Nigeria: A nation shaped by the white and the black

By Ogunaike Samuel

Prior to her independence, she had experienced several scoopings from the white-skinned men and the dark-skinned natives. Her true sons and daughters started off as innocent traders, going about their daily adventures with some old-fashioned finesse. Those who took to hunting, did it with their might, same as those who preferred farming, did so with total admiration. No doubt, some forms of barbarism did exist among them. Despite this, they were renowned for their never-ending energy and gallant courage. In the beginning, begging and seeking of external succour were demeaning to them. Now, they ply the trade, sometimes, with judicious caution, other times, with heavy mindlessness.

Nature, on its part, was so kind to her. Natural resources in their torrents flooded above and beneath her soil. The Sky was just a pal, always being friendly to her. Sadly, the majority of her sons and daughters could not fully maximize the nature's blessings. With this, she, without question, became an attraction of the white. They came as sculptors and did some jobs. While they brought blessings, they also left curses. Seeing to it that some of her sons and daughters were illiterate, they built schools, shared knowledge with the already enlightened and sometimes went to classes to teach. They did their best in terms of infrastructural development, at least, using a superior technology to help with roads and other residential buildings. In the end, they taught them to believe in importation, as they were bringing refined products to whisk away some resources. From that moment, anything foreign became superior and a masterclass.

With this, a new mentality was born. A radical shift in perspective soon became evident. We have become an importation-ladden nation as anything home-made or Nigeria-made is supposedly inferior. Even the government imported engineers to construct our roads. We prefer to import a foreign coach to manage our football team. Once, a claimed cure for covid was found, off we went, importation again. We produce oil, but still import it refined. Whenever the importation of foreign services becomes less feasible, we bundle ourselves down there, sometimes as foreign students, sometimes for medical attention, sometimes to spend our leave, sometimes for a show of status or "arrival mentality". Only the importation of foreign drivers we are yet to witness and may be the importation of foreign police to police our community. A few days ago, I was at a pharmacy, I was engrossed at the insatiable appetite for foreign stuffs. Arguably, this piece has not put importation in the black perspective, but to condemn it since it has become the major way or style of living.

About her tomorrow, it is imperative we begin to act and promote our brands. If we won't consume that which we produce, then, why are we producing? Why give loans to start-ups? Why asking for entrepreneurship? And the many WHY's. By offering ourselves and our products for cheap, we are shaping our nation. How it was and how it is were largely determined by us- the black and the white. To reshape it and give it an economical masterclass touch falls squarely on our shoulders. We are Nigerians! We are Africans! The onus is on us to shape our nation so well that the diasporans will say: Truly, there is no place like home.

Samuel Ogunnaike Wrote from Lagos