Those Making Nigeria Proud and Those Bringing Her Shame

By Ikeugonna Eleke

Everything about Nigeria is not all bad. Truth is that a lot of things about Nigeria are bad, but there are still Nigerians out there who have given Nigeria a beautiful name, and brought her into reckoning, even among the comity of states.

A Nigerian student studying in the UK engaged me in an argument recently. He said he detests all Nigerian skit makers and comedians because their stock in trade, according to him, is to de-market Nigeria, rake in good followers and cash out at the end.

He told me that in the UK, students from Scandinavian Countries try to protect their countries and say beautiful things about them, but each time he tries to do same for Nigeria, they always show him skits and stories from Nigeria, portraying Nigeria as a ‘shithole’ country (apologies to former US president, Donald Trump). He sounded frustrated as we chatted on WhatsApp.

What was my reply to him? If you don’t want to be made a jest of, do the right thing and jesters will find nothing to make a jest of you any longer. It is as simple as that.

It is not untrue that many comedy skits portray Nigeria in negative light, but truth is; if those skit makers were not using their talent to cash out, they would most probably be helping to grow the number of armed robbers, unknown gunmen, Fulani terrorist herdsmen, bandits, Boko Haram or even motor park touts who torment Nigerian travellers to no end everyday.

If you have the number of energetic youths that Nigeria has, you will understand that if you don’t provide enabling environment for them to have meaningful things to do, they will use the country and her image to survive.

I’m happy that even as bad as Nigeria has become, there are Nigerians who even in the farthest parts of the world whose names are heard and immediately you want to reckon with Nigeria.

Those people are not our leaders who feed very fat on the common patrimony of the people. Those people are young and hungry youths who defy all odds to discover their talents despite the bad leadership in the country and have used it to write Nigeria’s name in gold, even though most Nigerian leaders are still working hard to paint same name in black.

Now, before I go into the names of those who are doing Nigeria proud and the things they are doing, may I first list those who are painting the country’s name in black.

I will not mention names. Is it not a Nigerian young man that is serving a jail term in the US for defrauding a company that deals in heavy farm equipment through fishing mail? He had been celebrated by Forbes Magazine as among the 30 richest under 30 Africans, but alas, he was found to be a fraudster.

Is it not a Nigerian youth, who posed everywhere on social media, to the point of being nicknamed Instagram celebrity that is also serving time in the US for fraud? He flew in private jets to every part of the world and rocked the best designer collections until he was found out to be a thief.

The police criminal we celebrated as a super cop is in prison today. He opted to be in prison here in Nigeria instead of being sent abroad to answer for involvement in crime with the other Instagram celebrities. After thoroughly painting Nigeria’s name black, he was perceived as better in our prison than being sent to the US to answer for his crimes there.

Was it not a Nigerian leader that former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, saw in their country and quipped to the head of government of his country that the leader of a fantastically corrupt African nation is here?

Many years ago, a Nigerian lawmaker who went to the UK for a seminar financed with tax payers’ money was said to have been held back when it was time to check out. Reason; all through his stay in the five star hotel, he was always tuned to a premium TV channel which played nothing but pornographic films. The mumu didn’t know that such channels attracted fees. He just succeeded in bringing us shame.

They have jailed one Nigerian leader for trafficking a commoner to the UK to harvest his organ to replace that of his daughter’s. The UK Judiciary and Government ignored every letter from the Nigerian Government, legislature and past presidents to pardon him. For the politician and those writing letters on his behalf, what is more shameful than that?

The list of how much shame fraudsters and Nigerian leaders bring this nation is just endless. While one can say that for the fraudsters, it is survival strategy to escape the poverty that Nigerian leaders have condemned citizens of the country to, the same cannot be said of the politicians themselves. They draw huge monies from our common heritage and should be more concerned about burnishing the image of Nigeria, but alas, they are the same ones who paint her image black.

On the other hand, the crop of guys who are making Nigeria proud are young people who have never been sponsored with tax payers’ money, but who out of hunger and quest to survive strived hard to discover their talent and are using it to put Nigeria in the world map.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, world acclaimed novelist, has delivered papers in leading conferences in the world, debunking lies about Nigeria and proudly proclaiming her Nigerianness everywhere; yet, she doesn’t draw one Kobo from government coffers. What’s more patriotic?

Davido, a Nigerian musician originally known as David Adeleke, performed at the closing ceremony of World Cup last year December. This is a world stage, and it was copiously mentioned that he was a Nigerian. Anyone in the world who was in doubt about the location of Nigeria could have looked it up, and that would have printed a positive image of the country on such people.

Burna Boy, also a Nigerian musician, will in June this year perform at the finals of the UEFA Champions League in Istanbul. He will take his crew there and all will get five star treatment and he will get paid millions of dollars which he will bring back to Nigeria and spend. If that is not making Nigeria proud, then what is?

Kizz Daniels, musician and famous Buga crooner, has had his song danced to by all world leaders. Those who have not can still not feign ignorance of him and the fact that he is a Nigerian. Last year, a presidential jet was said to have been sent down to pick him because he was going to perform in a show to be attended by the Vice President of the country. How else do you make your country proud?

Did you watch the coronation of King Charles in the UK recently? Tiwa Savage mounted the stage and performed to the relish of world leaders (someone showed a picture of our former president, Muhammadu Buhari, staring at the roof of the hall, while the coronation was going on, lol). Tiwa had been introduced on stage as a Nigerian.

Truth is, there are those making Nigeria proud, and they are others bringing her shame. Sadly, those making her proud are using their talent, and not drawing any pay from the country’s coffers. But those bringing her shame are our leaders who feed fat from tax payers’ money; yet drag her name in the mud all the time. God will not fail to help Nigeria and deliver her from these set of leaders.