“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will only glorify the hunter” argues the Late Professor Chinua Achebe.
Nigeria is the most misunderstood country. This misunderstanding has gained more prominence in the wake of the Ebola virus outbreak.
On August 5th, 2014, CNN’s Erin Burnett Out Front ran a story on the Ebola Outbreak and labeled the country “Niger” as “Nigeria” with the color red, a color which simply in my opinion denotes the notion of “a dangerous Nigeria.” This mislabeling of Nigeria, is the latest example of why people need to start looking at Nigeria in a different light, why knowledge of the Nigerian context matters.
For far too long, many Nigerians, especially our scholars (myself included), have stood behind the scenes, observing silently, how mainstream media’s fascination with bad news from Nigeria will end. We have watched as they portrayed the most populous country in Africa as a backward country, where schools girls are kidnapped, with leaders that are inept to curb the violence in its northern region.
But in wake of the media’s latest fascination with Ebola and Nigeria, one positive news appeared, and that is, that the mainstream media still does not know anything about Nigeria, about its people, or even its location on the map. I view this as a positive news, a glimmer of hope, because it made me realize that until I begin to work to change this perception of Nigeria, then I’m afraid the world, thanks to mainstream media, will only know Nigeria, as the dangerous country where schools girls are kidnapped and people get Ebola.
So in case mainstream media may have forgotten, let me start by sharing these basic facts in what I will call:
Meet Nigeria: Africa’s Most Populous Country
- Nigeria is a country with over 168 million people and more than 250 ethnic groups with distinct language and customs. It is not Niger.
- Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the seventh most populous in the world. It is not Niger.
- It began its existence as a nation-state in 1914 through the amalgamation of the north and south protectorates. It is not Niger.
- Nigeria became fully independent in October 1960. It is not Niger.
- Presently, Nigeria is made up of 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory. It is not Niger.
- Nigerian Pidgin English is a popular lingua franca spoken in most parts of Nigeria, alongside either Hausa, Igbo, or Yoruba, the 3 major languages in Nigeria. It is not Niger.
- Nigeria is a country where its people are truly proud to be Nigerians, not matter the condition, whether good or bad. It is not Niger.
- Nigeria is more than a virus, it is more than Boko Haram, instead it is made up of people who are fiercely loyal to the color “Green, White, Green.” It is not Niger.
I hope mainstream media will use this opportunity to learn about Nigeria and its people!!!
Image: Isioma Style Report