nna, i don tire

I had a conversation with a young Igbo man last night (who reads this blog by the way - I'm not telling names - but I hope you still come by to visit) in which he expressed his frustration with Nigeria and his newfound adoration for the US. A recent immigrant to the US, he made it clear that I will never be able to understand why he hates Nigeria seeing that I was not born there. I have since given up on trying to explain to my fellow Naija brothers and sisters that my American-ness doesn't prevent me from forming a credible opinion about Nigeria just as their Nigerian-ness does not prevent them from forming a credible opinion about the US. But I digress....

When he made his opinion known that he hates Nigeria, I simply stated that I was not surprised – and left it at that. In the past I would have countered with a plethora of arguments, forwarded the misguided individual to website after website and rattled off fact after fact from the tip of my tongue until the poor individual was suckered into waving the green-white-green with his fellow Compatriots.

Now, I think I have given up trying to convince people otherwise, in fact, I don tire. If I got a nickel anytime a Nigerian or child of Nigerian immigrants expressed a favorable view of Nigeria, I'd be very poor, miserable woman.

Of course, I still have high hopes for our nation and I have witnessed tremendous positive change in Nigeria within the short timespan I have been alive. And yes, there are downsides - legion. I know why my heart in Nigeria, but I am just curious as to why you, the reader, has any care for Nigeria at all. Why do Nigerians like Nigeria? I know why they don't. But for the half a percent that does, why?

29 comments:

  1. Charizard said...:

    Bone mayn...I lurr 9ja...was born and bred here...and the truth is yes we have our problems but hating 9ja wont change anything at all...

    I am with you on the high hopes for 9ja...

  1. Hmm, I love naija first cos it's home, it's my country, I was born and bred there and despite all the wahala, Nigeria has given me much.Most of what I am, has been because I am Nigerian, the society produced the wonderful parents who nurtured me into what I am today.
    And like charizard said, hating Nigeria wnt solve nada. These foreign countries have had their crises you know, but they fought,died,ressurected and made their country work and I think as Nigerians, we owe our country that much.
    Yaradua continues to annoy me more by the day but still I am hopeful. If as many of us as have hope,do what we should/can,then no matter how long it takes, Nigeria will rise again. I guess for those of us who love Nigeria,we see beyond today.

  1. BacktoNaija said...:

    My heart is at peace and at home in Nigeria. But this I just discovered when I moved back home some months ago. It's my territory. I also like the Nigerian spirit. Humor, endurance, perseverance, camaraderie. Or maybe it's the dusty side walks, or the simplicity of it all. Even though I'll be the first to make fun of the country and its ways because it usually annoy me to bits...but I love me some Nigeria oh and know that she will only get better!

  1. 14th and serenity said...:

    12 SECRETS
    12 REVELATIONS
    12 LIVES
    22 DAYS
    ARRIVING MONDAY, 26TH MAY 2008
    http://14thandserenity.blogspot.com/

  1. Pink-satin said...:

    well its hard to have high hopes for that country with the way things are going!!!our main problem is CORRUPTION!!!!!!those in power are greedy!!!they want it all for themselves...send their kids to the best schools,buy the nicest cars and flaunt the money and people still respect them!!!...i love the country my heart is there...armed robbers have shown me pepper!!police sef!!!maybe if the corrupt leaders were providing jobs to get those hoodlums of the street,taking care of the police and their family by paying them well...wo i dont know...9ja na prayer!!!

  1. TheAfroBeat said...:

    OUR RESILIENCE AND RESOURCEFULNESS. It is ingrained in most of us, whether we grew up there or not, by coming in continuous contact with a nigerian "from the source" for even a short period of time, you catch the bug. You can't sit around waiting for life to happen and things to be handed to you on a silver plate - you get on with it. And that's what makes me love Nigerians.
    As for loving Nigeria itself, i know no other home. No matter where i roam, all roads lead back to the motherland.

    Nna, don't tire over those who have been rubbed the wrong way by Nigeria(ns), everyone has their reason, and we can't always convince pp otherwise.

