79 Aliens, as in, foreigners or immigrants, became naturalized citizens of Nigeria on
But why would any sane person want to become a Nigerian? Especially, if that person was not born in Nigeria? Or even if born in Nigeria, but to non-Nigerian parents? What sort of foolhardiness is that? This is occurring in an era in which native born Nigerians are quick and glad to shed their citizenship of Nigeria almost giddily! In an era in which Nigerians with means now prefer to have their babies delivered in American hospitals for a shot at American citizenship? Some aliens became Nigerian citizens on Tuesday January 30, 2007!
Well! But that is the report in The Guardian Newspapers on the web, the Wednesday edition as reported by one Mr. Emeka Anuforo from Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory.
What could possibly explain the foolhardiness of any alien or foreigner becoming a Nigerian citizen? How could these ordinarily decent, hardworking and self-respecting immigrants in Nigeria want to jettison their prior primary nationalities in favor of Nigeria?
Are these new Nigerians unaware of the political economic, cultural and religious challenges in Nigeria? Are they unaware of the pervasiveness of cynicism and pessimism among the Nigerian elite as can be readily deciphered from the front page of any Nigerian newspaper and Nigeria-related web sites?
Are these new Nigerians unaware of the frequent attacks on Nigeria’s self esteem and self image by Cable News Network CNN and their cohorts in the Western media?
Are these new Nigerians unaware of those native born Nigerians who are audaciously fatalistic about all prospects Nigerian? Could these new Nigerians all be on sedatives or elixirs? Could these new Nigerians be on Prozac or some other mood-enhancing narcotic drugs?
Why would these new Nigerians engage in such irrational exuberance? Why won’t some sane relatives from their old countries pressure them to curb their enthusiasm about Nigeria?
Are these new Nigerians unaware that Nigeria has been severally proclaimed and pronounced a failed state by some Nigerians? Are these new Nigerians unaware that Nigeria is scheduled for disintegration according to a timetable set by the United States Intelligence?
Are these new Nigerians unaware of the travel warnings issued by the President of the Philippines Ms. Arroyo? Are these new Nigerians so ill-informed? How could they not have heard about the other travel warnings by Nigeria’s trade and diplomatic super-friend and partner, the United States?
Have they not heard about the impossible environment in Nigeria? Have they not heard that there is no enabling environment in Nigeria for investment in Nigeria? Hasn’t everyone heard of the absence of an enabling environment for good life, for the creation of wealth and happiness?
Haven’t these new Nigerians heard of the absence of public infrastructures in Nigeria? What about the bad roads? The hospitals bereft of medical equipment and staff and pharmaceuticals? How could anyone without a death wish want to live in a county without potable water and steady supply of electricity? Have they not heard of NEPA and its offspring PHCN? How about garbage and potholes and gullies and erosion menace? And Electoral body or impeachments gale?
Are these new Nigerians unaware of our police? Our Customs and Immigrations Services? Have these new Nigerians heard of four one nine? Have these new Nigerians heard of Transparency International and Perception Index? Or is it just a matter of perception?
Why would anyone! Why would anyone not born a Nigerian want to become a Nigerian?
Do non-Nigerians perhaps see the boundless opportunities and endless potentials in Nigeria that we native born Nigerians do not see? Chose not to see? Is there perhaps a loud message in the fact that every year, Nigerians in their thousands besiege embassies and consulates of countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe with attitudes of any where but Nigeria? While on the other hand, some non-Nigerians quietly saddle up in their new Nigerian citizenships?
Should Nigerians maybe just maybe? Reexamine our attitude towards our Nigerian-ness? Shall perhaps reexamine Nigeria’s prospects with less fatalism, cynicism and pessimism? Could we use the bashfulness of these new Nigerians in Nigeria, the bountiful and endless opportunities in Nigeria and faith in Nigeria’s present and future prospects? Could we possibly reinvigorate our commitment and dedication to our country through the starry eye of our new citizens? Could we see the new Nigerians as adequate and sufficient reasons for deep introspections and
circumspections about our Nigerian-ness and its value to Nigeria?
Could we start to examine Nigeria’s challenges and prospects with some optimism, even if with some healthy dose of skepticism? Could we, old, native born Nigerians be good examples to these new Nigerians who are obviously more optimistic about Nigerians than most of us?
Why do so many native born Nigerians see dust when they look at Nigeria, but somehow, these new Nigerians seem to look at the same Nigeria and see gold and diamond, in such luminosities and translucence?
Nigeria has begun to dazzle and sparkle and I suspect that even Steve Wonder can see it!
Some Nigerians will argue and I have heard it argued that non-Nigerians have it better in Nigeria than native born Nigerians, which is by the way, the sorts of comments I have heard the natives in America’s underclass equally erroneously assert about, and against the seemingly incurable enthusiasm of new immigrants in America. If anyone argues that Oyinbo, Arabs and Indians are enabled to succeed in Nigeria, how about the Ghanaians and other Africans who are also immigrants in Nigeria and have done well? All this makes me do a rethink of my sojourn in America!
We all ought to rethink!
Could we change from our ways? Could we stop acting like bad refugees who only see life in refugee camp as life in transit to somewhere else? Shall we now begin to see Nigeria as our country and not merely a transit point refugee camp precursor to some better place in America, Asia or Europe? Could we borrow from the unalloyed enthusiasm of Mr. Mr. Robert Elias? Who in responding to conferment of Nigerian citizenship ceremonies, on behalf of the other recipients, in an emotionally charged voice, thanked President Obasanjo and Nigerians for giving them the opportunity of
becoming Nigerian citizens he prayed, God bless Nigeria and bless us all”. Good attitude! Nigerians are coming! Nigeria has arrived!
Shall we rededicate ourselves to the service of Nigeria? I need a resounding yes!
I congratulate and welcome our new citizens, particularly, given their infectious enthusiasm, exuberance and faith in our great nation. Their contributions to development will advance Nigeria strides to a pride of place in the world. Nigeria is a country with endless opportunities, bountiful rewards, with immeasurable potentials for those with boundless energies, talents, creativities and imaginations. Not even the
sky could limit anyone. Reach beyond the skies! This land is your land!
Nigeria’s development, Nigeria’s advancement and Nigeria’s greatness arriving!