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Nigerians like to talk about ʻthe way forwardʼ. We fall into a logjam or dig ourselves into a hole and the next minute, weʼre talking about the way forward! But we always ﬁnd a way forward!
You push a Nigerian to the wall, heʼll break through that wall and ﬁnd a way. It is a positive trait. It is the trait that will eventually redeem us, if only we can channel it right.
How proud am I to extol the virtues of being a Nigerian! I marinate my British-born children in the rich cultural language which is their ﬁrst and true mother tongue. Their Yoruba names are pronounced with precision in the open playgrounds, loud and bright like the fabulous colours of a peacock. Intonation clear and uncompromised.
And like their father, they stand, accepting the embrace of all cultures and forever proud to be counted as one of the many honest Nigerians the rest of the world must learn to love.
I have travelled across Nigeria, and met Nigerians around the world and I have noticed a kind of ‘Nigerian energy’ about them — the ability to get things done under unbelievable circumstances.
It may be related to the challenges they have had to endure, but no one can deny the fact that when a Nigerian sets their mind on a goal, little can discourage them.
I have seen this in technology, academia, social interventions and I believe it will soon be more visible as many more people use this ‘Nigerian energy’ for the common good.
Nigerians are the hardest working people I know. They are the most patient — sometimes to a fault. But everyday, Nigerians wake up in the morning and somehow they contrive to make something from nothing. They make hope from hopelessness. That is why their spirit will never be defeated.
I love the undiscoveredness of Nigeria. Not just what outsiders donʼt know, but what Nigerians themselves have yet to learn.
We know so little about the Nok culture 2,000 years ago; we donʼt know much about the Ikom monoliths and we know almost nothing about Sungboʼs Eredo. And how many people can list Nigeriaʼs 500+ languages? Nigeria is a wonder of diversities.
Joy, thatʼs the one word I associate with Nigerians.
Not happiness, joy (for happiness is a tad different). Life in Nigeria could be bleak, challenging but Nigerians never surrender their sense of joy, their resonant laughter, and that boisterous spirit that announces: Tomorrow is pregnant, better than today.
Nigeria is a great country ﬁlled with intelligent people from all walks of life of which I am proud to be one.
There is a Yoruba proverb, ʻIbi Ori dani si laagbeʼ, My land, chosen for me by my Ori, is a land of blessings.
Nigeria, my country, is a land of multiple blessings.