    How've you been? Howz school? Any summer trip to Naija planned?

  1. shei you don return o!!!...and with fiyah!!!...na serious question you dey ask o!!!...

    ...first things first, no country is without its faults and problems...i don't expect any country to be without some inadequacies/shortcomings...although naija should be much further along, the potential for what it could, should and will be excites and inspires me...i want to be a part of that...i am destined to be a part of that...

    ...although i am a rather rational person, i consider my emotions to play a huge role in my life...hence, its about a feeling as well...i yearn for an organic, earthy, genuine and simplistic approach to life...a place full of vibrant and diverse cultures and languages and experiences...a place where at once i can mingle and co-exist with nature as i make my way through the bush to an internet cafe...somewhere my senses are heightened, soul is inspired/ignited to creativity and action...a place where i can tap into my potential as a human being, can vibrate as i should, in tune with the universe...a place that resonates with my soul...a place rich in resources...with people who carry their pride around always...where red earth and smoke mingle and dance together to the music blaring from the loudspeakers...men have mad swagger and are confident as hell...and can dance too...have you ever seen pics of men in traditional wear at funerals, for example?...have you ever looked in their eyes?...i want to be around people so deeply complex, dynamic and profoundly deep...

    ...after all the fluffy foo-foo talk, nigeria resonates better with my soul...i feel peaceful, creative, inspired, passionate, frustrated, organic, whole, womanly, beautiful, revolutionary, delicate, etc when in naija...a combination i have never felt in all the years i have spent in the us (my whole life essentially)...even as i was fleeing a car early in the morning to avoid being robbed by armed robbers in naija-something that has never happened in the us-it still felt organic and real-the cool, albeit polluted air rushing against my face...i have and continue to feel displaced in the us while i feel at home in naija...how could you not love a place that welcomes you home no matter how long you've been away?...i could go on...i'll stop...

    ...great question!!!...so glad you are back!!!...

  1. pamela said...:

    1) resilience, resourcefulness, humor, friendliness of Nigerians.

    2) The food - I swear we have the best food in the world.

    3) My village ! :-D

  1. Anonymous said...:

    First of all i love my country.i won't say anything bad about this country and never will.I love blessings,and you can't say something bad about a thing and expect to be blessed.Those who say they hate 9ja are those who don't believe in themselves.i love the statement John F Kennedy made "it is not what your country will do for you but what you would do for your country".I see opportunities in 9ja.The land is still untapped.
    I believe that i will make 9ja the fashion hub of Africa,i don't need the help of the government.i only need the grace and help of the most high God.I don't believe what i read in the newspaper,i only believe in what the Bible says about situations.I can't see why trees grow here,birds fly;all using their God given abilities to help themselves and nature.And we that are created in God's image will be limited.We can be whatever we want to be when we connect to our manufacturer.i have met other young Nigerians that don't only believe in 9ja but have chosen a role to play in the lifting of this our great nation.
    i believe Africa one day will rule the world after all Africa is the mother of the world.There is a reason why God placed the resources

  1. Anonymous said...:

    He placed here.God didn't create the world and made America the way it is.It was human beings who sacrificed to make their country great.We can still do the same for this our dear country.
    Some people will say the government is bad.Yes maybe but i don't dwell in that area.There is always a positive and negative in every situation,it depends on where each individual wants to stay.i have also noticed that the negative area is over populated and the positive is so empty,that is why those that are there can create things.We should start seeing things positively and we would be able to do a lot of good to God,others and ourselves.So many people are making things happen and making lots of money in this same bad 9ja.I LOVE 9JA and will always will...........
    comment of a humble tailor who wants to make a difference in his country and the world in general

  1. Standtall said...:

    Very patrotic you. PHCN is enough to make me want to leave Naija forever but e go better (lol)

    When will it be a good time for you to visit my blog and leave a comment? I dey vex o

  1. AlooFar said...:

    Simply Patriotic ;)

    Hi

  1. Waffarian said...:

    1: Nigeria gave me the best childhood ever, I doubt if I would have had happier childhood anywhere else in the world.

