7 April 2016
As far back as 1966, writer/columnist, Peter Enahoro was definitely on to something when he wrote the book, ‘How to be a Nigerian’, because decades later and after diverse societal influences, the ideologies and points he noted are still as relevant to us as a country as if the book were written just last month.
The intricacies and peculiarities involved in being a Nigerian are such that cannot be denied even though we are still in some ways divided along certain ethnic and cultural differences. Perhaps then the very thing that makes us all uniquely Nigerian is our determination to point out our individual ethnic backgrounds every chance we get.
There are many salient points Enahoro made in noting the key defining factors of a Nigerian. It is however not surprising that his points are as relevant today as they were decades ago. First, to be a Nigerian, one must learn the art of bribery, not as a corrupt practice but as an incentive for officials – most times Government officials – to carry out their duties.
As a Nigerian, you must be an optimist, because despite the fact that the economy is in shreds, fuel scarcity is on a looping, recurring cycle and constant electricity is a myth used to force children to be good, one has to “hope for the best”, because “where there is life there is hope” and very soon, “God will take control”.
And speaking of God, what other sign of a true Nigerian is there than your devotion to religion? Wearing your holiness, and others lack thereof on your sleeve, and looking up to a higher supreme power for a solution to a problem created with human hands. If all of this doesn’t sound familiar to you as an individual, then perhaps you aren’t Nigerian after all, you might want to start looking for a new nationality.