NIGERIA, WE HAIL THEE
The words of the former Nigerian national anthem form the foundation of this. The anthem was composed when Nigeria had its independence in 1960, with a new one composed in 1970.
The new national anthem, Arise Oh Compatriots, still rules the airwaves during national ceremonies in Nigeria. The old has paved the way for the new, but in this piece, we will meditate on the old. We will use the phrase, Nigeria We Hail Thee, the first line of the old national anthem, to hail Nigeria, a country of great people.
Many people in the world read about Nigeria on pages of various media and form opinions that are not quite accurate. Few of them are aware of the treasures that abound in the nation. Treasures of the land embedded in its human resources leaving their footprints around the world.
Where do we start this story of a great people, the indigenes of a nation aptly called The Giant of Africa?
Should we start from the music industry, where a Nigerian lady, Osinachi Kalu, popularly called Sinach, became the first Nigerian to win the Dove Awards for song of the year, for her song, Way Maker?
Should we go to the world of secular music where Damini Ogulu, otherwise known as Burna Boy, at the 63rd Annual Grammys, won the Best Global Music Album category for his album, Twice as Tall? Where Ayo Balogun, also called Wizkid, also won a Grammy Award for Best Music Video for Brown Skin Girl?
Should we read the citation of top-class actor, David Oyelowo who got the leading role of Martin Luther King in the movie, Selma?
David Oyelowo as Dr Martin Luther King Jnr in SELMA
Or should we dwell on the feat of a Nigerian, Taofick Okoya, who has created a line of African dolls that are almost outselling the Barbie collection?
Should we mention Philip Emeagwali, super-talented computer scientist, who’s computing breakthroughs somewhat led to the innovative development of the internet?
What of the super-talented Imafidon family, who have been honored as the smartest black family in Britain, with the twins, Paula and Peter getting the world record as the youngest to pass the University of Cambridge Advanced Mathematics paper and the youngest children in British history to attend high school at age nine; their sister Anne-Marie who obtained her Masters from Oxford University at age seventeen; Christiana Imafidon, who at age eleven, became the youngest to attend a British University, The United Kingdom University; Samantha Imafidon, the youngest girl to attend secondary school at age nine?
Should we perch on the virtue of integrity where William Okagbue, a security guard returned $10000 to its owner, Corporal Bashir Ahmed, an Airforce Corporal returned 37,000 euros, Josephine Agwu, an airport cleaner returned $6,000, Mohammed Ibrahim Ogbonago, another security guard also returned $10, 000, which they found in the course of performing their duties? Whose acts have shown that corruption is not synonymous with Nigeria.
Better still we can always take a trip to the literary world where Chinua Achebe won the Booker Prize for Fiction, Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize for Literature and Chimamanda Adiche won the Orange Prize for Literature? We tell of these three voices singing in joyful tunes that Nigeria is a great country and letting the world know the beauty of a Nigerian story and the hidden treasures of the land embedded in the genius of its people.?
Excellent news circulating worldwide about the young teenager who recently won the Global Open World Mathematics tournament. Taking top prize from contestants equally matched from the US, UK, China. The winner of this highly acclaimed prize for mathematics excellence in this regard is the young 15-year-old Nigerian girl, Faith Udunsi.
Faith Odunsi Global Open Worlds Mathematics Champion
We can only imagine and appreciate the time and effort she must have put into this, the practicing, extra tutoring, and related engagements had, and then their aligned appreciation of other achievements she was previously churning out, to enable logical confidence in her quest. It is quite refreshing acknowledging the young genius who has made so many smile and proud by her overarching achievements.
At 13 she won an outstanding award and set a record in Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics TV Quiz Show by answering 19 questions in 60 seconds to advance to the next stage of the competition. The objective of the show is a platform to reward excellence in Mathematics irrespective of the economic and social strata of students.
With supportive parents guiding and mentoring the young Faith highlights Mathematics and Information and Communications Technology as her favourite subjects.
We could go on and on, turning the pages of history and revealing great achievements by Nigerians, both at home and in the Diaspora. Nigerians who have risen to defeat the notion that Nigerians are fantastically corrupt, as someone once said.
But wait just a minute…
This list would be incomplete if we do not slot in one name. A name that has now been written on a page that was once reserved for people of certain races. A name that has emerged, to place Nigeria in a place of significance. A name that spells success, feminine strength and the intelligence of the black race.
We add to this list of Nigerian achievers, a woman whose appointment has made Nigerians stand tall, proud of their Nigerian citizenship. This woman, Dt Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is the first female and the first black woman to be made Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, has paved the way for more Nigerians to continue to blaze the trail of success in their various endeavours.
The pages are still turning. More Nigerians are still going to arise and write their names on pages of gold, even after this piece is published, but for now, this list serves as a representation of the true Nigerian spirit, which values enterprise and success and strives for greatness.
With these names of Nigerians who have made the nation proud and have caused the world to shout in unison, the phrase: Nigeria we hail thee, we have proved that Nigeria is indeed a great nation.