By Oluwafunmilayo Oyatogun.
Happy INDEPENDENCE Day to fellow Nigerian Eagles. Nigeria can be a beautiful country and we’re proud to be Nigerians. On our 52nd anniversary, it is easy to lament about everything that is wrong with our country but we’re counting our blessings, whether few or many, and keeping the Nigerian hope alive.
10 Reasons to Love Nigeria:
- We’re clearly a fascinating country – We seem to be constantly under the watch of the rest of the world. We’re not proud of some of the things that we’re known for but some others just keep us wondering whether or not we’re just fascinating. From BBC tireless part-umentaries to the ‘Nigerian accent’ to the surge of Chinese people and things, something about Nigeria keeps the rest of the world prying in our business.
- Goat meat is not a foreign concept – I hurt when non-Nigerians squirm and shudder at the mention of goat meat. And more than goat meat: snails, suya, nkwobi, isi-ewu, kunu, zobo, edikaikong, ewedu…I could go on…Nigerians have some of the best food around. We don’t play around with the quality of our food and it is something to be proud of.
- Warri – When all else fails, Nigerians will pull through because a large percent of our sense of humor is hinged around Warri. Comedy and comic relief never lack in Nigeria and when stress and frustration takes away one day from our lives, the comic relief on stage or on the streets cancels it out.
- Absence of ‘Natural Disasters’ - God is kind; he spared us the natural disasters because he figured we’ve got enough already. We are our own worst vices and best virtues because we don’t have to worry about uncontrollable natural disasters. Heavy rainfall isn’t a disaster until it turns to a flood. Many of our problems are man-created or induced by our anthropocentric excesses (like climate change) so we have all it takes to turn things around.
- We are so many – It can’t get any worse. Whether giant or agbaya, we’re big and that can only be a good thing. If we harness our population of 160-million-and-counting and the diversity that comes with this number, it’ll pay us. We can’t get rid of our people so we have to work with what we’ve got.
- The irony – Nigeria is organized chaos. There are skyscrapers sitting right beside wooden sheds in Marina and across West Africa’s longest bridge, there’s an entire village built on stilts and murky waters. Even our flag is an irony. But there’s hope. The same country that’s classed in the Third World has produced some of the most intelligent, industrious, successful and wealthiest people and initiatives. Oh and against all odds, we’re still together. Amazing.
- The people and the Internet – All those who have in one way or the other made sense of the nonsense that we see sometimes with Nigerians and the internet.
- The Music and Dance – From Asa to Siji to Davido to Tiwa Savage to Tuface to the women shaking their waists in church, the Nigerian spirit comes out in our music.
- Our vocabulary – Isn’t it amazing how everything taller than a child is a jeep and everyone who isn’t brown or black is white? Isn’t is amazing how okadas are called machines, nails polishes are called cutex and we say dress to mean sit properly.
- There’s only one way out and that’s up.
Oluwafunmilayo Oyatogun is a young Nigerian who believes in the future of Nigeria and Africa. She studied for double Bachelors’ in Environmental Studies and Geography and enjoys working for the environment and sustainable development. She founded and is the CEO of Bailiff Africa, Africa’s youth-run environmental and sustainable development organization. She’s an avid lover of books, art, culture, incense, tea, writing and travel. She may be contacted on Twitter at @RubayoIbin and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.