Happy Independence! Here are 419 Reasons to Like Nigeria!!!

For too long, Nigeria and Nigerians have been readily associated with the online scams, financial crime and impersonation – termed ‘419’, after the penal code for the same offence under the military regimes in the early nineties. However, beyond the unfortunate stereotyping, there are several positive characteristics and cogent intriguing traits of the country, Nigeria and its people, some of which are highlighted below as part of the ‘419 Reasons to Like Nigeria’ campaign which enlisted 100 volunteers and bloggers to share reasons why they like Nigeria. These reasons echo the voices of Nigerians, with resonating similar themes. The campaign is being facilitated in partnership with ‘The 419Positive Project’.

NIGERIA – THE LAND OF POTENTIAL AND OPPORTUNITY

  • I like Nigeria because it is a land of endless opportunities and possibilities. Nigeria is one country I believe the world is yet to experience it true potentials. I believe Nigerians are sharp, brilliant and accommodating people. Giving the right enabling environment the world will marvel at what Nigeria will become.
  • Nigeria is the most populous black nation – and a buying one at that. From a capitalist point of view, this makes for a great investment opportunities.
  • The fact that Nigeria currently lags behind so much – in infrastructure and developmental terms – hints at the size of the potential for innovation and transformation, and at the huge number of vacancies that exist for ‘transformers’. What I think this means is that the world will be hearing a lot about Nigeria and high-achieving Nigerians (in the public and private sectors) in the near future.

NIGERIA – THE COUNTRY

  • The Nigerian Green and White flag is a notable national symbol. The green color symbolises agriculture, seeing that the country is endowed with masses of arable land, while the white colour signifies unity and peace. Other national symbols include the Nigerian Coat of Arms, which depicts an eagle on a black shield, tri-sected by two wavy silver bands, and supported on either side by two chargers. The national motto underlies the coat-of -arms: “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.” Her national symbols convey great meaning to its people.
  • The Nigerian accent is currently ranked by CNN Global Experiences as the 5th sexiest accent in the world.
  • Nigeria is home to Nollywood, one of the world’s biggest film industries.

NIGERIA – THE CULTURE, THE FOOD, THE WAY OF LIFE

  • Something great to like about Nigeria is our cultural diversity. A strong affinity exists, despite our differences. Learning about other ethnic cultures in my country really helped me personally relate to other cultures when abroad.
  • I think the food is tastier in Nigeria than that I have found in other countries.
  • Nigerians live a communal life style. The extended family is part of the immediate family in a Nigerian home.

NIGERIA – THE MUSIC, THE MOVIES, THE DANCE, THE ART

  • Nigeria has produced many world class musicians. A notable mention in this regard is Fela Anikulapo Kuti. A Broadway show titled ‘FELA!’ was produced in 2009 depicting the life and times of the Afrobeat musician.
  • Nigeria’s movie industry, Nollywood, is reputedly the 3rd largest film industry after Hollywood and Bollywood, and has grown gradually into a $250 million industry in more than 10 years.
  • Nigerian indigenous musical instruments are unique, soulful and rhythmic. They comprise the popular Talking Drum, producing proverbial and storytelling sounds, the Shaker (shekere), the Udu drum, the Lute, the leg and arm Rattle, the Omele, the Ogene (Gong originating in Eastern Nigeria), the Ekwe drum and the Kakaki (A 4m metal trumpet popular in Northern Nigeria). Many of these instruments have been incorporated in South American music over the years

NIGERIA – GEOGRAPHY and NATURAL RESOURCES

  • Nigeria is a nation blessed with rich human and natural resources. As the 8th largest exporter of Oil in the world, with the 10th largest proven reserves, our blessings cannot be overemphasised. No earthquakes, no tsunamis, no droughts, an evergreen land. The rest of the world should live here.
  • The beauty of the Nigerian state cannot but leave one in awe. Blessed with captivating physical features and abundant wild life. From the rolling hills to the vast plains in the North Central Nigeria and the forests in the South, the beautiful scenery of the country is more than breathtaking and with the wildlife spread all over the country; Nigeria is surely a beauty to behold and a tourist’s delight all year round.
  • Nigeria is blessed with tremendous agricultural resources. Cotton in the North, Cocoa & Oil palm in the south amongst many others. The flag is green for a reason

NIGERIA – WEST AFRICA, AFRICA and THE WORLD

  • Nigeria has the largest population of any country in Africa. Approximately 1 out of every 2 West Africans, 1 out of every 4 Africans, and 1 out of every 5 persons of African origin is a Nigerian.
  • Nigeria is the largest contributor of troops to the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and by extension, is the largest force for peace and stability in West Africa.
  • A Nigerian will stand out anywhere you find him/her, from Libya to London, Tokyo to Timbuktu. Well known examples include Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston Rockets, USA), Olumide Oyedeji (Seattle Sonics), Tunde Baiyewu (Lighthouse Family), Sunday Adelaja (Ukraine), Chris Aire (US), etc.

