Friday, May 18, 2012

Being Nigerian.

First things first, I’m Nigerian. No apologies offered. No explanations offered!

Not exactly sure why I said that, guess it’s just the pride I have in the green-white-green. Boy, am I excited or what when I think of my home country. Especially when I manage not to think of what the politicians have made of it.

I’ve been based in this beautiful country of Ireland for a while, and I feel privileged. I count it as nothing but a privilege to have lived in the same land as Michael Collins, Saint Patrick, James Connolly and a host of other remarkable heroes. I’ve been to almost all the counties in Ireland and the beautiful fusion of history and modernity is simply perplexing. A visit to Kilmainham gaol in Dublin or the Muckross farms in Killarney will tell you this country is special. Maybe I’m being biased, but it’s being my home for the past while, no one can really blame me. But much as I love the place, truth is I’m not Irish-born!

Every human being should have an identity. The focus, I believe should not be in changing it, it should be in improving it – except you’re a serial killer or some other type of  ill being of course.

See, if you grew up with traffic noise and cars honking for no sensible reason, you are Nigerian! If you were forced to call every older person ‘daddy’ or ‘mummy’, kid yourself not, you are Nigerian. If you grew up watching ‘new masquerade’ or ‘super story’, you are from Nigerian. If you were more familiar with pap than custard, you are a Nigeria. If a teacher random has ever burst into your class like a ninja and beat you all for ‘noise making’ you are Nigerian. If you have ever had a stare down with the conductor of a ‘danfo’ over how much your change is supposed to be, you are Nigerian!

Our idea of traffic.

I appreciate the fact we all look the same now. But your American-born friend beside you has no clue what ‘akara’ tastes like and will not understand why you have a smile on your face when chicken nuggets at McDonalds remind you of akara. Your British friend beside you could have been your room mate for seven years, but ‘up nepa’ means nothing to him. Your Australian friends might support the same rugby team as you, but they has no clue who Rashidi Yekini is. You can be married to Chin Lee but pretty Chin has no idea what the sweet relief of ‘fan yogo’ in the scorching sun feels like.

I see the world as a global village. Interaction is being enhanced and many of us have been beneficiaries. I, for one can and will defend the dignity of Ireland to a fault. I have friends who have defended the US in battle. The love and affection, the sense of belonging and ownership we all feel for our foster countries should and will not be over ridden. But we are who we are.
If your grandparents were from Nigeria. Your parents are from Nigeria. Your family lineage can be traced up to the tenth generation on Nigerian soil. You were born in Nigeria. My dear, kid not thyself, you are Nigerian!

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