Nigeria is one of the most talked-about nations of the world; not for the good sides but for the negative image perpetrated by some of her citizens. The nation is sometimes referred to as “the greatest black nation”, but are we really great? This is a rhetorical question that most of us really answer in the negative. The state of the nation is depressing while some of us who left the shores of the country for greener pastures has given the nation a bad reputation.
If greatness is measured by size, population, and intensity alone, then the tag “The Greatest Black Nation” cannot be disputed. According to the latest United Nations estimates, the current population of Nigeria is 202,055,735 as of today. This number (Nigeria population) is equivalent to 2.61% of the total world population, making Nigeria the 7th most populous country in the world. Nigeria is the only black race (from the African continent) in the top 10 list, thereby making us the greatest in terms of number (population). Many of our citizens are also found in every part of the world, making us have representatives in the diaspora.
Our country is a land flowing with milk and honey. There is an abundance of mineral/natural resources, availability of good and fertile land for agriculture, and a vast area of land measuring 923,708 km sq., making it the 32nd largest country in the world. These facts and figures are not so bad to be regarded as “great”. Nigeria, which is also called the giant of Africa is a perfect example of irony in recent times.
Bad leadership is one of the top problems we are facing as a nation. Our resources have been mismanaged and shortchanged by our so-called leaders. Rather than make the country great, they have made their own pockets great with the masses suffering.
President Donald Trump once described Nigeria as a shit hole and he’s not a liar in this regard. The economy is nothing to write home about as we are dwindling and not a force to be reckoned with in the top economies of the world despite our abundant resources. Corruption has eaten deep into the system and an average Nigerian is now said to be corrupt. Our bad government has thereby made many to flee the country for greener pasture elsewhere.
The rate at which Nigerians desire to leave the country for foreign lands alarming. The harsh economy tells on many who seek refuge in other nations of the world. Many have been caught while trying to smuggle themselves into Europe through Northern African routes of Libya, Algeria, and Morocco, thereby bringing shame to the country. Nigerians are top on the list of illegal immigrants deported from several nations of the world.
Greed has made many to dislike us all over the world and we have been ridiculed by their system. In our quest to live a standard life, some have been involved in human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping, fraud, and so on, thereby tarnishing the image of the country.
Recently, twenty-three Nigerians are awaiting execution by the Saudi Arabian Government for cases of drug trafficking while 83 others in the United States were found to be involved in fraud. This has become the headline news coming from our people abroad despite the fact that we have more Nigerians doing exploits in their chosen field/career home and abroad.
The recent xenophobic attacks on our citizens by South Africans is as a result of where we have found ourselves as a nation. Our bad government has made ‘our great people in a great nation’ to make a living for themselves elsewhere. Even our neighboring countries such as Ghana has become a place of refuge for some who can’t stand the harsh conditions back at home. Many industries and multi-national companies have left Nigeria for neighboring countries due to lack of social amenities. We now see any slight opportunity to travel out of the country as success. Where then lies the greatness as a black nation is a question we ought to ask ourselves.
As a result of our population all over the world, when a black person commits a crime, the initial thought is that he/she is a Nigerian. We have several people making us proud but the bad eggs have been used to enhance the negative image we now have as a country. 80% of Nigerians on foreign soil are actually doing very well, from academics to leadership and other areas of life. The remaining percentage at home and abroad are the ones giving us a bad name.
Insecurity in the land is another way we have actually enhanced our negative image. Our armed forces have been overwhelmed by terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, and bandits, in the North.
The government has yet to found a solution to this and the watching nations of the world have seen Nigeria as a bad place to stay, thereby sending away investors. Kidnapping and serial killing by our people is another thing tarnishing our image. The unwillingness or inability of the leaders to rise to their responsibility is one of our greatest challenge as a nation.
I asked some friends who are outside the country how they are regarded as foreigners, most especially as Nigerians. This is what they have to say:
Here in Indonesia, the first thing is they see all blacks as Africans. Then they make mention of Nelson Mandela or South Africa. If they know you are a Nigerian, they would discontinue their interaction with you. Once their immigration officers find out that your paper is no longer valid, they will suck the person dry. They even tell you they will kill you and your government wouldn’t do anything.Ugochukwu, Indonesia.
Seriously, Nigerians are not seen as bad people abroad. I feel proud of being a Nigerian here. Nigerians are doing great everywhere in the world, including the US; I’m just not proud of the Nigerian government.Mr. Akinrinlola, USA.
Nigerians are actually doing very well here in Cyprus. Most of us are flying the flag of Nigeria in our various institutions and places of work. Some of my white friends are just not on good terms with our government. They say Nigeria has what it takes to be greater than Cyprus but that is debatable and I can’t really argue about that.Andrew, Cyprus.
Sometime in March 2009, we launched a project with the slogan “Nigeria: Good People Great Nation.” The actual intention of the Nigerian government was to create a good image for the country, both at home and abroad. Instead of achieving a good result, the country hasn’t fared well in terms of her image since then. What then can we do to rise to the status of the greatest black nation that we really deserve?
For us to prove to the world that we are hardworking, talented and successful people, and to show that if there are 83 fraudsters, there are 80,000 professors contributing to the world in various fields. And if there are 23 drug traffickers, there are over 230 Nigerians graduating as best in their fields in foreign lands, then steps for rebranding has to be taken seriously.
Nigeria’s good brand depends upon a totally different mindset of our leaders who need to utilize the abundance of human and natural resources available in the country to radically transform the current pitiable economic, political and social deprivations dragging us back.
Our people should also have patience as a virtue and believe their hard work will surely pay rather than giving us bad names with crimes committed all over the world. Nigeria as a brand will not be doing anything negative if it were to provide honest, responsible, transparent and credible leaders/people as a nation. Then the tag “The Greatest Black Nation” will not be ironic.
Do well to share your thoughts on this cogent topic. Thanks for taking the time to read through.