Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian independence. There’s been a whole lot of noise going on everywhere about the celebrations but I’m sure a lot of people really only care about the amount of days declared work free. Anyways, not to be left out, I have decided to do a special to commemorate the ‘special’ anniversary.
Now, all through the week I’ve heard all sorts of countdowns – on the radio, TV, newspapers e.t.c…Top 50 Nigerian songs, Top 50 Nigerian personalities. Top this, top that. I wanted to join the bandwagon but being me, I decided to do something different (without necessarily rebelling and going negative)…
So, I’ve compiled my own list (not a count down) just a list of 50 things that make Nigeria: NIGERIA. Enjoy.
1. Okadas: Some love them, some hate them. These guys have been around since (I cant even remember). Yes, they make driving a nightmare but I’m sure they’ve also saved lives amongst other good things. Necessary evils?
2. Nigerian Grammar: I remember a few months back when #Nigeriangrammar trended on the micro-blogging site, Twitter. Only justifies its inclusion here. The way we come up with our own words, phrases e.t.c is amazing.
3. Traffic culture: Loud, I mean, LOUD car horns blaring, people yelling, hawkers whizzing left and right, all because one person has refused to back-up for the other. Just one of the many scenarios that could lead to traffic here.
4. Airports: Discovery channel once had a show on this – crazy.
5. Food: I could have picked specifics but, from our pounded yam to white soup. Banga to ewa agoyin, Tuwo to dodo ikire e.t.c et.c…. the variety of delicious delicacies is amazing even though most of us still believe we don’t have that much.
6. Languages: hmm..ever heard a Calabar man and a Yoruba man argue in their local languages side by side? So different but both from the same country.
7. Dressing: Dansiki, Iro & Buba, Gele of different shapes and designs and when we go formal or non-native attires, we kill it. True. Sometimes we are sooo good at it, we over do it and kill the trend….did I hear someone say jeggings?
8. Militants? *Ahem….
9. Crude oil: The black curse? The black gold? You decide.
10. Women: I didn’t want to include this but a few foreigners have told me our women are unique in their own way. Don’t ask me cause I don’t know, maybe you can tell.
11. Music: This is an area constantly on the rise. The players are really raising the bar and I’m hopeful that soon enough, they will bring us more positive recognition globally.
12. Religion: Well, another touchy one. Predominantly Christian and Muslims but the unique thing is how we go about practicing these religions. #Nuffsaid
13. Weddings: If you have read my post on weddings (I’ll bring it back next-week) then you’ll know just how special this point is.
14. Parties: We celebrate at every opportunity we get. EVERY. Need I say more?
15. Culture: This point is definitely too broad. But whatever tribe you’re from or whatever part of Nigeria you represent, you contribute to this rich, rich culture of ours that always stands us out in any crowd.
16. Drinks: Give it to the homegrown beverages that have stood the test of time. We know how to get our drink on. Even the foreign beverages are adapted to meet the peculiarities of our people Ref: Udeme
17. Our Names: We don’t joke with these. Even though things are now changing and naming kids is now more of a trend thing, overall, one would say Nigerians go all out to give names that capture a lot.
18. Super Eagles: Err…lemme leave this one for you guys.
19. Our Police: hmmm…. I will also require help here as there’s just too much to say. Tuaale!
20. Politics: One word I think should be reviewed when it comes to Nigeria. We certainly don’t do it like any other country I’ve seen.
21. Fela: The legend. The icon? We still get a lot of relevance internationally because of him.
22. Nollywood: I could write a whole page on this but I will resist the temptation. Hate it, love it. It’s been here for a while and it sure isn’t going anywhere. It has also gotten us a lot of recognition internationally. We only pray and hope the improvement we all desire happens faster.
23. 419: Yes, this is one of the negatives that made it to the list. Some might argue but until something really drastic happens, this will still come up whenever people refer to Nigeria(ns).
24. Nigerian Military: Some might not know but our great nation’s military is highly rated internationally. I hear top ten worldwide. Can anyone verify this?
25. Agriculture: I’m sure a lot of us from this generation do not even know how blessed we are in terms of agricultural resources. This was our first love and we so need to go back to her.
26. Oshodi: Not what it used to be but the picture of what it was still fascinates most.
27. ‘Beautiful’ beaches: Notice the emphasis on beautiful. Included because of our beach-culture and not the beaches themselves.
28. Danfos: They will forever marvel me. They are like a culture in their own little way. The peculiarities of the drivers, the conductors, the art on the buses, the choice of music (if any) being played and the style of driving. Amazing.
29. Pidgin English: Some might say this isn’t so unique as some other African countries have it but pay a visit to the waffi kingdom and get back to me.
30. Aba: Though I’m yet to visit, stories and stories I’ve heard about this uber-commercial city justified its inclusion. Little wonder it also led to another global trending topic on twitter: #AbaVersion
31. Our Weather: Yes, we share similar weather with some neighbouring countries but I still think our weather is unique. Rain, sun, sun, rain, harmattan; what’s there not to like.
32. Football: The one thing that holds down this nation. WE DON’T PLAY WITH OUR FOOTBALL.
33. Lastma: before the non-Lagosians think I’m being biased, insert all the other crafted law-enforcement agencies and you’ll get the picture.
34. NTA: Yes, memories, memories, memories; unique in its own way. Not what it used to be though?
35. Our Map: I’m sure even the lay-est man on the street can probably come up with a drawing close to the original Nigerian map. It’s that unique.
36. Purewater: Hmm…you’d be surprised if you knew how many groups have won some sort of recognition internationally for documenting the uniqueness behind this simple simple product.
37. Niger-Delta: Some might say this is another negative one but I disagree. I believe one day, someday sooner than we all imagine, this region will receive positive attention locally and internationally.
38. Our Universities: Not the best in the world (don’t even come anywhere near) but pay a visit to any of them and you’ll probably know why.
39. Street hawkers: It might not be totally unique; there are street hawkers everywhere right? Well, its not the hawking, it’s the hawkers, the things they hawk and how they go about it. Truly amazing.
40. Garri: Garium solphide, gaf, sporks, g-flakes e.t.c. Call it what you want, one of our best exports.
41. NEPA/PHCN: I will also leave this one for you guys.
42. NTA News: In fact I should have just said News on TV generally; don’t know how to explain it, it’s just different.
43. Our Banks: If you’ve banked outside the country you’ll know what I mean.
44. Fuel scarcity: Not so common anymore but whenever they come around, we all know what it means.
45. Our Newspapers: hmmm… Need your help here too.
46. Population: They say we are 150 million strong. I disagree. In my opinion, we are over 200 million.
47. Our Leaders: Touchy for me. Will also leave this for you guys.
48. Phone culture: Walk behind a black man talking on his cell-phone anywhere outside Nigeria and most of the time you’d know if he is a Nigerian.
49. Markets: I think our markets have their own uniqueness. Do you?
50. Our Elections: From 1993 to 1999, our elections always seem to leave everyone baffled (well, most people). Only God knows what 2011 will bring.
So, there you have it. I must confess coming up with this list wasn’t easy. I’m sure some will disagree with some of the points, well, hit me up with your comments and let me know the near misses (did I hear you say Jim Iyke?)………