Thursday, October 1, 2020 8:11 am
By Temitope Ajayi
In 2004, Mr. Ayorinde Adedoyin redirected the way I see and think about Nigeria. I had gone to see him at his Daayard/Doyin Motors’ office at Orile. Blasting out of the corner-street mounted loudspeakers by a roadside video/Compact Disc seller was Eedris Abdulkareem’s “Nigeria Jagajaga”, which was then a smash hit.
I thought it was a socially conscious song because he sang about the suffering of the poor, “Nigeria jagajaga, poor man de suffer suffer.”
The blaring of the song from the corner shop was loud enough for us to hear inside Mr. Adedoyin’s office. I was humming the song. The next thing I heard was, “What nonsense song are you singing?” I responded, ‘But he is singing about our problems. Nigeria is jagajaga now.” Then an argument ensued between us.
Mr. Adedoyin asked me how many countries I had been to. In 2004, I had not even crossed the Seme Border. “If you want to know countries that are jagajaga, cross Idi-Iroko or Seme and travel around West and Central Africa. Go to Eastern Europe and Asia then you will see jagajaga countries. See Tope, every country has its problem and each is dealing with its own. It is like Yoruba people saying you don’t use left hand to describe your father’s house. If you have problems in your family do you go everywhere proclaiming to the whole world and say come and hear o, my family is problem infested. This is what we do to our country often,” he said.
From that day in April 2004, I moderated my views about Nigeria and I adopted a more realistic assessment.
I strongly hold the view that 60 years after independence we have many things to celebrate. We have made progress as a country and people. We survived a civil war and many other crises that could have led to an implosion. We have many things to hope for and work towards.
One thing I love about America and American politicians is when they say, till tomorrow, that they are working towards a more perfect and better union. The work of building a country is never ending. It is a journey without end.
One thing i have noticed about our country is the fact that those who say unwholesome things about the country the most are those who have benefited massively from her. Some who are making and thriving in Nigeria, for whatever reason, say horrible things that leave others despondent and hopeless.
Whatever we do as Nigerians and for the few among us with the privilege of another passport, our actions should be guided by the fortunes or otherwise of over 180 million of our compatriots who will never have a chance of having another country to call home.
Let us do whatever is within our power to contribute to the progress, peace and stability of our country in words and in deeds.
Nigeria, lets go ahead TOGETHER!
Happy Independence Anniversary to a greatest and biggest black nation on earth.
-Temitope Ajayi, public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos