by Udofia Joseph
People boast of the beauty of Paris, but I say Paris beauty cannot be compared to the streets of Abuja. They boast of the Himalayas, but that is because they have not been to great mountains in Jos. They boast of industrious Venice, but only because they have not been to Alaba International market.
H.L. Mecken said “What men value in this world is not rights, but privileges”. Truly, my Nigeria means a lot to me, not because my rights are enshrined into the constitution, but because of the million and one privileges I enjoy as a Nigerian.
From the chocolate-skinned Hausas and Fulanis in the North whose ladies are a beauty to behold; to the industrious Igbos in the South, who have taken our economy to greater heights, Nigeria boasts of a rich mix of people. How about the ever-partying Yorubas, who ensure that there is always cause to celebrate every day, especially weekends. Nigeria is blessed so happy people, little wonder we were named as the happiest people on earth.
The different tribes in Nigeria have taken Nigeria to the highest echelon when it comes to delicacies. Is it the “Ogbono” soup of the Igbos which is so delicious that the savour lasts for hours on the tongue? Or the “Afang” soup of the Ibibios whose aroma can only be compared to the bible’s description of a “sweet-smelling savour”? The “gbegiri” soup of the Yoruba keeps you asking for more. How many shall we count of our local delicacies that fill stomachs all over the world. Definitely, Nigeria is a place where I can never go hungry.
Nigeria is not complete without our rich history. Many see the Nigerian Civil war of which lasted between 1967 and 1970 as genocide, one that left over five million Nigerians, especially Igbos dead. The untold story however, is that the period brought to fore the ingenuity of Nigerians. Late Chinua Achebe, described in his book titled “There was a country” how the Igbos made grenades, military tanks and other artilleries from locally-made Nigerians. This war also brings to fore the bravery of Nigerians, who will fight to protect their country, their heritage. Nigeria is my land, and like soldiers, I will fight to make sure I remain one.
Nigeria means a place where you can express yourself regardless of your colour or creed. We boast of unity in our diversity. With over 500 tribes and languages, we are united and will remain united. Nigerian is a land where you can express yourself. TY Bello, a popular Nigerian artiste, in her song titled “The future” describes Nigerians as amazing. She says “We have nowhere else to run to”. We are the future of Africa.
Nigeria means a land flowing with milk and honey. The fertile lands of the South West yield cocoa used in making beverages, palm oil used in cooking and a host of other consumables consumed locally and other exported to other parts of the world. The North boast of legumes, millets, rice and other arable crops that are consumed locally and also exported to other parts of the globe. The south-south boasts of crude oil that contributes over 90% to our Gross Domestic Product. As describe in an advert that used to run on Africa’s largest Television network, the Nigeria Television Authority, Nigeria (is) “a land of plenty, where the good things of life come our way”. Truly, the bad things of life do not come our way. Earthquakes, Tsunamis and many other natural disasters are foreign to Nigeria.
To me, Nigeria is a country where we boast of a rich cultural heritage. The UNESCO organized Osun-Oshogbo festival, which brings together millions of people from all over the world to the Osun river is an avenue to showcase the rich cultural heritage. The Argungu Fishing festival and many other festival literally brings the world to a stand still, as people gather to celebrate our beautiful tradition. Nigeria is blessed.
Music, they say, is a gateway to the soul and truly, Nigeria has made sure my soul is well taken care of. Nigeria music is celebrated all over the world, with the likes of Fela Kuti being nominated severally for the Grammy Awards. Beautiful artistes sing all genres of songs ranging from High life to blues to rap just to make sure that millions of people are inspired all over the world. To me, Nigeria means a place where you get anything you want.
We may have challenges like corruption, but with all hands on deck, corruption will be a thing of the past. We boast of great minds like Philip Emeagweli, an IT genius who, together with other agencies, surely can provide a solution to cybercrime. Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, Mr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have made outstanding contributions while serving at the world bank and will definitely bring about change to Nigeria. We have millions of youths doing exploits in different fields, and with concerted efforts can bring about the much-needed change we need.
People boast of the beauty of Paris, but I say Paris beauty cannot be compared to the streets of Abuja. They boast of the Himalayas, but that is because they have not been to great mountains in Jos. They boast of industrious Venice, but only because they have not been to Alaba International market. In Nigeria, I can find my own Paris, a better Himalayas and definitely, a much-beautiful Venice. Nigeria is the land of my dreams.
This post is published with permission from Paarapo.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.