‘Giant of Africa’; I do not know where that came from. I surmise however that the population of that West African nation so named Nigeria by Mrs. Luggard (wife of last colonial Governor-General of the amalgamated protectorates) is basic reason for the accolade. To reduce it to that alone however, would also be an unfair conclusion.
From Sokoto to Yenagoa, from Maiduguri to Lekki and everywhere in-between you have a land upon which the heavens have broadly smiled. Think of any mineral and that land area superintended by Dr. Goodluck Ebere Jonathan has it; and in commercial measure. Rich in every sense, the envy of more than a few.
Nigeria has made us proud severally. Agbani Darego stunned the rest of the world when in 2001, that Naija beauty stole the show picking the Miss World Crown in South Africa. At the Barcelona Olympics, the Kanu Nwankwo studded side showed we – I mean Africa – could well take on the world and win. Oh, I did not mention the Rashidi Yekinis and Sunday Olisehs, Jay Jay Okochas, Daniel Amokachies and more recently Taye Taiwo, Odemuwinge, Mikel Obi etc. There is a plethora of them.
Earlier stars and fathers in their right: Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ola Rotimi, James Iroha, Usman Baba Pategi (aka Samanja), Chika Okpala (aka Zebrudaya), Ali Baba, Onyeka Onwenu, King Sunny Ade, Dan Maraya Jos, Oliver De Coque, Shina Peters, Pete Edochie etc on the literary front set the mark incredibly high. Chimamanda Adichie, P-Square, Tiwa Savage, Lepkacious Bose, Clint De Drunk, D-Banj, Seyi Law, Jim Iyke, Ini Edo, Basket Mouth, 2Face Idibia etc have not let the Green-White-Green flag down. The successes of the nation are more than can be listed in a piece like this.
On this auspicious occasion, 53 years of nationhood, I salute all who have kept the nation as a force too formidable to be ignored. Nigeria is proud and grateful to you. Africa hails.
‘There is more room for improvement’ was the pseudo-motivation our school masters gave us on our scorecard at the end of the term. I’ve got one for the ‘giant’.
Sadly, Nigeria has the unenviable reputation of being both violent and fraudulent. We could argue that until our throats went sore, but perceptions however unfounded should bother us. I have traveled a bit, and trust me, everywhere I have been the testimonies haven’t been pleasant. Introduce yourself as from Nigeria or have any connection with her and you are met with a look that says it all – ‘we can’t trust you’.
‘Compatriots’, we can do something and we must. What is it Nigeria must do I sincerely cannot say, but surely SOMETHING SHOULD AND MUST BE DONE.
It would be calamitous to be less than absolute about dealing with corruption – governmental and nongovernmental – internet scams, business and bank frauds, Niger-Delta abductions, sanitation, sectarian crisis, shameful demands of bribes by customs and security officials at the nations ports and land borders and that despicable most inglorious terrorist attacks on sleeping Agricultural College students. Compatriots, Arise. Like the Giant of the Philistines, if our ‘Champion’ is defeated, we are slain in battle. In many ways, Nigeria remains Africa’s ace.
Happy Independence Anniversary Naija.