Nigeria is a country with a rich and diverse culture, history, and achievements. Despite the challenges and difficulties that the nation faces, there are many reasons to be proud of being a Nigerian. Here are some of them:
1. Nigeria’s Independence and Democracy
Nigeria gained its independence from Britain on October 1, 1960, after a long and peaceful struggle led by nationalists such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Herbert Macaulay, Ahmadu Bello, and Obafemi Awolowo. Since then, Nigeria has gone through several periods of military rule and civil war, but has also experienced a successful transition to a democracy in 19991. Nigeria’s democracy, as imperfect as it may be, still stands and gives voice to the people. Nigeria is also the largest democracy in Africa and the sixth-largest in the world by population.
2. Nigeria’s Cultural Diversity and Influence
Nigeria is a multinational state, as it is inhabited by over 250 ethnic groups and 500 languages. Each ethnic group has its own distinct culture, traditions, cuisine, music, art, and literature. Nigeria’s cultural diversity is a source of strength and beauty, as it fosters creativity, tolerance, and unity. Nigeria’s culture also has a global influence, as seen in the popularity of Nigerian literature, music, movies, fashion, and cuisine around the world. Nigeria is home to Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, acclaimed novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Afrobeats superstar Wizkid, Nollywood film industry, Ankara fabrics, and jollof rice, to name a few.
3. Nigeria’s Economic Potential and Innovation
Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and the 26th-largest in the world by nominal GDP2. Nigeria has a huge potential for economic growth and development, as it is endowed with abundant natural resources, a large and young population, a strategic location, and a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. Nigeria is also a hub of innovation and technology, as seen in the emergence of startups, hubs, and initiatives that are solving problems and creating opportunities in various sectors, such as agriculture, education, health, finance, and entertainment. Some examples of Nigerian innovations are Flutterwave, a payment platform that facilitates transactions across Africa; Andela, a company that trains and connects African software developers to global employers; and Zipline, a drone delivery service that delivers blood and medical supplies to remote areas.
4. Nigeria’s Sporting Achievements and Talents
Nigeria is a nation of sports lovers and achievers. Nigeria has won several medals and trophies in various sports, such as athletics, boxing, basketball, football, and Scrabble. Nigeria is the only African country to have won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and the only African country to have won the FIFA U-17 World Cup five times4. Nigeria is also the home of many talented and famous athletes, such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Chioma Ajunwa, Blessing Okagbare, Anthony Joshua, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Asisat Oshoala.
5. Nigeria’s Contributions to Peace and Security
Nigeria has played a significant role in promoting peace and security in Africa and beyond. Nigeria has been a leading member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), and has participated in several peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Sudan, Somalia, and Rwanda. Nigeria has also been a strong advocate of democracy, human rights, and multilateralism in the international arena. Nigeria is one of the 10 non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for the 2022-2023 term.
6. Nigeria’s Resilience and Optimism
Nigeria is a country that has faced and overcome many challenges and adversities, such as colonialism, civil war, dictatorship, corruption, poverty, insecurity, and pandemic. Despite these hardships, Nigerians have shown remarkable resilience and optimism, as they have always found ways to survive, adapt, and thrive. Nigerians are known for their cheerful and positive attitude, their sense of humor, and their faith in God. Nigerians also have a strong sense of patriotism and pride, as they celebrate their national identity and achievements. Nigerians are always ready to say, “Naija no dey carry last” (“Nigeria never comes last”), which reflects their confidence and ambition.
7. Nigeria’s Generosity and Hospitality
Nigeria is a country that is generous and hospitable to its own people and to others. Nigerians are known for their kindness, compassion, and generosity, as they often share what they have with their family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. Nigerians are also hospitable and welcoming to visitors, as they often invite them to their homes, offer them food and drinks, and show them around. Nigerians are also proud of their culture and heritage, and are eager to share it with others. Nigerians are always ready to say, “You are welcome” or “Sannu da zuwa” or “E kaabo” or “Nnoo” or “Barka da zuwa” or any other greeting in their languages, which reflects their warmth and friendliness.
These are some of the things that make Nigeria a great and unique country, and that Nigerians can be proud of. Nigeria is not perfect, and it still has a lot of room for improvement, but it is also a country that has a lot of potential, achievements, and strengths. Nigeria is a country that deserves respect, admiration, and celebration. Happy Independence Day, Nigeria!