THE NIGERIAN IMAGE

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Ulgaria, National Geographic Magazine, Nigeria, Stoichkov, Balakov, Usa, Chinua Achebe, Jay Jay Okocka, Wole Soyinka, Kanu Nwankwo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiechie

                                             

I was seated beside some guy at the airport in San Francisco some days back. He looked overly reserved, but as soon as football came on air on the big screen in front of waiting passengers, he sprung to life. Soon, we were talking the premier league, Spanish league and all the big leagues in Europe. He passionately described his love for his national team; the Bulgarian national team and how much he hoped that they would come back to the level they played at in 1994, when they dazzled the world – lead by Histro Stoichkov, Kostadinov, Letchkov and Balakov. He was surprised to find out that I knew his football heroes. I explained to him that I am an avid football fan myself, and above all that I am from Nigeria, the country that handed his beloved Bulgaria a 3-0 defeat in their first game of that world cup in 1994. Soon, he began to digress. His infectious passion for the game of football went frosty, as he digressed to a more controversial topic. “I get these emails from fake Nigerian princes all the time,” he said. “They keep telling me to send them some money so I can get millions in return,” he complained. Quite frankly, I could not tell whether he was genuinely expressing his disdain for the fraudulent emails that truly emanate from Nigeria – something for which we have acquired a rather sore reputation worldwide, or whether he wanted to get back at me for mentioning the 3-0 defeat we handed to the Bulgarian national team in 1994.

“I get those emails myself,” I said and made an effort to steer the discussion back to a more comfortable zone – football. “How come they keep doing that?” He asked with a frown on his face. “Why are Nigerians so obsessed with ripping other people off?” I could no longer stand it. Yes, those emails come predominantly from Nigeria/Nigerians, and that annoys me. However, it seemed as though my Bulgarian airport neighbor was keen to define me and every other Nigerian as fraudsters. “A friend of mine used to fly the Bulgarian national carrier from the USA to Bulgaria, with a brief stop-over in Sofia, before flying to Nigeria,” I said. “Really?” “Yes,” I said emphatically. “He stopped using that route because his bags were cut open and his belongings repeatedly got stolen in Sofia,” I added. “My friend told me that thefts like that are rampant in Bulgaria,” I added, driving home my point. He went pale, not knowing how to answer. Soon, he picked up his bag and left. I chuckled, crossed my leg and buried my face in a National Geographic magazine, knowing that I had delivered a sucker punch!

People often judge a whole by a part, which is hardly fair. I am passionately against those stupid and idiotic fraudulent emails often sent by some Nigerians looking to steal money from hard working foreigners. It is sad that most of the people who engage in such act have never left the country. They have no idea what a bad image they are building for the country, especially for Nigerians like me who are often on the road. There is so much to celebrate about our fatherland, Nigeria as with every other nation. I wish perpetrators of this ignoble act would stop, because first, the world knows about it, so no one is going to fall for it anyway. Secondly, it makes every Nigerian look bad. Instead of being questioned about Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Olumo rock or Benin art culture, travelling Nigerians are looked on as criminals because of the acts of some idiots who have no idea what damage they are doing to the country’s image. While I hope to see these emails stop coming out of my beloved country, I have decided to make a rather bold statement the next time I travel. I will design a nice placard for myself the next time I am at the airport. I will make sure I carry it on my head with the inscription;

I AM NIGERIAN AND I AM NOT A THIEF! I WORK HARD TO EARN A LIVING…I DON’T SEND E-MAILS TO PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD LOOKING TO DEFRAUD THEM. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF NIGERIANS LIKE ME…THERE IS MORE TO NIGERIA AND AFRICA AT LARGE.

THE END

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Written by:
Victor Chinoo

Poster source: www.toluleo.blogspot.com
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KEY WORDS: BULGARIA, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, NIGERIA, STOICHKOV, BALAKOV, USA, CHINUA ACHEBE, JAY JAY OKOCKA, WOLE SOYINKA, KANU NWANKWO, CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADIECHIE

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THE NIGERIAN IMAGE
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