By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
That Nigeria will be great should be taken as a literary truth, not as a hyperbole or exaggeration, for that is what I am about to prove. Many writers, including your servant, have written essays about what is wrong about Nigeria and all other African nations. We have generally concluded that Nigeria/Africa cannot be saved. On the surface, it is hard to come to a different conclusion. This time, I have looked beyond the surface and what I have found is a rosy future for Nigeria and all of Africa.
We have to accept the truth that the future belongs to the kids, and if we do, we will see that our future is rosier than the surface portends. But we must also look beyond the current borders. We must include Diaspora Nigerians/Africans in the calculus.
First let’s consider the girls from Anambra State that competed and won at the world tech competition. The story starts with: “Five girls from Regina Pacies Secondary School Onitsha, Anambra state, Nigeria, who represented Nigeria and Africa at the World Technovation Challenge in the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, US, have won the Gold Medal in the contest.” These are girls who have not set their feet outside Nigeria. They learned technology from what is not up-to-scale laboratory. But they and their teachers used their imagination to design and build a high tech and world class contraption. If one is not impressed by their confidence in invention, one should be impressed by the confidence they displayed in US among unfamiliar people and environment. I mean at Silicon Valley, the headquarters of technology. They were not intimidated. (https://www.africanews.com/2018/08/11/nigeria-school-girls-win-gold-at-world-technovation-challenge-in-us/)
Recently, a London newspaper published an article on a Nigerian family and described the family as the smartest Britons. It said that”British’s Smartest Family is Black And Nigerian. British’s Smartest Family is Black And Nigerian – Peter and Paula Imafidon, 9-year-old twins living at Waltham Forest in northeast London , are a part of the highest-achieving clan in the history of Great Britain education.” Read about this family’s story at: (://www.bet.com/news/global/2013/03/29/nigerian-family-is-smartest-family-in-britain.html)
The above stories are collaborated by this FOX NEWS story:” High school senior Harold Ekeh didn’t just get into one Ivy League university. He was accepted into all eight. Now comes the really hard part: Deciding where to go. He actually got into all 13 schools he applied to, including MIT and Johns Hopkins. “I am leaning toward Yale,” he said. “I competed at Yale for Model UN, and I like the passion people at Yale had.”
Some of the Yale students he met became his friends and mentors, offering advice on the college application process. Now Ekeh is trying to do the same thing. Ekeh, 17, founded a college mentoring program at his school, Elmont Memorial High School on Long Island in the New York City suburbs. His goal is to get more students into top universities…
“We had a fairly comfortable life in Nigeria, but they (my parents) told me we moved to America for the opportunities like the educational opportunities,” he recalled. The salutatorian is quick to credit his parents, school and community for his success…
A passion for science: He wants to major in neurobiology or chemistry in college and later become doctor and, ultimately, a neurosurgeon. He was named a 2015 Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist earlier this year for his research on how the acid DHA can slow Alzheimer’s.” (https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/harold-ekeh-17-long-island-gets-accepted-all-eight-ivy-n337506)
These accomplishment are duplicated all over the world. But enough on education.
In sports, the achievements of Nigerian youth is unsurpassed. The Under 17 team had won the world cup once and the under 20 have been competitive almost every year. In track and field, we have: Abdul Buhari, Amaechi Morton, Anthony Alozie, Blessing Okagbare, Bukola Abogunloko, et al. There are many Nigerians in USA’s NBA and many more in college basketball and football Programs, even though basketball and football are not native to Nigeria.
When I read about the Kassim’s of Canada in Business Journal or turn my evening TV news at NBC (Boston’s channel 7) and Amaka Ubaka is anchoring, I will usually giggle like a teen age girl. Same when I watch other entertainment programs, EMMY, OSCAR and other award programs and see Nigerian names as nominees and even winners.
Nigerians or generations of people of Nigerian decent are strategically entrenched in all spheres of human development around the world. We can say that the inherent ability is there. What is not there is a good environment.
The implication is that the current leaders in the nation will have to be pushed out for not providing the necessary good environment before Nigeria can be great. How to get rid of our today’s leaders is a decision for our youths to make. After Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, the Jews scattered around the world and won accolades. In 1948, they came back and rebuilt the modern Israel. This could be what will happen to Nigeria.
By the way, you can substitute Nigeria with Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, or any African nation and it will read just as nice and will still be true.
My generation is standing on their way.
Aduba sent in this piece from Boston, Massachusetts.