Monday, 23 May, 2022


Praise Nigeria

All too often many people of the world bash our country Nigeria and many of us assists them with driving the negative narrative by labeling it a corrupt country with criminals lurking at every turn, nook, and corner. It is somewhat sad that even some of us Nigerians often buy into this sentiment and refuse to change that stigma and help push for positive re-assurance. Whilst we are not saying we do not have a few bad eggs as every other country does, but it is critical to understand that only us Nigerians can fix the problem that Nigeria seemingly has with its image at home and abroad, no other country or people will help us fix this problem both from inside and or from outside.

None the less we know for a fact that amongst the near 200million of us the percentage of good hardworking Nigerians outnumbers the ones who are causing us this shame by a huge ratio in comparison. So the hope is real and ought to be reemphasised.

An interesting take from a very simple situation that transpired in Nigeria involving Prince Dele Obaitan, highlights once again that though corruption is clear and present in Nigeria on many levels, there are more good people than bad people when it comes to honesty and integrity, and maybe the overarching issue is that we are simply not singing the praises of these Nigerians louder than many seem to highlight the wrongs issues in comparison.

He recalls “I always meet so many good people amongst us when I travel home”. While highlighting a wonderful experience that led to him pushing for a need for us Nigerians to praise more often than chastise.

First a huge thank you to the staff at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Abuja International Airport from Prince Dele Obaitan for their high level of professionalism and attention to detail in this matter and many others.

It was last October when Prince Dele Obaitan of Ososo, in Akoko-Edo local government of Edo State, visited home from the United States for his father’s celebrations and was returning home to the United States with his family. They were running late to catch their flight so amidst all the chaos that comes with journey planning and traffic one can imagine anything can happen from leaving your passport at home to forgetting your ticket in the taxi. Thankfully neither of those was the case.

In the chaos and rush, the Prince has inadvertently left his carry-on luggage at the security checkpoint and boarded the flight to Ethiopia, completely unaware of what was about to be revealed. Now anyone who is a frequent flyer would realise that these things are as normal as a hair cut, as one can imagine airport chaos and the moving around of thousands of people in a confined space can sometimes lead to us leaving items in certain places when we have to rush-on naturally.

They had already taken off before he realised that his carry-on luggage was somewhat missing, so after looking around and speaking with his wife, it was clear that the luggage was either missing or stolen. As you can imagine the hundreds of thoughts that would race through one’s mind at the time considering the content of the luggage which included a Breitling watch which was a very special present from his wife, expensive cuff links, and bracelets along with other personal items of considerable value. What, where, and how did this happen would be a scenario replay on the mind, and of cause, a level of anxiety could cause anyone in that situation to be a tad negative in view of thoughts.

In situations like this, so many of us could simply just accept the worst and let it go considering the false narratives that have been embedded in the minds of many, the narrative that our country is filled with corrupt individuals. That narrative could easily prompt many to not even bother trying to trace the missing item let alone reserve hope that they can be recovered.

While thousands of feet up in the air, the Prince who is always armed with a keen sense of positivity and with a resounding view of expectations and results, placed a call to a dear friend Alhaji Idris Mohammad to please contact the airport staff to ask if by any chance his luggage was somehow found and kept safe, considering (like anyone else would have done) that there could be a chance that the items could be lost forever.

But in a subtle way, there was a reserved level of hope in the fact that surely there was a chance that it was not missing or stolen, indeed someone if not many will recognise that another person has lost or misplaced their belonging, thus prompting sympathy and honesty to kick in, and gladly so it was in this case.

Alhaji Idris Mohammad was able to go physically go to the airport the following day to find that the carry-on luggage with all the said items had indeed been found, and kept intact by the security staff safely at the airport waiting for the owner to come and collect it.

Some might simply say, well this is a straight forward scenario and could happen at any airport, and yes we agree, but many instances similar to this narrated by the Prince have happened world wild with a different outcome too. The truth of the matter is that the stories with the negative outcomes are often more amplified and highlighted than the ones with positive outcomes, and most of these negative news being amplified are normally based on perceptions, not facts being constructed to paint a false picture of our country Nigeria.

This incident not only serves as a measure of success but also as a subtle catalyst for the reminder to us that the stigmas placed on countries like Nigeria and many other Africa countries out there are mostly false when we look at the data and compare this kind of situations.

Praising our country and its people at home and abroad should not only be limited to massive acts of kindness or massive success stories of government projects, but Praising Nigeria should be done in accordance with genuine love, empathy, true patriotism, and care.

Our challenge remains how genuine and ready are we to amplify those tiny actions and random acts of kindness so that slowly but surely the false narrative would indeed give way to the new novel mindset in the minds of many among us who have reserved concerns but armed with unwavering hope.

This shared testimony received from Prince Dele Obaitan can be perceived as one of many humble reminders that highlights the many good, honest, and hardworking Nigerians that we do not celebrate and many positive encounters that we do not amplify within our very own space. The onus is on us to change that narrative simply by amplifying praise, not flaws, by singing praise, not moaning, and by recognizing that praises and all the attributes of the praise for the country regardless of the nature of the praise can indeed be seen as progress.

Praise Nigeria!

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