It was the former Minister of Information and a Professor of pharmacology, Dora Akunyili of blessed memory who rebranded Nigeria as a “country of good people and great nation”.
Indeed, this is a suitable philosophical conclusion that was largely informed by the numerous and unprecedented exploits and global attainments by Nigerians in different spheres of human endeavours over the years.
No doubt, pieces of evidence and records abound as to the excellent and distinguishing accomplishments of Nigerians in scientific and technological innovations as well as in economics, medicine administration and many other disciplines across the world.
To say the least, the greatness of Nigeria as a strategic nation is premised on the enormous potentials as epitomized in the abundant human and material resources that nature has blessed the country with.
Surely, with a massive population estimated at over 200 million, vibrant and ingenious people; most of whom have continued to make waves and challenge the best brains across the world, Nigeria is a country deserving a pride of place in the comity of nations.
Unfortunately, in spite of the numerous lofty feats attained by Nigeria and Nigerians in different disciplines including sports, the military and politics across the globe, the country has continued to suffer wide spread indignation and image bashing owing to the self-destruct propensities of some of her citizens.
It is a sad reality that most of the image bashing and denigrating pictures of Nigeria are often painted first, by the unwholesome attitudes of some self-seeking Nigerians who are always in a hurry to make it through the back door.
More saddening is the fact that either through their conducts or utterances via the media, these crops of Nigerians have developed a chronic penchant to constantly portray their country in negative light, especially before the international community.
These Nigerians seldom see anything good or positive about their fatherland; in spite of its development challenges, the country has made tremendous progress and recorded breakthroughs that needed to be projected to the outside world.
It must be noted that every country, no matter how highly developed and sophisticated, has it dark sides and challenges, some of which are even worse than those of Nigeria.
But, despite this reality, out of sheer patriotism and strong nationalism, citizens of those countries often downplay their bad sides and conscientiously project only their positive attainments as if life in their own countries was a bed of roses.
Also, most disturbing is the fact that a section of the Nigerian media always focuses on failures and challenges as if there were no success stories to report about the country.
This was why a war veteran, retired General IBM Haruna once said, “in spite of the numerous challenges of insecurity facing Nigeria and Nigerians, the country is still relatively peaceful and progressing, deserving of belief and positive hope”.
Thus, it is incumbent on Nigerians at all levels irrespective of differences to consider and place Nigeria above every mundane consideration for a greater nation.
As aptly captured by a saying of the Alago people of central Nigeria, ‘’if a man turns himself into a broken piece of Calabash, strangers will use it to collect refuse and crash’’.
It is surely what comes out of Nigeria from Nigerians themselves that others will build upon as their bases for the rating and treatment of the country and its citizens.
Writing by Musa Abdullahi; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu