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06 - 13 September 2006 
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Don’t Talk about My Nigeria!

I am completely disgusted by the way Africans in diaspora are talking about their countries. It is more saddening that most of them are talking from a point of ignorance. Some of them have lived three quarters of their lives in the United States of America (U.S.A), United Kingdom (U.K), France and China among other countries and only know the road from the airport to the hotel in their countries. What do they have to tell us? They have no input in the daily development process. What are they saying?


One of them says that his umbilical cord was buried in Nigeria, and is wondering whether Nigerians would receive him back if he came, or whether he would fit in the society. How will you be received my brother when all along, you have had no ties with your country? You don’t remember your relatives. You have not built a house. You don’t participate in clan matters. How will you fit? Where will you land?


Nigerians abroad, come back home! Feel our pain. Feel our hunger, live in a house where there is no electricity, drink water from unsafe streams, then talk to us and we will listen.


It is true that children are going hungry but what are you doing about it? Your $1 or practical idea on the ground can go a long way in not only feeding a hungry child but also paying his school fees.


“How will I benefit?” You ask.


If you change the lives of youths, you will not live in fear of being robbed. They will be your security and that of your children who are studying and partying abroad, on coming home.


When you come back home, you lodge in 5 star hotels, because you are afraid of being robbed or mugged. Why shouldn’t you anyway? Do you expect them to sit back and fold their arms when they are hungry and without shelter as you remain blind to their plight? You don’t run away from a problem. You don’t deceive yourself that it is not there. You face it and overcome it. It makes me sad when you sit abroad and talk about my Nigeria from hearsay. Why don’t you come home, get the full truth and write it?


One night, as I was going back to the office in Ikeja Lagos along Apapa/Oshodi expressway that is close to Aswani market, I had a flat tyre. As I came out of the car to change it, four dirty men gathered around me.


“What do you have in your bag?” They asked in a metallic tone, “god catch you today!” They continued.


“I just had a flat tyre. Besides, you don’t need to sound harsh and coerce me to give you money. If you approach a bird with a lot of noise, the bird will fly away. You may catch one yes, but the rest will always flee immediately you appear. Can’t you think of other gentle ways of not scaring your potential investors? I can as well voluntarily give you money if I have it. Help me change my tyre since I do not know how to and we will talk about the money later,” I told them.


I opened the car boot. They brought out the spare tyre and helped me change the flat tyre. I checked in my bag and what I had was n200. I ended up giving the four of them n100. They were happy and bade me good night. Whenever I ply that road, we wave at each other.


I have an uncle who recently came back from U.K. He has lived all his life in the U.K. As he went out one evening for a drink, he had a slight problem with his car. He stopped the car to check it out. Immediately, some men came to him. Here was a Nigerian who did not even know his language. He could not connect with them in any way. Because he looked cool, they gave him a very hot slap, took away his wrist watch, money and slippers. The next day, he left for the U.K promising never to visit Nigeria again. You reap what you sow. Had he sown any good in his country? No! What else did he expect?


Once, I had no money on my mobile phone. I wanted to buy a v-mobile recharge card for n1000. On my way, I met my uncle’s son and asked him:


“Why are you not at school today?” 


“Aunty, I was sent home to bring school fees.”


“How much?”




I gave him the n1200 meant for my recharge. I saw him smile innocently as he ran to pay his school fees.


My fellow Nigerians, stop speaking from a point of ignorance. Purpose to change the status quo. You don’t need military might. Just build ties with your people. Stop writing and criticizing the government. Even though it is not living up to its responsibilities, it is better than you are because it is doing something.


It is time we strengthened family ties. It is time we stopped the blame game. It is time we became proactive and did something that will alter the lifestyles of our people. This will be through working with the populace with a view of inculcating entrepreneurial skills in them. It will be through helping them start micro enterprises that will earn them an honest living. It will be through helping them sniff opportunities where we are and become launching pads to prosperity for them. Let us not look on the government, but what we can do privately to better the lives of our citizens.


Stop parading yourselves as though you are talking for all Nigerians. If you are concerned about our problems, if you feel for us, come back home and work. Write, if you want to but not from the Washington Post or New York Times. Write from home. Nigeria is mine. Don’t talk about it. Talk about your U.S.A or U.K or whatever!

By Chizoma Sandra Nwachukwu
Children of the Earth

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