200+ million cultural and ethnic diverse people coexisting in a dynamic geographical location spanning 923,768 km2 and bordered by 5 other African countries. This is Nigeria.
Nigeria is the largest black nation in the world, one out of every 4 black people is a Nigerian.
There are several stories of the failures of its government to protect lives and property, provide for the citizens, high level and everyday corruption. There are also stories of sold out arenas for the love of afrobeats, award winning wordsmiths across generations, and exceptional scholars.
In recent times, the serious wave of “japa” has hit the country again, I say again because this was reported to have happened in the 70s and 80s. Japa is a slang used to describe mass emigration of Nigerians from Nigeria. You have young people choosing to return to the university for a postgraduate degree for a chance to obtain residency in a new country and secure a future for themselves and their children. This wave might have intensified after the famous 20-10-20 experience that protesting youths of the nation had with its government, it is rumoured that more people gave up on the only place they have known as home and sought to find a better life elsewhere.
This current wave of emigration is somewhat different, enabled by the brain drain, where big tech companies are acquiring talents straight out of Nigeria with mouth watering perks. The people leaving are highly skilled and highly valued, and within months of settling in their new country, they start to do great things that are beneficial to their new found home while earning well enough money to also support those they left back home. If asked, an average Nigerian who emigrated abroad will tell you that they would rather live in Nigeria.
As crude as the country of Nigeria might seem, it is also vibrant, it has a soul and its people are proud of it. Nigerians and descendants of Nigeria alike revel in the fact that they are Nigerians. They wear it like a badge of honour.
As Nigeria celebrates its 62nd year post independence, Nigerians express their love for the Nigerian identity irrespective of how they feel about the state of the nation.
Who is a Nigerian? This question doesn’t have a linear answer as Nigerians are not monoliths, no one culture, food, actions, idiosyncrasies define Nigerians.
However, one thing that can be found in Nigerians is drive and ambition. Whether in their home country or a new country, Nigerians win against all odds, that is the definition of the Nigerian Spirit.