Unpatriotic Nigerians, America Isn’t Yours

Growing up, I saw the American flag before Nigeria’s. Of course, I had learnt the colour of my national flag during creative arts and drawing classes but it took a while before I saw the flag or maybe I just did not notice it. I however saw the American flag in almost every vehicle. I am yet to see a bandana made with the green, white, green rectangles that make the Nigerian flag but at some point in my life, I had owned a bandana with the American emblem. Not until higher institution, I did not hear anyone bless Nigeria frequently, except the usual ‘God help us in this country’ despair that people say often out of frustration but ‘God bless America’ is one sentence I grew up hearing from Nigerians. All of these things did not bother me until recently.

In a vehicle headed towards Falomo, I saw a small crowd with the Nigerian flag and Lagos at 50 logo dancing, singing, just going about their rally. It was a coordinated rally as they did not block the traffic neither were they touting as it is common with most rallies in Nigeria. I thought everybody would comment on their decorum and return their waves with similar gesture but no, these people in the vehicle with me were angry because the rallying crowd dared to hoist Nigerian flag. One of the guys, probably in his late 30s with grey hairs sprinkled over his head, was viciously angry. He could not comprehend why some people would carry Nigerian flag in this present economy except, they had been paid. “Were lawon eleyi, oloshi ara won ti gbowo [these ones are crazy. they must have been paid to do this]”, those were his exact words and I could not help but wonder how he came to that conclusion. Other comments came out with similar venom. Had there been a little traffic jam, these men would have insulted the harmless crowd to their faces and it would have been intense. No one cared about the reason for the rally, they were just angry some people would wake up on a Saturday morning, when dollar to a naira stood at 300+, when minimum wage could not buy a bag of rice, carrying Nigerian flag around.

A week earlier, one of the self-acclaimed literary icons (maybe not self-acclaimed sha) had rubbished the Nigerian flag on the social media. To him, the design lacks creativity and any intellectual input, it is simply uninspiring and bleh. This same man once wrote this; “Wait, I am an American, IJN! I love America! *grabs blue passport* *waves American flag” on his wall. I was irritated!! No, I was furious!!! Not so much about his unpatriotic comment but more because he had so many likes and comments all agreeing to his assessment of my national flag, our national identity. He even said Pa Akinwunmi does not deserve any celebration neither should he enjoy any preferential treatment for creating a lack lustre flag for Nigeria. I left a comment in the heat of my anger which got 1 like. Then I realized most (just not to be accused of generalization) Nigerians are angry with Nigeria to the point that they owe her no patriotism.

Here is it, I love Nigeria. I am passionate about Nigeria even in the midst of all that it happening. I feel I owe Nigeria that much. A lot of people would not believe but I always feel I owe this country a lot. She has given me so much (Yes, you read right) and the least I could do is be patriotic. I am one of the few who still recite the national pledge with every sense of responsibility because each time is a renewal of my promise to do right by my country. It is this love that will always keep me on the pro side of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. It is one of the few opportunities to serve Nigeria with all your strength and defend her unity. I simply just love Nigeria with all her many faults and I believe we all should love her.

Nigeria is messed up. I know, you know, we all know. Regardless, this is when to show the strength of your love by remaining patriotic. I still do not get how a lot of Nigerians express their love and admiration for America and other western countries yet find it very hard to love their country. The truth is, no matter how much you admire your neighbor’s car, it is still your neighbor’s. It is either you get your own car or by some chance, he gives you the car. In the case of America, admire from now till hell fire burns sinners to ashes, you cannot become an American Citizen simply by hating on your own country. Why not quit hating your country and channel the anger into making her your dream country.

Simply, Stop hating, Start working!

Written by Dharmmie