By Denrele Animasaun
I have observed that the prosperity or misery of each people is in direct proportion to its liberties or its prejudices and, accordingly, to the sacrifices or the selfishness of its forefathers. -Juan Crisostomo Ibarra.
At the risk of exposing my age, I love a good jingle on the radio waves About forty years ago, there was one that goes; ‘I love Nigeria, I no go lie, na inside I go live and die’… or ‘Andrew don’t check out’ !
I remember this particular jingle as it were yesterday alas, the message no longer holds true; but what is evident is that, we can no longer lie and stick our heads in the proverbial sand and simply wish that we all could stay regardless especially knowing fully well; it could mean one’s ultimate demise.
Whenever you hear or, say Nigeria, it is followed by a deep loaded sigh, one that only a Nigerian understands.
You can not help it. It raises from the pit of the stomach like noxious fume and corrosively makes its way up the parted lips like a concerned person giving up on an errant child. It is one of hopelessness and helplessness. Sure the well healed and opportunists will chide the despairing masses. It’s all right for them, they eat, drink, health checks abroad and are jolly well cushioned and blinkered so they have the luxury of denial. The ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil’ minority. That boat has sailed on their denial and avoidance. What affects most, affects all. Soon,there will be nothing for the poor to eat but the rich.
Hope left the country some time and any given the opportunity, most Nigerians will follow hope, faith is also on route.
Our collective sigh has become a reflex reaction, like when you have a cough or smell a noxious fume and you can not help it but gag. This is no disrespect, but I love Nigeria, it is Nigerians, I really have a problem with .
Is it right to generalise? Probably not, but, as majority of Nigerians fall within this group and time does not permit one to sieve out the few honest, hard working and principled Nigerians, expediency requires quick thinking. self preservation and prudence dictate generality . Nigerians must relearn moral and cultural values, the truth, hard and honest living and nation building for coming generations and most of all, leaders who want the best for Nigerian and not just to fill their greed. Let us bring unconditional kindness and compassion back and place value for life over the insatiable love for riches.
My father said; Nigerians don’t like the truth but for the sake of Allah, you must continue to write truthfully. He also did say that I malapropos : use too many words,when a few words will do. I am guilty. I sound like a broken record just like the state of Nigeria. A doctor friend of mine, advised her friends to liquidate their assets and resettle anywhere but Nigeria. She just can not think what else to say about the present situation in Nigeria.
To be frank, no-one leaves their homeland if they truly have a choice. If the last couple of years have got anything to show, it is that leaving seem to be the only choice when no other options are left.
For those have struggled and left the shores of Nigeria did this not out of choice but that of survival.
There very existence and success also become tied to those they leave ; their remittance is what keeps millions in Nigerians ticking over . Nigerians always strive to make success of their lives, evidence have shown under the right environment, they do thrive and make the best of their lives and we see thousands of examples abroad. Thirdly, Nigerians dream of coming back home. They do but, the tide is changing now. Our institutions and establishment are generally subpar, unless you can pay through your nose, you are at the mercy of conscience and charlatans.
Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fibre of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. -Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Tanitoluwa and Giannis are such stories of Nigerians globally, their families made the ardours and perilous journey to give their family a better live.
Giannis Sina Ougko Antetokunmpo was born on 6th December 1994, in Athens, Greece. He plays in the NBA and won MVPs over the last couple of years. This wunderkind nicknamed the ‘freak Greek’ holds Greek nationality but is Nigerian. Giannis was the 5th player in the history of the NBA to take the Bucks in the statistical kinds of points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and also steals. Also, his extraordinary success made him the 1st NBA player to be within twenty positions in each major statistical classification in a usual season. Giannis is the first Bucks player to get the ‘NBA Most Improved Player Award’ for the 2016 to 2017 Season. He is now a minority owner of a league team.
His parents left Nigeria and took refuge in Greece. The family struggled as undocumented refugees, they were evicted several times and the family often tells his boys to eat first so they do not go hungry. The boys helped their family by selling trinkets by the roadside to tourists but their father ensured his boys stayed active hence their love of basketball and soccer.
Giannis has three siblings and all with Greek sounding first names; Thanasis, Kostas, Francis, and Alexis Antetokounmpo. The father chose Greek names so they have a sense of belonging and the Greeks love the boys as their own. Sadly, their father is no more but he got to see his sons drafted into the biggest baseball league in the world. Giannis is a gentle giant, an old soul. His adopted Milwaukee Bucks have embraced him as one of their own.
Tanitoluwa Adewumi and his family left Nigeria and moved to the US. They lived in a homeless shelter in New York
It was while in the shelter that Tani, now 10-years-old, got to see and learnt to play chess.
Today, Tani is one of the chess world’s fastest rising stars. Tani moves in prestigious and elite circle of master chess players, he has met world leaders and he and his family co wrote a book, met famous chess players and the family co-wrote a book with author Craig Borlase, My Name Is Tani, and I Believe in Miracles. Comedian Trevor Noah and Paramount Pictures bought the movie rights and a script by Steven Conrad is in the works. This is how opportunity and the right environment engender greatness.
Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labour when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.-Suzy Kassem
No respect for our champions
We have seen this far too many times. Our athletes are mistreated, devalued and underpaid.
Nigerian shot putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi had disclosed that he only had one jersey, further exposing the harsh conditions Nigerian athletes faced at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This a national disgrace that the management did not provide enough kits.
The kits were indeed freely donated by international clothing brand, Puma, alongside an offer of financial reward to medal winning athletes but was rejected by officials — the management of the Nigerian Olympic team didn’t provide enough, a new report, former Nigerian senator Sheuhu Sani has shared a video on his Twitter page showing the alleged Olympic kits that were sponsored by Puma and were supposed to be dispatched to athletes in Tokyo.
According to Shehy Sani’s report, the kits in the video were freely donated by international clothing brand, Puma, alongside an offer of financial reward to medal winning athletes but was rejected by officials.
The Nigerian sports minister Sunday Dare refuses’ to give any report on this shambolic event. See the trouble with Nigerians?