    2: The people: I am a people person...i love studying characters, analysing, dissecting...heheheheh no where else on earth have I been able to take so much joy talking with people as in Nigeria...no matter the times...there is always something to be learnt..no where else, are so many "life lessons" in abundance...yeah...

    3:Food: Please God help me...I have always said that I will never be a good spy, cos it takes very little to break me down...just tie me and put egusi soup and pounded yam in front of me...I will confess every single secret...chei..

    All this talk just made me hungry, I am going to make ogbono soup...

  1. Oracle said...:

    I believe we have to see the good things in this country and be blinded to the errors, but we can't help noticing the lack of water, lack of power, fuel scarcity, bad roads. I'm sure we all know whatz up with Nigeria.
    People are complaining because these things are really not there. And who do you expect people to blame. I think you should answer that question yourself. I'm being Patriotic, no matter what I do, this is my country. I can't change that. It would be fulfilling to look at my country and really be proud to call it my country. Nigeria's Got work to do, thatz all I gotta say.

  1. Loomnie said...:

    You have been tagged! Details on my blog.

  1. Ollay said...:

    For starters guys get stuck in traffic and pasrk their cars withiout getting tickets and just walk to a beer parlour to drink beer until it all dies down. You gotta like that init?

    For me sha, I got plenty of different friends you can do different things, I meet decent blokes and people just give me money for the heck of it. What's there not to like about that. I can hardly say that about living in the UK.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    my parents and brothers still live there; it's where i was born; my sense of humor can only be described as Nigerian;etc etc etc...

  1. I have had similar convrsations wayyy to many times. Why do I love Nigeria?
    -Because we are resilient:We had a civil war, and moved on. We had a dictatorship (for the majority of our independent history) and we are moving on. From riots to scandals, we continue to move on.
    -Because we are intelligent: It may sound corny but its true. Put a Nigerian anywhere-and we will rise to the top.
    ~I could go on and on..

  1. Naapali said...:

    G. Nigeriana, Waffy and NDQ have said all I would want to say.

    @ Waffy egusi soup and pounded yam coming your way.

  1. SOLOMONSYDELLE said...:

    **sigh**

    I feel really sad reading your post. Not because of anything you wrote, but simply because it is so hard to change people's minds when they get into that 'state' about Nigeria. I can't judge anybody, they have the right to express their frustration or disappointment. I only hope that your friend will someday overcome these feelings and realize that those he left behind will someday need him to step up to the plate and help make things better for them as well.

    Take care madam igbotic. God bless.

  1. Yayemarie said...:

    lol..i enjoyed this post..but since I'm not Nigerian can't answer...

  1. nneoma said...:

    I think all of these comments are the ones i will treasure for months, years to come...thanks all.

    @charizard - my sentiments exactly. complaining is good, only when coupled with a willingness to do something about it - or at least hire someone to do something about it

    @for the love of me - yep, home is where the heart is. As for Yar'adua - I have mixed feelings about him. I guess when you have hit bottom anything looks good. But i digress.

    @backtonaija - thanks for stopping by. I like that - the Nigerian spirit....never thought about it that way.

    @14th and serenity - huh? Sorry, i'm always a bit slow at these things.

  1. nneoma said...:

    @pink satin - like i said, i've stopped trying to convince people otherwise. i'm aware of those things - but what country doesn't have its flaws. and what person, except for the morally elite, wouldn't want their children to go to the best schools and have the best cars and so on. human nature is a b****.

    @theafrobeat - thanks for your comments. i will be here for the summer, unfortunately, saving up money to move in the fall. aiming for a Christmas trip though (maybe one of these days i will follow nigeriandramaqueen and start taking weekend trips to naija - oh i am still sooo jealous).

