PRIDE NIGERIA: You're Toasted If You Don't Know Rita Dominic

Happy Independence! Were you able to celebrate Nigeria Independence Day on October 1st?  Well, not many felt there was anything to celebrate. Everywhere you looked, on TV, Radio, on the streets, you see people painting pictures of gloom. I feel it shouldn't be so. Criticizing doesn't solve any problem. Let me tell you, I felt different. I felt there are lots of reasons to hope and to celebrate our possibilities.

By the way, "Celebrating our possibilities" was the theme of "Reach out Nigeria" public lecture I attended in Ikeja Lagos on that day.  It was amazing, for the first time I saw Femi Falana, the renowned human right activist, paint a beautiful picture of Nigeria in a most fascinating oratory. I don't know if that was how he felt about the country or he was playing to the gallery.

In his lecture, Falana told an insightful story about his friend who travelled to a country in East Africa. I can't remember the country now, but he said at immigration check point, his friend presented a Nigerian passport and the immigration officer suspiciously asked him, "Do you know Rita?" "Why, who's Rita?" his friend replied. "So you don't know Rita Dominic?"  "Then you're not a good Nigerian. Please, step aside for other passengers." the immigration officer ordered. His friend inquisitive about the officer’s reaction asked, "Please tell me officer, who is this Rita Dominic?" And for not knowing who Rita Dominic is, his friend was delayed for several hours at the airport.

When his friend eventually got to town, he saw billboards with the picture of Rita Dominic all over the city. She is a Nollywood actress. He also noticed that Nigerian films were so popular and sold all over town.

Anywhere his friend went and introduced himself as a Nigerian, people showed respect and would ask him, "What is Kanu doing now, What about 2face, dbanj... how does Nigeria manage to raise so much talented Superstars, what is the secret." For once, his friend was so proud to be a Nigerian. But it also done on him how important Nigeria football, Nollywood, and music industry are to the building of the Nigerian brand.

No doubt, Nigeria has a great reservoir of human resources in every area of endeavor. This is one reason to hope that gradually the right personnel will take their place in the scheme of things

Have you ever thought of it? While other countries are battling with various form of natural deserters, Tsunami, Hurricane Catherina, Volcano eruptions, earthquake... Nigeria is so blessed with Crude oil, Gold, Bitumen, Coal, Braxton... and fine tropical weathers. It is good enough reason to celebrate. We can be richer, stronger, and together we can take our place as giant of Africa.

I discovered that the Nigeria problem is not a leadership problem; it's a people's problem. The biggest challenge is the perception of Nigerians about their country. It's how you and I see the possibility of forging greater force, using our diversity of strength to build a greater front in the world polity.

It's about building alliance with agents of change, Media, film, education and religion institutions, to understand their roles in nation building. The fact is, if you hail evil, good is mocked. Then, by such orientation more people would embrace evil – that’s why we are bedeviled by corruption today.

  • If producers and script writers understand how Nollywood films impact on the psyche of people and how it build perception to both citizens and non citizens about the Nigerian personality, then they would be careful in regulating the content of the films they produce.

  • If the religion institutions are impacting the right doctrines, then we wouldn't have extremists bombing fellow Nigerians. This is why “Cheer on Nigeria” support the "Reach out Nigeria" campaign. Using the gospel of Christ to transform and renew the mindset of the people.

  • Indeed, if journalists or teachers understand their role in helping build positive perceptions, then they would act and report news differently. Remember, it is only Nigerians can build Nigeria.

We deserve nothing better than the leaders we have today. Any citizen that has dignity and the right orientation wouldn't sell his vote (birth right) for a morsel of meat. This is what we should understand. This is what has put us in the position we are today.

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