Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Our Pride

I had taken being Nigerian for granted all my life. Being at home, there is almost no reason to wear your nationality, that’s all one knows how to be anyway. Growing older and being more in touch with the world, it seems to dawn on people that ‘your nationality is your pride’.
Visiting different countries especially when family and friends live in such places can be very different from living in them; you are made to feel at home and can be shown around easily. There is a tendency to be shielded from some of the experiences that one gets exposed to while living in the Diaspora. See my previous post, 'Tales from the Diaspora'
With this realization, your nationality is either a blessing or a curse – at least so it seems. I noticed that people of any country living abroad tend to be more nationalist than those at home.       


I happen to spend a portion of my daily life around foreigners who are of course white. I find it strange for someone to look at me and call me coloured. Someone said to me recently "I love coloured people" and the first thought that crossed my mind was, for him to have to say that, something is terribly wrong. I am proudly black, I was born this way and always will be this way. From my point, I am not coloured, I am just me and I am comfortable in this skin of mine :-) I hear way too much these days how being black stands for everything wrong and its funny. Whoever made any other person judge over an entire race??? Takes me down memory lane...Back in school, we recited the words of a famous negritude civil rights activist, W.E.B. Du Bois "Je suis nègre, et je me glorifie de ce nom ; je suis fier du sang noir qui coule dans mes veines" (I am black and I take pride in this fact, I am proud of the African blood that runs through my veins). Those words come alive much more than ever.

I visted l'île de Gorée (Gorée Island) earlier this month. As old as the stories are, they remain heart breaking. Reading those stories, having them narrated, painted a vivid picture. I had a lump in my throat the whole time, I fought back tears. A line from the speaker that left Dakar with me was 'black people were not considered to be human beings but mere commodities'. We once were for sale. After going through all that once upon a time, we bring this insanity on ourselves consciously in Nigeria today?
Many of us, Nigerians living abroad shy away from our country. Its almost so easy to say: so much is wrong with and in Nigeria!
Nigeria was once peaceful...at least to some extent... but now, the things we only watched in movies are here to stay with us. My heart bleeds but as it is, I cannot proffer a solution alone. It is next to normal now to hear of bomb blasts every now and then. I may not be a security personnel but I am sure there is a way to solve this menace.

A committee was recently set up to probe a situation but the leader of the committee has suddenly become the bone of contention. In the last week, we have watched our 'leaders' shamelessly point accusing fingers at one another and in the process have unveiled the wanton greed that has taken over the ruling class. This monster called corruption that has eaten so deep into the very foundation of our existence as a people. As if that isn't enough, the security challenges have escalated out of control. We have all tossed the blame around but that hasn't solved anything. Haven't we done that long enough? It's about time we all took the blame!

Where is the place of the youth in all this I wonder? They are hardly given room to contribute to policy formulation. At best, some write, some argue in beer parlours and other hang out places while the rest sit and watch it all unfold.
It starts from me and yes, you! It's about being the difference you want to see, standing up to right in the face of wrong. In your own little way, be the change. We've waited long enough on the government, we've done nothing for too long. There will be no Nigeria without you and me. "If nothing is done soon, all that will be left will be sand...desolate, cursed, haunted!"






15 comments:

  1. I am so proud that this piece has come from you, my dear sister. The change starts from every one of us. Sitting back, watching and whining won't solve anything. Nigeria is rotting away and its our duty to save what's left of it for the generations to come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the least I can do Ogba. If this creates awareness in some way that it is up to us, then this piece would have achieved its purpose. I miss you o.

      Delete
  2. Well said Tam, it's really sad, the state of our country. A revolution is what we need. Leaders are being recycled and even when the "youth" get to lead, i'm afraid we'll be no better than our predecessors. We might all decide individually to be the "right" in the midst of so much "wrong" but how do we make it a collective "right"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Femi (who else calls me Tam *wink*), let's use the example of throwing trash on the streets. If we all decide to stop as individuals, it won't be long before we all notice that everyone is doing the right thing. If every individual does right, sooner or later, the collective effort will be seen, it can't be hidden.

      Delete
  3. Beautiful piece. One of our greatest problems in this country is lack of patriotism. We all blame the government but we are the government. I know everything is headed for a sort of revolution but are we ready for another civil war? Those that have lived to tell the tale shy away from advancing in such directions.

    My proposal is let's Love one another; let's love our country and build it. Greed is making us shameless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Civil war? Though I cringe at the thought of that, we do need a revolution. Hoping it comes some other way; there has been enough blood shed as it is.

      Delete
  4. Who is the youth? Is it a matter of age or aversion to corruption? If it is the latter, I am afraid that quite a few older people stand a better chance than the Nigerian "youth" of today.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Honest, dispassionate appraisal of the challenges that afflict us. A cultural revolution that includes each and everyone of us. We have to be the change we wish to see and not accept less from others.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well said Ene. Its funny 'cos a lot of us are aware of this, but no one wants Τ̅☺ be †ђё change! True, one person alone can't do it and our collective strength could, but something else that plagues us is lack of faith. Is there any redemption from †ђё claws of corruption? Can Nigeria really be better? Ɣ☺u never know! Personally, I don't throw thrash anywhere else but in a bin, but still, there's litter everywhere! And I totally agree with †ђё one who said †ђё same old politicians are recycled, sö where is †ђё place of †ђё youth??? We are supposed Τ̅☺ be future leaders, but at what age, 60? I mean, its absolutely unacceptable but that's exactly where we've found ourselves. I hunger for a revolution, of course, without bloodshed, because things have got Τ̅☺ change! Let Nigeria go back Τ̅☺ †ђё days of peace and instant employment upon graduation and all those things enjoyed back in †ђё days! If not for us, for our children at least. That they may be black and proud..

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you. 'that they may be black and proud' - the revolution we seek lies with us. I think we are yet to come to terms with that so until we do, things will remain the same.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Corruption!!! A word that I hear a lot these days. A stitch in time saves nine as they say. Corruption has dug it's way to the hearts of many people in this Nation and I will state a few examples. A begger asking for alms and is visibly upset if you don't give him or her. A former student trying to process his or her transcript and the non academic staff shamelessly tell the person it would take a longer period of time for it to be transferred if something does not drop from the person's pockets. Children expecting you to relinquish hold of your change when you send them on errands. Government workers hiding the files or proposals of contractors until they promise to give them a cut and it goes on and on. Corruption is evident in our daily lives and the question is how do we curb it from the grass roots? It isn't only the Presidency or President that can fight this. Maryanne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Maryanne, each person needs to search within first before pointing fingers. The government will not work on individuals, but each individual owes that to himself and the country.

      Delete
  9. I had to split my comments into two before I am accused of writing an epistle.
    Coloured is a term that is acceptable by almost everyone because it sounds better than N****R
    but what you and I fail to realise is the fact that purple, pink, yellow, white or black are all colours. We should be described as
    individuals first before the skin colour factor comes to play but that would mean changing ideologies( time travel) from centuries past.
    Bottom line, be proud of your race,Country and individuality because it will ultimately rubb off on the World at large. Ciao. Maryanne

    ReplyDelete