    @gnigeriana - "the potential for what it could, should and will be excites and inspires me..." - i feel you on that one. here in the US, everything is been there done that. personally i think that there is cultural revolution that is slowly taking the country over. as for the emotional part of your post - that is why you are my anthropologist. Anthro anthro! (I made that up).

    @pamela - first of all, i miss you - where's your blog, woman! but i hear you on all your points especially point number 2.

  1. nneoma said...:

    @anonymous - thanks for stopping by, my dear. i am inspired by your enthusiasm for our country and only wish that enthusiasm will spill over to others. I do believe that God has over-blessed us with not only natural resources, but more than capable resources to take Nigeria, and in fact Africa to a place of international prominence.

    @standtall, i stopped by your blog and I am definitely including it in my blog roll...like right now. intersting.

    @aloofar - thanks for stopping by and thanks for the compliments.

    @waffarian - i hear on the people. i am one of those people that are easily entertained by people watching (not in a creepy way). Forget nollywood, fights that break out in the markets of obalende are waaaay more interesting.

  1. nneoma said...:

    @oracle - i hear you - and i am not denying that there are serious issues in nigeria. however, i am tired of the self-hate, its quite sad. I believe you can be patriotic and critical, highly critical, at the same time - isn't that what most Nigerian blogs are about anyway? lol

    @loomnie - i will eventually get to the tagging. i hate being tagged, because i am usually the last person to be tag it. it is like being the last person picked for a class game of volleyball or something - unpopular. oh well - i will answer the tag in due time.

    @ollay - that's it - take life as it comes - and deal with it...i think that is part of the nigerian spirit backtonaija was referring to.

    @nigeriandramaqueen - about the civil war, you're telling me about resilience. my dear, i just finished reading Half a Yellow Sun (i know, i'm late) and i couldn't believe the same people that underwent that war are the same people i live with, call family and laugh and play with. talk about resilience. (will post on it one of these days, when i get my act together)

    @naapali - thanks for stopping by and for seconding the great coments

    @ssd - yes, i was sad after that conversation, but reading the comments so far has invigorated me. hope he stops by here too.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    aah this conversation we continue to have ha!!
    at least am inspired again by all the comments and it has reassured me that am not crazy for loving Nigeria and being extremely hopeful.
    We are going to be the ones to fight for our country so i guess its either we keep complaining or start doing something positive in our own little ways...
    anyways i leave this conversation for a long phone call.....
    uk

  1. anonymaus said...:

    I was born and grew up in England. At that time being black was viewed as a negative. My Mum's people are from Guyana (a modest people, though still proud), my Father is a Nigerian (Delta state). At school and in society at large in England being black was nothing to be proud of.

    At school the only things we saw and new of black people were either unemployment, crime for the blacks in the UK.
    For blacks elsewhere it was hunger, slavery, chaos (ie civil wars) and dependency on Europe and/or America.

    It was said that all blacks lived in trees or where sitting with begging bowls waiting for the white people to feed them, educate them etc. This was in the 80s.

    When I went first went to Nigeria (in 1981), I was pleased to see black people with confidence, a sense of themselves, a vibrancy and dynamism that I had not seen in Britain (amongst black people). The variety of peoples with their own distinct sense of identity, was a breath of fresh air. I was glad to have an association with that place.

    I researched into Nigeria and on subsequent visits became disappointed, in that all is not that it seems (there). Compared to the rest of the world, the country has indeed faltered (whilst everyone else runs along).

    The drawbacks of Nigeria are many and obvious, but I still retain an affection for the place. I am glad to have a discernible and tangible link to Nigeria and Africa.

    Nigeria is still a confident and dynamic place compared to some of it's other African brothers.

  1. nneoma said...:

    @anonymaus - yes, actually going back to nigeria for the first time can change your whole outlook on western views of the black diaspora. i hope you maintain that link to nigeria

  1. plastiQ said...:

    The frustrations, the trials, the tribulations, the undying hope, the food, the people, the arguments on the bus ride after a hard day's work, the spontaneous drama, the diversity...

    Men, I could go on and on.