NIGERIA – INDUSTRIOUS, INNOVATIVE and ENTERPRISING, with ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Nigerians are intelligent, brilliant minds who have proven their mettle in various fields – Wole Soyinka was the first African to win the much coveted Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. Chinua Achebe’s classic novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ was ranked as number 14 in a list of top 100 books in the world by Newsdesk in 2009. Others include Cyprian Ekwensi, Mabel Segun, Chimamanda Adichie and Helon Habila whose literary works have won both international and local awards at various times.
  • We have budding fashion designers. Yes! It’s a line every Bunmi, Amaka and Amina has decided to tow but to disregard the effort and originality of our Fashion Designers would be disrespectful. Tiffany Amber, Lanre Da Silva and Deola Sagoe are building world renowned brands, not to mention the legacy developed by the likes of Abba Folawiyo, Maureen Onigbanjo, Remi Lagos and Zizzi Cardow.
  • Nigerians have excelled in the fields of economics and finance, managing well established global bodies. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the current Minister of Finance, was until recently a Managing Director at The World Bank. Obiageli Ezekwisili is currently the Vice President for Africa at The World Bank. Mr Adebayo Ogunlesi is a first class graduate of Oxford, and Managing Partner of Global infrastructure Partner (GIP), a concessionaire of London’s Gatwick International Airport.
  • We take technology and expand it in ways those who created it could not have imagined. For instance, take the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) which allows you to send broadcast messages to all addresses on your contacts list; Nigerians recently found a unique way of advertising the different businesses they do. Someone started a message highlighting the fact that many people in Nigeria are entrepreneurs or provide a service and included his BB PIN in the message and sent to all his contacts with the charge that they state the service they provide, include their PIN and send on to all their contacts too. This seemingly small campaign has gone “viral” with whole lists of entrepreneurs and their BB PINs being passed from phone to phone. This is a clear sign of the ingenuity of Nigerians!

NIGERIA – GREAT PEOPLE

  • Nigeria is the 7th most populous nation in the world (over 160 million) and most populous in Africa – a gold mine of energetic, determined and talented people in each and every field. From Lagos to Aba to Kano, the Nigerian business spirit and desire to succeed is visible. It requires just proper harnessing of these human resources before Nigeria becomes the super power she was meant to be.
  • Nigerians are passionate, friendly, welcoming, hospitable, and well cultured people. The average Nigerian reflects a combination of vivacity, intelligence, energy, talent, and resolution.
  • We are a nation of people that can hardly hide their excitement at seeing family and friends. Some misconstrue this thinking we are loud but let’s just say we are EXPRESSIVE! If you see us on the streets of New York making a big ruckus and hugging? No sweat. We are just happy to see each other.

NIGERIA – THE RESILIENT SPIRIT

  • The Giant of Africa: Not ignoring the current challenges, eventually, when we get our acts right, we will reign supreme on the global scene. We have the potential and as is much touted by the Warri people – “Naija no dey carry last”
  • The ‘survivor-mentality’ hard-wired into the DNA of Nigeria’s people. The fact that against all the odds (and there are many of them), Nigerians continue to live, hustle and seek to triumph. It is not by mistake that Nigeria is regarded as one of the “happiest” countries in the world, despite its challenging economic and social conditions.
  • We are hardy. The average Nigerian does business under circumstances that are unimaginable to people from other parts. In a place where there is no power, no credit, and scant regulation, people do business and do very well for themselves too. If you can make it in Nigeria, you can make it anywhere in the world.

