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Nigeria: A country without patriots

I’m always afraid whenever Nigerians want to use “Nigerian” as an adjective. It is usually a time to insult Nigeria.

They never associate it with something good. It is always to ridicule their country and thereafter, laugh it off.

Last year (2015), I was at the Assembly Hall of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to listen to a public lecture on ethnic diversity and tolerance organised by a Mass Communication students body called ‘Whiz It Out’. The presenter of the lecture was a native French lady who was lecturer from the faculty of Social Sciences. When she showed up at the podium to project her slides, her computer couldn’t start up. It malfunctioned as the audience could see. She then made a remark, “I’m sorry, my computer is in the Nigerian mode today”. The Nigerian audience laughed heartily at this remark. My heart sank, I was sad. When the program started fully, we were asked to stand up for National Anthem. I was at the front line of the audience but I refused to stand up. I consider it hypocrisy that they stand for a country that they have just ridiculed some minutes ago. Where is the respect? Patriotism is in the heart not by public showoff of proceedings or ‘normal process’. Thanks to Chinua Achebe, he said ‘a patriot is someone who loves his country; not someone who says he loves his country’.

The second time I saw Nigerians embarrassing this country was at the Nigerian-Turkish Nizamiye Hospital, Abuja. Sitting at the entrance foyer where the consultation fees are paid, I heard the cashier, who was a Nigerian bashing her own country. A Turkish man couldn’t show up on time for his appointment. When he came, he apologised for not meeting up as arranged. Excuse me here please, but do you know the reply of the indiscreet Nigerian girl? In a sweet voice, she said to the Turkish man, “Oh...! Today you behaved like a Nigerian,” and then she followed it with the usual chuckles. I felt like standing up and giving her slaps till I could no longer. Look at how stupid she’s making Nigeria. 

We know that Nigeria is in bad shape, but why don’t we be working towards panel-beating it to good shape than laughing at our collective bad-making it?

Speaking about the silly excuse of “Nigerian Time” whenever we fail to start something on time is a waste of ink. Even in the Universities which should be the highest moral institutions, you see professors laughing over disrespect of schedules when they cover-up with “Nigerian time”. 

©️Ibrahyim A. El-Caleel 
January 23, 2018 

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