The Coordinator of I-Nigeria Initiative, Ada Apiafi, has described the recent successes of entertainment divas, such as Star actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Ice Prince, as symbolising the true Nigerian spirit. As a result, Apiafi not only wants Nigerians to continue to appreciate the artistes, but to think positively about the country.
While Jalade-Ekeinde was, some months ago, named one of the TIME’s 100 Most Influential Personalities, singer Ice Prince won the Best Hip-Hop Africa Award at the BET Awards held in Los Angeles, USA.
According to Apiafi, a recent development that should also not go unnoticed is the example of Mosunmola ‘Mo’ Abudu, who recently inaugurated EbonyLife TV, described as Africa’s first Global Black Multi-Broadcast Entertainment Network, with programmes showcasing Nigeria’s burgeoning middle class.
The I-Nigeria boss says, “These are just a few inspiring stories coming from within Nigeria and they are all extraordinary. Some of our stories don’t get to make news headlines. These are everyday Nigerians doing noble deeds, surviving against all odds, and who just believe in maintaining the dignity of being Nigerians.”
She says I-Nigeria is out to slamps out negative references which, according to her, many people make about their fatherland. Apiafi says I-Nigerian is a privately initiated Perception Transformation Initiative set up to drive what its promoters call ‘The Nigerian Renaissance Project’ into the consciousness of Nigerians at home and abroad, and to the global community, with special emphasis on the positives.
She adds, “It is both a process and a series of programmes designed to recapture the heart, soul and concept of being Nigerian, by showcasing in every sphere, the good in Nigeria and Nigerians, by Nigerians themselves. It is not what we see but what is being reported. There are many good and positives that could, and should be reported as well.
“When Nigeria recently made it into the list of the 50 Most Reputable Countries in the World, not many media outfits celebrated it! Before now, the country was not even considered for ranking. A 24-year-old Nigerian, Uwa Imafidon, just graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in the US, with a Masters degree in Microbiology, with a 4.0 CGPA – out of the maximum 4.0 CGPA. Before her sojourn abroad, she had earlier bagged a first class degree in Crop Science from the University of Benin, as the Best Graduating Student in her Department.
“A few years ago, Jelani Aliyu from Sokoto State, who schooled in Kebbi, won a global design competition organised by General Motors. Sadly, the good attention that we should be basking in is being tainted by the news of insurgencies, challenges to our national security, and a myriad issues that spark more negative news about Nigerians as a people. Nigerians – individually and collectively – are left with a battered trust and confidence in their Nigerianness.”
She says I-Nigeria’s mandate to the people is simple: to speak about positives and be proud of them rather than insist on the negativities.
“Negatives are present, and even more prevalent in other climes, but are not often screamed on the front pages of newspapers. There is a saying that nobody can make you inferior without your consent. Over the years, a subtle inferiority complex has crept into the consciousness of the average Nigerian, especially in the way we talk about ourselves – we tend to spend more time talking about the bad than the good.”
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