WHY I LOVE MY COUNTRY
It is always amazing to see a man and woman in love. Such a wonderful sight to behold: an elderly couple, walking hand-in-hand in the park. If you have never been truly in love, you may not understand what I am talking about. This is romantic love (Eros) - the type that gives you butterflies in your stomach. Romantic love is tied to infatuation and highly sexual in nature. It is based on “feelings.” The couple that survives together into their later life will understand that the romantic love must move into brotherly love (Philos) and unconditional love (agape).
This is universal and transcends culture. I met an octogenarian couple in Emu in Delta State and a similar couple in Mandeville Jamaica. The Emu man lovingly called his wife oliaku (the one that eats my money), while the Jamaican man referred to his wife as “holy ghost.” The analogous point here is that the love of a country is similar to the love an elderly couple have for each other. It is sometimes an active conscious love. Any married Christian knows that the love mentioned in 1 Cor. 13 and required of husbands in Eph 5:25 (Col 3:19) is not eros because sometimes you don't feel very loving towards your spouse.
With all that definition of love, I want to tell you why I love my country Nigeria.
Nigerians have an uncanning resilience that is rare among other nationalities. We are very adaptable. How else do you explain that we have adjusted to the fuel price, along with the other price hike? In fact, I am bold enough to change the expression of “Warri no dey carry last” to “Naija no dey carry last.”
I want to tell you that one other reason I love my country is because of our women. It is only a Nigerian woman that can have five children (& still want more), be married to a difficult man, cook his meal, wash & iron his clothes, and still get to church 4 times a week and praise God alone for all that “blessings.” The husband probably is sitting at home or may even drop her and the children off at church. Have you seen a Nigerian woman getting dressed and tying her “gele” (head gear – forget the spelling). I am lovingly amazed when I watch my wife getting dressed. Only a Nigerian woman can kneel down before her mother-in-law and apologize, even when she has done nothing wrong. That will not happen in the west. It is also a Nigerian woman that will bear the blame for childlessness (I hate the phrase barrenness) even though the husband may be shooting blanks or fails to provide the chromosome (XY) for the invaluable male child. What about the fact the ugliest Nigerian woman can still make shakara for any man and put him in his place. If you are reading this and your wife, mother, sister or daughter is alive, give them a high five. This is to all my Naija women.
Our outlook on marriage is another reason why I love my country. If you are a Nigerian woman and your husband has not paid your bride price, he is just borrowing you for free. When we marry, it is the joining of two families. Whereas abroad, you have no fault divorce that you can obtain in less than 21 days, a Nigeria man that wants to divorce his wife may hear his elder brother (or uncle) say something like, “na our wife O!. Na me marry am 4 u. We no go ask them to return any bride price, Na do or die O!”
Economically, Nigeria is the only place where you can receive over 1,000 percent return on your investment (ROI). In fact, many times tax-free. I hope no one from Inland Revenue office reads this portion. The reason why there are many foreigners and multinationals in Nigeria is because of our investment climate. Most of them cannot make in their country what they make in Nigeria. I tell people that with hard work, perseverance, networking and faith, Nigeria is the place to be, especially for investment. The love for my country does not make me ignorant of the challenges that abound; instead, it makes me more resolute in certain endeavors. Why won't you love a country like this if you are business minded?
Another reason why I love my country is that as the largest black nation, our potentials are innumerable and inexhaustible. Yes, Nigeria is the giant of Africa, yes, it is the richest black nation, yes, it has the smartest people around the world, yes, it has the most confident people that I have seen in all my travels, and yes, we have a long way to go. The confidence that Nigerians exude is one of the reasons why some other nationalities have a love/hate relationship with us. Many envy us. Some Caribbean men dislike us because their women gravitate towards our men. Some other groups cannot fathom how come some of the brilliant brains in their own countries are Nigerians. I am aware that it is this same potential that makes some Nigerians to be overwrought with ambivalence. This vacillation usually comes with great potential and any life coach will tell you that if you can overcome this “analysis paralysis” you will soar and achieve your destiny. Excuse the big grammar, but let me break it down. Those wen Chineke God bless, need to use am make e no spoil rotten.
Finally, whether you like it or not, Naija b Naija. You are still green white green. Even if you naturalize, that name will give you away. In fact, with all the fone, your accent is still lurking underneath. You may eat all the jerk chicken or Italian Fra Diablo you want, but that craving for jollof rice, amala, akpu or nsala will still hit you, albeit once in a while. The variety of our food is worth loving.
You may have your own reasons why you love your country. Whatever it is (they are), hold on to it. You will need it in times of trouble. See James 1:2.
Prof Alex O. Atawa-Akpodiete is an author, Computer Scientist, Educator, Consultant, lawyer, Political Analyst, Public affair analyst & Social commentator. He has a Doctorate degree in Jurisprudence from the US. He has lectured Law, Ethics and Security & Intelligence Studies at the University level here in Nigeria and US. He also writes for a state daily newspaper & national monthly journal. He currently divides his time between Nigeria and USA where he runs a PR and an international capacity-building firm ATAWA GROUP. Contact him on 1.917.972-2034 or 234(0)8138391661 or [email protected] He is also on Facebook and Twitter.