. One thing that binds us together, that hardship can’t take away is our smiles, laughter and happiness, which comes as a result of our roots, our origin, our culture, our identity keeps us together, keeps us moving. Blood they say is thicker than water. So as long as we are together, [elope] in the beauty of our complexion, we remain resilient. Our unitedness is a unique one, which cannot be easily found in other part of the world.
I remember when I went for a family vocation in Dubai, my dad was able to easily locate our people by recognizing the Yoruba language being spoken by two young men. To my surprise, they conversed freely like they had been friends for over a million years. The power of Nigeria self-esteem is greatly expressed in Timi Dakolo’s song, “Great Nation”. I really love him and his passion for a better Nigeria. He conveyed the song, what makes Nigerians kind; tolerant, cooperative and well-meaning towards humanity. He also expressed what make Nigerians collectively trust, delight and succeed in their own worth and abilities. Unfortunately, I am not gifted in art of singing but I can still share with you what the song says;
‘Here we stand as a people with one voice, with one song,
We are a nation undivided and poised
We take a step and build our land – to defend, what’s ours
All we have to defend our land. We believe in Nigeria and the promise she holds
That one day, we will shine like the sun, we are a great nation.’
I love my country. I am a proud Nigerian. Being brought up as a Nigerian has taught me to be open minded and better able to understand individual differences in others. Nigeria may not currently be the country we desire but I strongly believe that one day things will change. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and as Timi Dakolo said, one day, we will shine as the sun. The power of our self-esteem is strong enough to transform this country, soon enough, citizens of the country will be proud to say that they are citizens of the country.
I am a star on a mission to discover a better Nigeria that we all desire.
*The transcribing of the video presentation was done by Cynthia Okpala.