Perhaps you have heard a lot about how Nigerians are the happiest people on earth. You have probably read accusations about how Nigerians are people who have seen adversity in its various forms yet still manage to thrive. Nigerians are a people who have mastered the art of, to borrow the immortal words of Fela Kuti, “shuffering and shmiling”. What you might be oblivious of is the existence of such a thing known as the Naija Spirit.
From music to films, to sports, Nigeria and Nigerians exude a certain amount of dedication that can’t be found anywhere else. All over the world, there are many Nigerians thriving in different fields in business, academia, tech, and literature.
Unlike the American Dream, the Naija Spirit is not a concept. If anything, it is a gut feeling. and it differs with every individual you ask. It isn’t a national idea propounded by anyone anywhere. It is a drive that shows in almost every Nigerian you see. And in a bid to glean various perspectives, we took the liberty to ask a number of persons around to find out what it means to them.
For Vincent, a young man from Warri, the Nigerian Spirit refers to that indescribable yet easily recognizable feature you find in any Nigerian. It is something that cannot be mistaken or unnoticed. And it differs with every Nigerian depending on which part of the country they are from.
Stephanie, on the other hand, believes that our ability to get along with each other, many of us who are from various ethnic groups from Nigeria’s over 300 ethnic groups is what the Naija spirit means to her. In spite of our varying backgrounds and perspectives, we find a way to understand and tolerate each other.
Also, Fr. Anthony of 12 Apostles Parish has a different perspective. To him, the Naija Spirit is that of integrity. It is Oneness. It is peace, and it is continuous progress. While Amber Ikechukwu believes it’s in our ability to create a language that is our own, one which all Nigerians can speak regardless of background, religion, ethnicity, and education, or financial status.
Kayode and Maggie believe it refers to the doggedness, the sheer will to thrive in whatever situation or condition we find ourselves. It is the go-getting, hardworking spirit of hustle that we are characterized by.
In recent times, through the global reach of Nigerian artistes like Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido, our music has become popular internationally and is gaining more traction every day.
In summation, amidst all the varying perceptions about what the Naija Spirit, one thing remains: we are a relentless people who will always find a reason to move forward. We are a people who have refused to to let our many economic and political woes hinder us from greatness.
We might not be proud of our government and state in development, but we are proud of Nigeria and the efforts of every achievement
Nigerians are working hard to put us in the spotlight globally. We’ll keep thriving, we’ll bring our boisterous selves to it with our flamboyant swagger we are known for. Because it is what it means to exude the Naija Spirit.