By Reno Omokri
Sadly, some Nigerians do not know how to compartmentalise issues. They feel that a disagreement or disenchantment with the government in power is the same thing as a disagreement or disenchantment with Nigeria.
Not true at all.
Nigeria does not belong to the All Progressives Congress, or the Peoples Democratic Party. Nigeria is a country. If the APC, PDP, or any other political party should suddenly be defunct, Nigeria would continue to exist.
The Northern Peoples Congress was once the ruling party. It ceased to exist in 1966. 57 years later, Nigeria continues to exist.
The National Party of Nigeria was once the party in power. Today, the NPN is as dead as a dodo, but Nigeria is still brimming with life.
This week, there was a great fuss by many Nigerians over a $2 billion airport being built in Rwanda. They saw this as an opportunity to talk down Nigeria and tag her as a big-for-nothing country, while extolling Rwanda and its peoples to high heavens.
The fact is that many of these people have not even been to Rwanda. Yet they believe it is better than Nigeria. Because of a $2 billion airport.
But the fact that Rwanda is building a $2 billion airport is no reason to talk down Nigeria. I celebrate Rwanda. However, Nigeria is also making waves. The Lekki Free Trade Zone alone is worth $25 billion. Please don’t take my word for it. Research it yourself. How many times have these same people praised it as Nigerians? Given a $2 billion airport and a $25 billion free trade zone, I am certain the Rwandese would prefer the latter.
But this group of our citizens is now talking down Nigeria because of a $2 billion investment. That investment is just about the same amount that the Lagos State Government spent on their Blue Line Rail.
I have never seen a people that the foreign media can so easily gaslight to turn on themselves. We must learn to promote our own, and others will promote us. Let us use our mouths to build Nigeria. It is the only umbrella covering us.
Some people are saying that since I am speaking well of Nigeria, it means I am about to join the APC. Such myopic thinking! So they think demeaning Nigeria affects only the APC? No. The APC is a party and as Prince sang in his 1985 monster hit, 1999, “Life is just a party.
And parties weren’t meant to last.”
The APC does not have a passport. Only Nigeria does. Demeaning Nigeria does not only demean members of the APC. It affects you and me. You and I are the ones who will get that demeaning look when we present our passports at Rwanda’s airport. Not the APC.
For 8 years, I fought Buhari. I did not fight Nigeria. Big difference. And if the courts don’t do the right thing, then I will torment Tinubu for the foreseeable future, if he misbehaves.
Learn to play responsible politics. Oppose bad governance. Don’t fight your country. You can do the two things simultaneously. They are not mutually exclusive. Please do not mistake my opposition politics for support of any people’s secession agenda. I love my country and I want it peaceful, prosperous, and yes, united. Yes, united. If you don’t like that last part, you can keep spreading your lies against me. I am a Nigerian!
When I tried to put things in perspective between Nigeria and Rwanda, a young man named Jideofor Okechukwu, with the Instagram handle jideofor_Okechukwu accused me of rooting for a ‘dead’ country.
Yet, when there was trouble in Sudan, our citizens were shooting videos complaining that the Federal Government refused to evacuate some of them to your so-called ‘dead country’. I watched those videos. Never in my life have I seen anybody so eager to get to a dead country!
Dead country where you have the least expensive petrol in sub-Saharan Africa. Where you have free education up to secondary school, without the precondition of paying tax. Where you have access to a personal travel allowance at the official rate.
Rwanda those fellows are boasting of, as though it were paradise, only generates 276 MW of electricity, which is less than 5% of what Nigeria generates. We have developmental challenges, but we are very much alive. Nigeria will outlive her current challenges.
Thank God the rest of the world is beginning to see the good in Nigeria. Our music is now the hottest sound on planet Earth, and Lagos’ economy alone is rivalling the entire economy of Kenya and is Africa’s ninth biggest economy.
Nigeria is not a dead country and shall never be a dead country. Those who wish her dead will never succeed in Yeshua’s Name.
There are challenges in every country. Take America for example. In ten years, property prices in America have doubled. In that same time, the minimum wage did not double. It remained more or less the same.
Canada experienced the same thing and had to take the extraordinary step of enacting legislation preventing foreigners from buying homes in Canada, so they do not drive house prices beyond the reach of Canadians. Things are difficult everywhere.
These guys say Nigeria is bad. Yet, in France, the French are rioting in the streets because their retirement age was increased from 62 to 64. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, workers are begging the Federal Government to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65.
In 2005, Nigerians fled parts of America due to Hurricane Katrina. In 2020, Nigerians rushed to escape from the UK to Nigeria because they did not want to catch #COVID19. In 2022, our nationals fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion. And now, our citizens are being evacuated from Sudan.