NIGERIA – TOURISM and SPORTS

  • Nigeria is an amazing tourist haven and is home to the Obudu Cattle Ranch, located in Calabar. It is only 45 miles from the Cameroon border. The Obudu Plateau is spread over 40 sq. miles and is 5,200 feet above sea level. The Obudu resort features a Gorilla Camp where tourists may observe gorillas in their natural habitat.
  • Nigeria has two UNESCO world heritage sites, the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove and the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa. UNESCO world heritage sites are places designated as being of cultural significance.
  • Nigeria has produced great footballers like Teslim “Thunder” Balogun (the first Nigerian to play for an English Club – QPR), Segun Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Stephen Keshi, Rashidi Yekini (who scored Nigeria’s first ever goal at the World Cup), Nwankwo Kanu, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, John Mikel Obi, Osaze Odemwingie, to mention but a few.
  • Nigeria has excelled in athletics over the years, still holding continental records in the 100m men and women, 4x100m men and women, 400m men and women, among others. Over 100 skilled Nigerian professional footballers played in First Division leagues in different countries all over Europe in the 2010/2011 season, 9 in England; 8 each in Finland, Norway; 10 in Ukraine and 7 in Sweden.

NIGERIA – UNITY in DIVERSITY

  • Nigerians, despite our diversity are a united people who always strive to help one another. With 774 local government areas, multi religious and ethnic affiliations, 36 States, and population of over 160 million, we still stand undeterred to move forward together.
  • Even outside the country, Nigerians remain united. This gives a quiet assurance somewhat that you can get on a plane and go to any country of the world and find a Nigerian there who will not only make you feel welcome but will go out of their way to be of really good help. I have experienced this several times on my travels and each time it amazes me how all I need to be is a Nigerian, not Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa and once I run into another Nigerian, I will immediately feel at home.
  • Our greatest strength lies in our diversity.

The ‘419 Reasons to Like Nigeria’ Campaign is in partnership with ‘The 419Positive Project’. The full list of ‘419 Reasons to Like Nigeria’ is available here (http://www.419positive.org/).

 

Join the Midnight Crew 10th Year Anniversary Mass Choir – Deadline, May 21st

Deadline: Saturday 21 May 2011

The Midnight Crew

Award-winning Nigerian gospel music group, Midnight Crew Music Limited clocks 10 this year and will be celebrating this landmark feat by congregating a Mass Choir. If you love God, music and the Crew, they would greatly appreciate your company if you want to volunteer your time and talent with them on this project.

Additional Benefits for Selected Mass Choir Members:

*Choir members get to share the stage with Midnight Crew and be featured for their first and yet prestigious history making Live recording concert tagged “Praise of a Decade” in November 2011
*Guest appearances of top music ministers in Nigeria during rehearsal sessions who will share their experiences and give words of encouragement
*Insight into music ministry as well as free vocal/voice training exercises during rehearsal sessions
*Unbelievable discounts for interested members who want to learn to sing and/or play musical instruments at GPK Entertainment (Music Studio)
*Opportunity to be part of ZERAH, a more permanent mass choir of international repute and be featured in an annual Music Concert beginning from 2012.

Application Procedure for Mass Choir
*Download the Application form from this link
*Fill it appropriately and make sure your REFEREE is reachable by phone for confirmation
*When you have completed the form, please submit it at GPK Studios

GPK Studios is located at 51/52, Ijaiye Road Ogba, [the plot just before UBA], First floor of the 3rd building in the premises.

You can call the receptionist for direction on 1-8418638, 08138047238
NB: Application Closes on Saturday 21 May 2011

The Continuous Search for a Life in Full

Hi friends,

Today I’ll be going down memory lane.

One night, in the summer of 1998, I got home to find some piece of good news. It had been a busy day – going to school and running errands at the shop run by my mum and granny. The good news was in a bulky brown envelop. No, it was not money! It was my first installment of a bible correspondence course.

I had subscribed to the Voice of Truth Bible School, Kano, after seeing some of their study materials with Gbolahan Akinlosotu, one of my classmates in Primary Six. That night, I was elated and overwhelmed at the number of books and the personalized letter sent to me. As I lay excitedly on my mat and unseal the package, I offered sincere prayers to God and felt like the most special being in the world. The books, though not the trendiest, were full of graphic illustrations and each had questions at the end. I loved writing exams and tests. I loved answering questions, so I soon consumed everything and returned my answers via the Onipanu Post Office.

In another three months, I received the next installment and the cycle continued till I got to the advanced level with tougher questions to answer. It was always a thrilling and fulfilling exercise whenever I received those study materials.

