I was pleasantly surprised that the research into the drug, Remdesivir, to treat coronavirus, was coordinated by a Nigerian and an alumnus of my medical school, the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. He is said to have entered medical school at the age of 16 years and was the youngest in his class.
Nigerian medical doctors have excelled in different specialties in the United States of America and in the United Kingdom. My classmates in medical school are some of the best specialists in different specialties as far as Australia.
The chief car designer in charge of the Volt car is a Nigerian, who graduated from Kebbi State Polytechnic.
Recently, a Nigerian developed a ventilator within Nigeria.
There was a broadcast by Fareed Zechariah on CNN during his program, GPS (Global Public Square), that showcased the extraordinary exploits Nigerians have done in the United States.
All over the world, there are people of Nigerian extractions doing great exploits in all spheres of life. They are in the British parliament and one was in the Senate of a European nation. Our students have broken academic records globally. In several national football and athletics teams from the USA, Europe, and to the Middle East, you will see Nigerians excelling.
Even our policemen do exceedingly well when sent on international operations. In business, there are clean Nigerian businessmen and women who have become global icons.
In literature, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Cyprian Ekwensi, Buchi Emecheta, and several others have achieved global recognition.
In the music industry and entertainment, we have Dan Maraya Jos, Innocent Ujah Idibia aka 2face Idibia, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Wizkid, Davido, Lagbaja, Don Jazzy, Jude Abaga aka M.I, Victor Uwaifo, prophetic and iconic Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and the list goes on. Nigerian music is played in nightclubs all over the world.
I was in the middle of nowhere at about 2 a.m. and I heard, “You are my African queen…” in the bus on a 17-hour journey from Antananarivo to Morondava in Madagascar. You won’t understand how I felt. I was in Cameroon, Douala to be specific, and I heard a bike taxi (okada) playing Judy Kay’s song. In Romania, you will see people dancing to Nigerian music.
In ministry, from the Roman Catholic Church to Pentecostalism, to churches of African origin, Islam, and African Traditional Religion, we are one of the greatest forces to be acknowledged.
Read previous Lessons From COVID-19 here.
The True Nigerian Spirit—Potentials, Productivity, and the Environment.
1. We can’t be boxed.
It is a nature of ours that must be acknowledged by us, our leaders, and the world.
2. We are extremely intelligent and creative.
Remember Chike Obi, Ayodele Awojobi, etc.
3. We are bold and fearless, no matter what and where we are.
4. We are powerful, and great sportsmen and women.
Remember Anthony Joshua, Michael Okpala aka Power Mike, Kiliwi Nwachukwu, Jay-jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu.
5. We are defiant. We question everything and every move.
6. We are competitive and comparative; we hate inferiority complexes.
7. We are loud, expressive, humourous, and fun-loving.
8. We are proud; we come from kingdoms.
The average Nigerian sees him/herself like a prince or princess. Even if he/she bows down before you, don’t give him a knock; you cannot fathom what you will get in return.
No matter where we are and how long we stay there, no matter how bad you think we are, we love our country. We are Nigerians once we are away from Nigeria.
9. We are about 20% of the black population of humanity.
We are the most dispersed from Equatorial Guinea, to São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan, Cuba, Cameroon, Liberia, Gabon, to Sierra Leone, and the United States of America, Europe, and Southern America.
We have ethnic groups who trace their ancestry to Nigeria. Any nation you go to and you don’t see a Nigerian is either not productive or they are racist and wicked.
10. We are very enterprising, just like the Jews, Indians, and Lebanese.
Why Are We Where We Are?
1. The developed economies are scared of a united, powerful, and prosperous Nigeria.
Because of the General Murtala Mohammed era that led to the independence of several of the South African nations, from Namibia, to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique. They will never allow that again.
2. They created a very negative image of ourselves to ourselves, and we believed it.
Whatever we are accused of, there are several nations who commit worse crimes including Western Nations.
There is no corruption in Nigeria without a company in the developed world and China ready to play ball. The stolen wealth is stored in their banks. The stolen funds are used to buy assets in their nations.
3. We have wicked leaders who have no sense of patriotism, the desire to harness these attributes peculiar to us, and build confidence in us.
Maybe they are Afraid of what happened to Murtalla Mohammed, Patrice Lumumba, and Thomas Sankara.
4. The western colonial masters and their companies, by extension, benefit more from having a destabilized, underdeveloped, and confused Nigeria.
They like puppets they can control. They know that if Nigeria gets it right, they will have another China, Iran, and Cuba to contend with.
5. If we have the right leadership who can create the right motivation and direction and the right environment, there will hardly be any nation on earth that can intimidate Nigeria or Nigerians. I tasted a bit of it when I was younger, and I know what I mean.
I have been looking at the names of medical personnel who come to CNN to speak on the COVID-19 pandemic and the solutions. A great percentage bear Indian and Asian names. Remember, the Mayor of London is of Pakistani origin. Harold supermarket in London is owned by an Egptian.
You can have the best potentials, but you need a conducive environment and encouragement to prosper.
A lousy and cynical white South African heard I was a Nigerian, in Springs, South Africa, and he said, “Nigerians are criminals”. I told him that we fought and sacrificed for the dismantling of apartheid. But most importantly, I told him that criminality is, most times, intelligence, looking for an avenue for manifestation, in the midst of oppression and deprivation.
With the right environment and leadership, most Nigerians will be different.
Nigeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ,
In brotherhood we stand,
. . . .
O God of all creation,
Grant this our one request,
Help us to build a nation
Where no man is oppressed,
That was part of our old national anthem.
But I will say, “Help us to build a nation, where no talent and no man is suppressed”.
God bless my great country and her people.
I’m proud to be a Nigerian.
God bless Nigeria.
We shall overcome this one too, but let us learn to learn and change.
Read the next lesson: Life and Living: Constantly Pushing The Reset Button.