National Thanksgiving Day

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TAYO’S Column

Crazy isn’t it? I mean the way we view our beautiful country. For most of us, Nigeria is the worst place to be in. We are quick to queue behind the derogatory remark that we are the poverty capital of the world. A claim that cannot be true if that world includes countries like Republic of Benin, Niger, Samoa, Haiti and even Jamaica. But if you understand that our countrymen (and women) love to grumble, you probably would learn to temper whatever we say about ourselves and our nation with some devaluation.

For instance, when we say something is very hot what we mean is that it is hot enough not to be described as old. When we describe fellow Nigerians, it is like everyone is either a full blown armed /unarmed robber or aspiring to become one. Going by our alleged inclinations, we hounded from the last Presidential Election someone who we tarred mercilessly with the brush of unbridled corruption and yet we want to vote for his Siamese twin brother in the next election! In our country, you hardly can see or know what Truth is. For us, truth is invariably modified to suit what we want to be known or perceived for.

In all these contradictions, I know we still have a beautiful country specially endowed by the ALMIGHTY. We have a country that properly speaking, should be the envy of other countries in the world. And even when we go the extra mile in rubbishing our country, every Nigerian is a fervent patriot with a secret joy in being a citizen of this country. Politically we have not been lucky to have a leader who would mobilise us to achieve our full potential as the best Black nation. I believe we will get there one day.

When you look around you, there is a lot to celebrate about us. But instead of joying in our Lord’s abundant mercy and grace, we spend too much time in denigrating ourselves and scorning our efforts. I believe if we appreciate ourselves adequately we will see more of the positives that envelope us and would subsequently tap into what we have been over generously supplied .

I think we should set aside a day for National Thanksgiving. Like is the case in the United States of America. Last year, my son wanted us to key into Thanksgiving Day in America. We did and it struck me that one of the reasons the USA has remained great is that they have learned to appreciate what they have been blessed with despite whatever setbacks they have suffered.

I am glad Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello were from my country. I was wowed when I heard Tafawa Balewa proud he was one of us. We had heroes like Murtala Muhammed. Like Aminu Kano the champion of the talakawas. Like Major Kaduna Nzeogwu- the first and only revolutionary we have had. Like Chinua Achebe. Like Pius Okigbo. We had sporting heroes like Teslim ‘Thunderbolt’ Balogun. Like Fabian Duru, Sam Garba Okoye, Inua Rigogo, Amusa Adisa. Oh! there was Dick Tiger Ihetu, Rafiu King Joe and Hogan ‘Kid’ Bassey.

In every sphere of our national life, we have made substantial impact in the world. In pidgin English, we showed the world how we turned the Queen’s English language into our own. So much so that we have created another language from its original form. In the field of medicine we have produced the best doctors. Amongst the best scientists in the world are Nigerians even if they are in diaspora! In sports, we were the first African country to win Olympic gold medal in football. No matter our current setbacks, we as Nigerians are the envy of most countries. Our influence everywhere, is, palpable.

We therefore have cause to pause and take stock . We would subsequently see that we have been adequately blessed. In showing appreciation for the numerous favours we have been bestowed we will be able to know our DNA. We are a nation of winners and like Antony Joshua said in a Glo advert ‘we Nigerians don’t stay down … we get up and fight. We have the tenacity of purpose that makes us game changers.’ In my many years as a broadcast journalist, I have seen this trait that defines the real Nigerian. We must therefore set a day apart to be thankful for the numerous blessings we have. To celebrate our heroes and redefine our essence subsequently leading us to actualising our full potential as the best there is.

May the LORD bless our country, Nigeria 🇳🇬.