When I stopped receiving the course materials sometimes around 2000/2001, I was not happy. I was rather disturbed, but I soon reasoned that the school might have run out of funds or perhaps, they had been forced to close down, considering the spate of inter-tribal and religious conflicts in the Northern part of the country. Many churches and mosques had been burnt down during such bloody clashes. Thankfully, I had grown in my faith and could now move on conveniently to other materials and associations to ensure my sustained spiritual growth.

Today, when I look back at those days, I realize how far I have come. I seem to be too caught up in the New Testament, especially the epistles and all the ‘Rhema sturvs’… lol! What happened to the parables and the stories of the Old Testament? I recall with nostalgia, the tenacious childhood passion I had for bible study and how insatiable I was; how I could go to any length to find out things about the scriptures and how diligently I participated in bible study as a Sunday school kid back then. I believe it was even partly responsible for the giant leaps I had in my academics. I was just curious. In church, I won the annual Bible Genius competition back-to-back and was on my way for the third (in JSS2) when I was disqualified because I had earlier in the year been drafted into the main church choir. The following year, I represented my church in a quiz competition in another church. Two contestants were meant to represent each church, but I had to prepare and go alone; and I won!

Why go through the entire story? Well, I still love God and seek to please him in all things, but I think I’ve lost some of those fundamentals. By that, I mean, how many Bible facts and statistics do I remember? Truth is: then, we learnt those details and memorized those verses out of routine and to earn some respect as the “Bible Genius”, but looking back I believe they became handy in helping to form character. Today, I still remember a handful of those memory verses I learnt a dozen years ago. Remember the portion that says, *“Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee”? or *“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”?

Also, I live and breathe analogies, so how could I have done away with those stories? Most of my writings – poetry and prose – are filled with analogies, metaphors, allegories, name it! As a child I learnt to observe a lot, think deeply, and connect happenings in my environment. Even Jesus Christ used a lot of those elements in connecting with people in his time. Stories are powerful and good stories are much more powerful! My writing sure dates back to those memorable days.

Today, I have made a decision to begin and finish reading the whole Bible by the end of the year – four or five chapters every day will get me there. This does not sideline my regular bible study programmes/plans as well as listening to my favourite podcasts courtesy Creflo & Taffy Dollar, Joel & Victoria Osteen, and Joyce Meyer. I am excited that I will be reminded about things I have long forgotten; I also stand a big opportunity to explore a wealth of new revelations as I journey through the word of God. I want to experience God through His Word, both as a curious child who reads for the specific details, and as an adult who consciously studies the scriptures, patiently receives revelations, and receives grace to apply the biblical truths in everyday life. It’s sure going to be quite tasking, but I’m ready to invest in this worthwhile adventure.

How about you? What steps are you taking to become more spiritually attuned today? I’d like to hear from you! –GN!

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*Psalm 119 vs. 11
*Psalm 119 vs. 105

Photo credit: www.livingfaithri.org; www.fbcbuna.com; www.way-of-grace.org

This Week in Review: I’ve Got one Interview on BN!

This week on BN, I had an interview with Gbenga Salu, an award-winning, self-tutored Music Video Director & Visual Effects Artist. He is undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s young and most promising music video directors. In 2008, the year he started directing, he won the award for Best Special Effects and Editing at the Soundcity Music video Awards. A year later, he was awarded Most Promising Director at the Nigerian Music Video Awards. Born and bred in Lagos, Gbenga who has been twice nominated for Best Screen Producer at the Future Awards has a long list of winners to his credit, including Aye ole (Infinity), Ten Ten (MoHits), Viva Africa (Fela), Turn me around (Kenny Saint Brown ft. Dagrin), Believe in me & Two legit (T.W.O), Omoba (D’Prince), Change your Parade (Lynxxx), God Hand & Na so (Eva), Ore (Ibiyemi), Run with you (Lara George), and Bianule (Samsong).

In less than a decade, he has gradually but surely come to establish himself as a major player in the Nigerian music video circles. He talks about his initial stint in Mechanical Engineering, his persistent love for the creative arts and eventual switch, his knack for discovering things on his own, and other enlightening details. Read up the full interview by clicking on this link: The Kid with the Master Stroke – Meet Gbenga Salu, award-winning Music Video Director & Visual Effects Artist.

Thanks for visiting my blog and I look forward to welcoming and sharing with you more fantastic posts on this space. I’d like to hear from you, so please show some love by dropping your comments for me. Do take care, and be good! –GN!