By Dr. James C. Agazie,  

To me, it’s an honor to be a Nigerian, to be from a nation that nurtured me and gave me my unflattering personality. If I am arrogant and mouthy, I like it. I ask the readers to bear with me; there’s a reason why I am this way. I am truly trying to evolve to be truly a Nigerian   It is not easy being truly a Nigerian, a citizen of that Great Land populated by 170 million people and divided  50-50 between Christians and Muslims. To be exact, true Nigerians form friendships across tribal and religious boundaries. They belong to a class set apart from the rest.  They are citizens of the world marked with soigné significance and recherché’ nonchalance. In Nigeria, we are open, intelligent, argumentative, and forthright to the point of eccentricity. And that’s what makes us the people we are. You can spot a Nigeria as soon as you enter a restaurant, Kroger, Wal-Mart, or airport in Anchorage, Alaska or Tokyo, Japan,  Here comes a Nigerian, and you can pick him or her out with the stylish hair, flowing  attire, and accent so thick you could cut it with a pair of scissors. Nigerians are tough, individualistic, unconventional, and rebellious. In short, for loss of words, Nigerians are maverick.  One of the most striking features that mark my Nigerian is the woman’s radiant energy, and the man’s get-up-and-go. You are truly a Nigerian when certain unique signs show up in you.   

  1. A true Nigerian values education and seeks to acquire more knowledge than he had the previous years. He or she enrolls in academic or technical courses to improve skills, brush up on deficiencies, set up a private business, or to prepare to enter the labor force. If you are a Nigerian, you aren’t truly successful  until you have the Bachelor’s degree  (BA/BS) after being in America for 7 years; or Master’s (MA/MS/MBA) after being  overseas for 10 years;  or the  doctorate (PhD/MD) after being outside Nigeria for 15 years. You may argue that education is not that important or that it is not as valuable as money. My answer is this: Knowledge is power and he who has it has my respect. Conversely, ignorance is no bliss. The pen is mightier than the dollar. Anyway, get education while you can. It’s better to have it and don’t need it than to need it and don’t have it. I see Nigeria’s palaver ending when we are educated to respect ourselves. 
  1. A true Nigeria gives equal opportunity to all people irrespective of sex, tribe, income level, or religious leaning. To be a true Nigerian, you cannot discrimination against females in education or employment. Today, in many Nigerian communities, education is such a valuable asset marriage is sometimes delayed until a person graduates from secondary school or the university. Many Nigerian millionaires and thousandaires prefer marrying educated girls to the uneducated. Four of my personal friends are businessmen and importers  who have no university diploma but whose  wives  are practicing barristers and physicians.  Though Chief Onyekwere may not read, write proper grammar like Nsukka honors graduate, or calculate fractions like Okonkwo a PhD in mathematics, yet his wife Dr. Monica Onyekwere  is a London trained internist. 
  1. A true Nigerian values education for girls. In the past, in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and up till the first part of the 90’s, most Nigerian  boys were sent to schools  while the girls were groomed to marry early to men who would take care of them. The result was a plethora of poor households headed by illiterate widows.   Today, things are changing in Nigeria as a result of the emphasis on girls’ education. 
  1. A true Nigerian values family life that includes a wife, husband , children, and assorted extended family members. Social events and festivities are said to be best enjoyed when celebrated within the context of the family. The husband with the encouragement of the wife builds a safe nest from which needs of each family member are met.  
  1. A true Nigerian is a nurturer of the young, a model for his growing kids, a sculpt for her neighbors’ children,  and active participant in relevant social clubs that promote unity and  family values. 
  1. A true Nigerian subscribes to the democratic ideals in the home and community. He or she  is interested in a stable Nigerian government that is free of corruption and where insecurity does not proliferate. He or she is diametrically opposed to autocratic rule or a government that trivializes human rights, or that utilizes use of force, intimidation coercion, or terrorism to rule. True Nigerians should be protesters against tyranny or injustice anywhere its ugly head is reared.   
  1. A true Nigerian supports honesty in private dealings and government functions; he pays his taxes and water bills on time, gas or NEPA (electric) bills promptly; he or she neither gives nor accepts bribes. Bribery is stealing and should be highly condemned as immoral. 
  1. A true Nigeria is both optimistic and egalitarian, not willing to give up on the idea that Nigeria is only experiencing growing pains of maturity but will metamorphose or change strikingly with  the appearance or character or something as if by supernatural means .  A true Nigerian is he or she who remains steadfast to the very end in the belief that my country, my Nigeria, will eventually be a nation of calm, peaceful, and prosperous people. The true Nigerian is genuinely interested in events taking place in Nigeria. He or she reads  up on current Nigerian news from the internet, discusses these readings with others and attempts to proffer an opinion that would resolve troubling issues, unlike boko haram criminals who would add fuel to a combustion. True Nigerians call their elected officials to lend support to profitable measures and oppose solutions that are divisive.  
  1. A truly successful Nigerian seeks to serve on the country’s  armed forces or in whatever capacity his/her training and experiences best qualify him or her as a politician, teacher, civic leader, importer ,exporter,  house wife, stay-at-home husband, or consultant.  
  1. A man or woman who is truly Nigerian does not neglect spiritual growth. Though they believe in the existence of God, true Nigerians aren’t so fanatical they become oppressors of those who don’t share their religious views. True Nigerians are tolerant, charitable, broadminded, and lenient towards others with differing religious inclinations. 
  1. You are truly a  successful Nigerian if you have a positive bank account, never in deep debt, and are able to pay for your family upkeep, including expenses for transportation, healthcare, housing, entertainment, and leisure activities. 
  1. A truly successful Nigerian possesses good attitudes and habits that are conducive to healthy living  and longevity, and these habits include but are not limited to: no  cigarettes smoking, moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, no use of habit-forming drugs, no spousal abuse,  regular visits to their physicians; and regular physical exercise. 
  1. Lastly but not the least, every truly successful Nigerian ought to be informed of the customs and traditions of his/her Nigerian community, and be able to impart same to his children. 

Long Live Nigeria! Wishing peace and prosperity to all Nigerians 

Written by Dr. James C. Agazie, 

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