THE NIGERIAN SPIRIT


What is the Nigerian spirit? People outside this country tend to wonder how people still make it big in this part of world where things are really hard. A place where opportunities are hard to come by. A place where nothing seems to be working. A place where the government seem to have failed the people. A country where bloodshed has become a normality in the northern parts. A country where the rich ones never wants to help the poor. A system that favours only the privileged few. A country where corruption has eaten deep into the hearts of those we call our leaders.

A system which does not encourage the participation of the youths and women in its dealings. A country where children who are supposed to be in school end up hawking on the streets just to survive. This is the kind of country we’ve found ourselves. As sad as it seems we are the only ones who can change it.As hard as it may seem, people still make it big in this country. People still make a name for themselves. People still drive cars, build houses and live a happy life under this same deteriorating condition of the country.

So I guess the question is how do they do it? It’s the Nigerian spirit that never say die. It’s the spirit that keeps every single Nigerian going. It’s the spirit that says ‘I’m gonna make it’. The spirit of survival in a place of difficulty. If that man or woman selling products on the streets had an opportunity to go to school, be in the right system where ideas are encouraged and are given a platform to perform I think they will do even better than our so called ‘White Folks’.

I believe if Chinedu also had the opportunity like Messi had, I don’t think the world would have been talking about Messi today. Perhaps, if Bunmi a story teller was given same opportunity as Chimamanda Adichie maybe she would have been even better. Perhaps if Okon who has the sharpest minds in the market and was able calculate the cost of products even without a calculator had the opportunity to go to school maybe we won’t be talking about Eistein today. The Nigerian economy doesn’t give us opportunities so we create one. That’s the difference between Nigeria and the rest of the world.

We create our own opportunities to make it. We create our own destiny here. The Nigerian spirit takes everyday as it comes and is ready to face whatever challenge that may come. The government may fail us but we never stop going about our businesses to earn a living. The whites seem to be better informed cause they were given that opportunity even as kids. We can be better than they are cause we still triumph even without opportunities.

A white kid may have been used to seeing an X-ray machine all his life which makes it possible for him to be able to operate the machine and makes his ‘A’ grade in that course. On the other hand, a Nigerian may never have seen an X-ray machine all his life but all he has are pictures and notes concerning an X-ray machine and yet makes an ‘A’ in that same course. So I guess the difference is opportunity. That Nigerian can also operate that X-ray machine even without seeing it now imagine if he had the same platform as the white kid. Don’t you think he would have done better?

We keep going because we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Why run away to another man’s land and make their land better? When your own land is seeking that same help. Why build another man’s dreams rather than building yours? In the midst of all these hardship, Nigerians are the happiest people on earth so where is the joy coming from? That’s the Nigerian spirit. Our happiness takes our minds away from the worries of our land. It’s what keeps us going. I will rather make it here in Nigeria and be known rather than travel to another country to become a mediocre.

This is my home, your home, our home and we must make things work for us no matter what. We may not be there yet like the Americans, British or Chinese but we’re a work in progress and we’ll get there too. I guess that’s why they call us a developing nation. At some point, the US were also like that so yes we can be better. I’m proud to be a Nigerian and I say we all stay here and make our home. In our local parlance we say, ‘I rep Naija’ and that’s who I am. I am a Nigerian and say we all work together for our nation. This is the Nigerian spirit! This is Danny world…

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