This is to commend Mrs. Chalker, the Baroness who visited Nigeria recently and used the occasion to chastise some Nigerians, among those chastised Nigerians are some of us in the Diaspora, who as private citizens, journalists and or public commentators, create the impression that nothing good could ever possibly transpire in Nigeria or from Nigeria, these Nigerians talk and write about Nigeria as if Nigeria is the worst country on earth or as if Nigeria is irredeemably bad?Baroness Chalker Spoke Volumes when she was quoted as haven said “Many good things have happened in Nigeria in the last 18 months than in any other country in Africa but the outside world needs to know this to be able to take positive investment decisions on the country… “But often all that we see outside Nigeria are the negative things. The media and Nigerians in the Diaspora must take the challenge of telling the world that good things are happening here. Nigeria stands a good chance of attracting foreign investors if they have adequate knowledge of the real situation rather than the perception which is often wrong“.
The above accurately represent my feelings about too many of Nigeria’s commentators at home and abroad, whether as private citizens, journalists and sundry public affairs commentators, as too many Nigerians are no longer able to use personal adjectives such as “my” “our” to describe Nigeria, as I would of Nigeria as my country and our country. Reading articles and tons of negative articles by Nigerians about Nigeria has become a depressing endeavour! Nigeria is constantly portrayed as on the precipice and death bed!
I strongly believe that Baroness Chalker has spoken truthfully to some Nigerians who are always going negative on Nigeria!
Why can’t some Nigerians write articles that are critical about public policies and the public officials who are behind such policies, whether as initiators or implementers, but without condemning the country as an entity? Living in America, one experiences critical analyses and appraisals or the most scalding of criticisms of public policies, generally and usually directed at public policies, and at times, at public officials, but NEVER at the country America! Americans are adept at making a clear distinction between the unacceptable policies of Mr. Bush or Rumsfeld or Dr. Rice on the one hand, with criticizing America as irredeemably belonging to the dustbin of human specimens!
I have wondered why too many Nigerians are unable to make a clear distinction between analyzing public policies and criticizing public officials who may pursue ridiculous policies, instead of maligning, lampooning and ridiculing Nigeria as the worst place on earth, hostile for human existence, hostile to tourists, hostile to foreign investment etc.
Baroness Chalker was right is her assessment or her impression, I was born in Nigeria, fully conversant with the issues of national importance and all the challenges that Nigeria have faced in the past and what the current challenges are. One of the greatest challenges Nigeria face presently, is the bevy of Nigerian critics, especially those in the Diaspora who ought to be the best reflection as Nigeria’s goodwill ambassadors, but unfortunately, those that are not engaging in criminal enterprises, thereby bringing Nigeria’s name to disrepute because of their fraud or criminality, are busily ridiculing Nigeria to the world on every page of the worldwide web on the internet, or through the receptive pages of Nigerian newspapers. I am Nigerian, if I rely on what I read on the internet and on the pages of Nigerians newspapers written about Nigeria by Nigerians, I would not send my enemy to Nigeria or recommend that my enemy invest in Nigeria!
Why are Nigerians only at their eloquent best, when they are anti Nigeria? When are Nigerians going to use their talents in praise, celebration and jubilation of their Nigerian-ness and of Nigeria’s wondrous diversities and the infinite possibilities imbued therein?
It is the case that some Nigerians are engaging in imbecilic infantilism, because the publicly proclaim their desire for a better and prosperous or great Nigeria, while everything the do, every of their utterance spoken or written, constantly portray fear, instability, failed nation status and worst case scenarios replete with hyperbolic exaggerations of every circumstance in Nigeria! Why?
Some have claimed that their destructive criticisms and negative portrayals of Nigeria have something to do with individual freedom of expression, press freedom and democratic participation norms, but there are also these other inconvenient details of good taste, good judgment and what is eternally appropriate, and all this unfortunately means very little to too many Nigerians! Haven’t these Nigerians heard of where there is a duty, there is also obligations and corresponding responsibility? If is it our duty to be critical on the direction of our leadership, our nation’s progress, our national purpose or destiny in the world, should we not also take some lessons in circumspections, in order that we do not destroy Nigeria all in the name of trying to save Nigeria? Must Nigeria be destroyed or be made a failed state in order to save her?
Good or bad leadership in Nigeria and everywhere in the world is ephemeral and transient passing phase in national histories, why are some Nigerians quick to equate the short term vagaries of a particular leader to Nigeria’s eternal fortune and destiny? Mr. Obasanjo is not Nigeria, neither is the next man or woman who becomes Nigeria’s president after Mr. Obasanjo. Nigerians should learn to consider, deliberate and contemplate Nigeria’s overall interests and place in the world, while moving full steam ahead, keeping our focus on the horizon, instead of constantly basing assessments, loves affections or hatreds, using past or current leaders as sole factors or parameters for measuring Nigeria’s present and future.
Nigerians must cease and desist from constantly portraying Nigeria as the worst place on earth or as if Nigeria is a country with peculiarly unique challenges, challenges that are insoluble and insurmountable. Nigeria is a country with wonderful prospects and potentials, Nigeria is full of promise and the best that Nigerians and Nigeria’s well-wishers can do, is to marshal, harness and corral every of our energies, every ideas, every strategies and every smarts, in the service of the wonderful nation of Nigeria. Constantly ridiculing Nigeria has not helped Nigeria. I am willing to sacrifice for Nigeria’s greatness because I love Nigeria.