And I say this from the bottom of my heart. I’m not proud to be Nigerian because of any of our achievements. As far as I’m concerned, in so much as the country remains in its current state as regards education, poverty and health, those achievements, whatever meager thing they are, are of no use.
I’m not proud to be Nigerian because of any bogus potential people claim we have. Potential that has not manifested in over 50 years is nothing to be proud of. I’m not proud to be Nigerian because we are the “giant of Africa” or because of any mineral resource or because of our academic track record abroad. All those are meaningless in the face of the discomfort the average man living in Nigeria faces.
I’m proud of Nigeria for one reason and one reason only. It is home. Nowhere else would ever accept me like my country would. And yes it is in a mess, but because it is home, I have the keys to walk in and clean it up in what little way I can. Now the keys may be lost or buried deep within the corruption, nepotism, and tribalism, but because it is home I have the incontestable right to look for them and use them.
I am proud of Nigeria because that’s the hand I’ve been dealt. It’s the place I must defend, the place I must build. In it there is citizenship, purpose, a sense of belonging, hope, and more importantly home.