Don’t wait until you are forced to return to Nigeria for your safety before appreciating your country. You call it a zoo, yet, if war catches you, you will zoom into the zoo even if you must use a canoe. Appreciate Nigeria. Don’t depreciate her with your public comments. Nigeria has its developmental challenges. However, we have a pretty decent country. Some things we enjoy and take for granted are what others dream of and take to the streets for!
A lizard in Nigeria won’t automatically be a crocodile in America. Stop putting down Nigeria!
The first time a lot of Nigerians ever experience depression is after relocating to their ‘dream country’. They then realise that all that glitters is not gold. They left a warm communal way of life, for a cold, individualistic way of life, where neighbours go to work, and avoid contact with each other.
The warmth that they take for granted in Nigeria is all too often missing. Even though it is almost 70 years old, I still recommend that Nigerians wishing to japa should read Trinidadian author, Sam Selvon’s book, The Lonely Londoner.
Not much has changed. And the same can actually be said about our people.
A hundred years ago, Lord Frederick Lugard described our people as “excitable person(s), lacking in self-control, discipline and foresight.”
And that is what came to mind when I read the words of those Nigerians excitedly belittling Nigeria and praising Rwanda just because of a $2 billion airport.
Our people are too easily carried away. We have very little control of our mouths. We do not understand the power of the tongue and will gladly unleash a stream of negative things about our country.
The problem is not always, and only the Nigerian government. It is more appropriately with the Nigerian people. Amidst crisis, Nigeria evacuated Nigerians from a war zone in Sudan. Rather than praise this feat and the financial and logistical assistance given to the evacuees when they arrived in Nigeria, many are criticising it.
If it is that easy, how come Africans from at least 27 countries, including Rwanda, have not fully evacuated all their nationals wishing to leave Sudan, as Nigeria has done?
There are still British and American citizens trapped in Sudan. Meanwhile, you are badmouthing and undermining Nigeria’s efforts.
Unlike some other Africans, Nigerian evacuees from Sudan were evacuated for free. When they landed in Nigeria and before being handed over to their state governments, they were each given N100k, N25k recharge cards and 1.5 GB data. Are those the actions of a bad country?
In my opinion, the Sudan evacuation efforts are commendable. The ministry and minister of foreign affairs should be commended. They represented Nigeria well in this singular endeavour. This is not a blanket endorsement. This is specific.
The financial and logistical support to those affected is a most humane act. The Nigerian Airforce is not to be forgotten. They have shown great courage by rushing in to help when others were running out.
I also commend Nigerian Airlines like Air Peace, Azman, and others, which, at significant personal, business and infrastructural risks, have availed their assets for this patriotic evacuation effort. Together, they have reawakened patriotism in the hearts of many grateful and right-thinking Nigerians.
Last year, there was a racist chant by the stadium crowd against Victor Osimhen. Yesterday, there was a praise chant by the stadium crowd for him. Learn from that. Don’t react to your enemies. Just win and they will be the ones reacting to you! Stop arguing with your haters and enemies. Go and succeed. Nobody can argue with that. Success is always the best revenge.
Happy 70th Birthday Mike Adenuga
If there is one man whose wealth has reflected on his family, community, friends, and nation, that person is Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jr.
A lot of people say that Nigerians do not celebrate their icons. And to an extent, that is true. But Nigerians celebrated Mr Adenuga on his birthday. And even before that day. Why? He is a notoriously media-shy person. He hardly gives interviews. He is averse to attending social occasions.
But despite that aspect of his personality, his generosity has been able to permeate all strata of Nigerian society. Silently and consistently. He is a man that understands that media is not a charity and that a media workman is worthy of his wages.
And when you talk about pan Nigerianism. there is no better example than Mr Adenuga. Not only does his generosity transcend region and religion, but his business interests are almost a national interest. Because everywhere you look in Nigeria, he has business interests there.
My brother met his wife at Adenuga’s bank. I used Adenuga’s mobile telephony. And my late friend benefited from his foray into oil and gas. And yet, despite having been a Presidential spokesman, I have never met the man. He has practised the art of having an absence that is more powerful than the presence of many people.
And he is not just pan Nigerian, or pan African. He is global. How do I know?
My English friend, Michael Moszinsky, flew to Nigeria over 50 times because of Mr Adenuga. And when we both met with Boris Johnson, guess whose name was on the mouth of that influential British establishment figure? The Bull.
Happy birthday sir. You are one in a million, and a grateful nation celebrates with a great-full hero.