Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Nigeria Talk

So unless you were under a rock this week, you must have come across this video of Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian author who was speaking on the dangers of a single story. Just in case you haven't the video is below, pretty neat stuff.

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Last weekend, I was opportuned to be a panelist at a forum that had the topic of "The State of Nigeria Today" and a lot of things were discussed. COmbined with the popularity of this video on my fb feed that had my many nigerian friends declaring their naija pride and all, made me wonder - When we say I am proud to be Naija, what exactly are we proud of? Let me see if I can express the thoughts in my head better in writing.

See the forum made me meet different people who are passionate about Nigeria. I met a girl who unfailingly peruses most of the naija newspapers online to stay informed about what is going on, I met a guy who personally went through the Naija-Delta ordeal and damn near almost cried when talking about his people and saying how much he hurts. He stood up to the government and had to flee to America to save his life, I met American-born Nigerians who were proud but were not really sure what they were proud of and were just trying to learn and soak in all the knowledge they could about Nigeria.

It seems like a couple of years ago the movement of "moving back to Nigeria" started. It was like we have to go back and help our people oh! and if you had no interest in it, you were looked at as a traitor. Now there are people out there who bleed the green, white, green and there are majority of people who are like me who care but don't care enough. I am not saying that we should be proud about it but let's be honest about it. In this country if you say you are patriotic, that means something like 9/11 happens and they rush to go serve and die for their country. But for most Nigerians, it seems saying I am proud to be Nigerian means showing 5minute support, enjoying naija music and then complaining and listing all the bad things about Nigeria while chilling in our 24/7 electricity apartment with uninterrupted internet connection. I remember when the lightupnigeria movement started, I won't lie I scoffed at it and was like what's the point? But I have thought about it and decided that I give the organizers mucho props, even if it doesn't succeed, it won't take away from the fact that they tried.

Basically, I think what I am trying to say is that we should be honest with ourselves when claiming the Naija thing. I don't think it's by force to move back. Me personally, I am not moving back because I want to change the nation but because me sef wan enjoy opportunity. I do feel it is everyone's duty to give back in any way they can because like it or not it is our country but I don't think it involves moving back. My own personal mission is to run our embassies in Yankee. The whole system irritates the shit out of me enough to light a fire in my ass (for real). I would drop whatever I am doing if someone just told me to come down,run the embassy and just change the image. I think my friend's status said it best, he is an American born Nigerian and his status read : "I realize that, for me, Nigeria is heritage...not home."

We are all different people, some are passionate, others not so much. Doesn't take away the fact that we are all Nigerian but let's just be honest about where we stand and not say things because it's what we are supposed to say.

*Hope I made some kind of sense. Have a good day y'all!

9 comments:

Kate said...

FIRST!!! :D isn't that what i'm supposed to say?
you already know the deal!

MPB said...

My 2 cents: I was definitely one of those that watched the video and felt proud to be a Nigerian, unfortunately there was nothing profound or poignant or political about my statement. I was simply proud that someone like me, someone I could identify with could speak so eloquently and shared as much love for literature like I do. Similarly, if i was watching a CNN display of a Nigerian scammer or molester, I'd be ashamed. I don't believe the feelings for Nigeria have to fit a particular box, one can be fluid. As such, I love certain aspects of our culture, I am proud of my accent, proud of our writers but I abhor our government, lack of work ethic, ever pervading corruption etc etc. I must say the Amerian sense of patriotism is a mystery to me, can't fathom dying for my country...say wetin happen? Does that mean I have no right to say "I a proud to be a NIgerian?" Maybe/maybe not. Ok I am rambling...I do agree with your friend Nigeria is more of my heritage than my home.

MPB said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Myne Whitman said...

I don't have to die to be patriotic, I believe I can achieve more by living. For me, naija is home. I'm PROUD to be a Nigerian.

leggy said...

i love that talk.the fear of a single story.nice one.i wouldnt die for anything on this earth but that doesnt mean that im not proud to be nigerian.i just prefer living.
and p.s:in America if you are in the military and you are called to serve,it is a crime to refuse,you will go to jail.google it!!

TayneMent said...

@everyone, the 9/11 story was just an example that in america when they don't like something they do something about it. I never implied that you had to die.

@leggy - I didn't google, I know it's a crime but that has nothing to do with people who volunteer to serve.

David.фаворит Бога номер-один said...

nice...i really liked this!
i agree with your point on not having to move back to show that you love your nation...still argued about it and will continue to.

leggy said...

im just pointing out that only a small percentage of the people fighting actually support the war and no war has happened that warrants people going to war in nigeria.so you cant conclude that people wont volunteer,and you should update your blogroll its

leggymoved.blogspot.com.
i changed my url.

Reverence said...

i really really like thia.

lol at naija embassy, the receptionist actually hung up on my coz, told her to go get her story straight all because she could not remember how her husband lost his passport.