Nigeria is a curious mix-bag

When many African countries were calling for debt pardon, not many in the international community were sympathetic to including Nigeria among the beneficiaries. Among the reasons stated was that Nigeria is not really a poor country, judging from the millions of dollars looted by its past leaders and stashed in foreign banks. They forget too quickly that stolen wealth does not necessarily translate to benefit for the common man in the country. Nigeria is poor, and many of its people live in abject poverty. However, there are also many wealthy Nigerians and I dare so, a good number of them with wealth from dubious sources. Wealth is worshipped here, with no questions asked as to the source of the money.

Hardly has a new car been released to the market than it appears on Nigerian roads, ordered by one of its stinkingly rich citizens, with more money than shame, talk less of a brain. We are a proud, and perhaps arrogant people, who prefer to steal to show off to friends, rather than be content with what belong to us. When people outside Nigeria see such wealth (even though ill-gotten), can you blame them if they think that Nigeria is a rich country? It is easy to recognize a Nigerian when you meet him or her outside the country. They walk head up, chin out, shoulders squared and refuse to do what they may deem menial tasks, even when they are dying of hunger. That is the Nigerian for you. Yet in all of this, Nigerians are a very good people at heart: resilient in the face of difficulties, welcoming to strangers and with strong family bonds. You just have to sift the wheat to get at the gentle core: it is there.

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