WESTERN MEDIA’S OBSESSION WITH ‘$1 A DAY’ NIGERIANS.
The western media (Europe and America) have suddenly become fixated with constantly reminding the rest of the world that majority of Nigerians live on less than $1 a day (N155). Bump into any western news report on Nigeria and whether it's good news or bad news, they never fail to mention the ‘fact’ that 'majority’ of Nigerians live on less than $1 a day (it used to be $2 but was recently reviewed downwards). I'm not angry with the ‘oyinbo’ media; it's the rest of us, especially the intellectual class that I’m angry with. Most of us simply agree with these distorted statistics. Nigeria has a lot of government funded and private research institutes and none have ever considered it necessary to research into these claims deliberately designed by the west to ridicule the black race - Yes I said it, my conspiracy theory begins here.
Nigeria is plagued with too many problems (mostly self inflicted) that a lot of us don't know the role that Nigeria has to play in the total liberation of the Negro race. Of all the races that were once oppressed by 'whites' in the past, the black race remains the only one that is yet to shake off its shackles of mental, economic and social bondage. On paper, most black African nations are free but in many other aspects, we are not quite there yet.
Great countries emerge and become a source of pride to their distinct peoples. The emergence of China as a world power for instance has given pride to all peoples of Chinese heritage or ancestry. Chinese-Americans that have lived in the USA for generations, believe it or not, still take pride in rising profile of China. The rise of India has also given pride to all peoples of Indian heritage or ancestry. I've met a fourth generation South African Indian who still refers to India as his mother country and of course, passionate about bollywood- I love bollywood too.
If a racist white American walks over to a Chinese-American and says, “Hey, why don’t you’ll go back to China,” the Chinese-American would probably smile and reply, “Right after America finishes paying back its debts to China, besides you know those shoes you are wearing? They are probably made in China.” If this same scenario involved a black African...your guess is as good as mine.
In other words, for a once oppressed race to stand side by side with their former white/European masters in today world, a powerful country owned by people of such (oppressed) races must emerge to inspire ‘its kind’ to greatness.
Nigeria is that country that was created (either by mistake or by God’s will) to instil a sense of pride amongst black people. We have failed politically and economically in achieving this but Nigeria is still managing to impact the global black race; through music and the almighty Nollywood. The west does not like this. ***soundtrack: Ghen gheeeen***
Nigerian movies have been embraced by many Diaspora blacks and black nations all over the world, well except for ‘Akata’ black Americans.
Jamaica, a largely black nation that is just about 581 miles away from the USA is addicted to Nollywood and not Tyler Perry or Spike Lee movies. Same goes for most surrounding Caribbean nations. It’s not about the quality of these movies; Nollywood gives these people who are descendants of African slaves a deep ‘unexplainable’ sense of belonging. Similar to what bollywood does to my South African-Indian friend.
Core African-Americans (slave descendants) as a people can no longer be looked upon to inspire the black race, even though they have the highest GDP per capital for black people anywhere in the world. The REAL impact of slavery suffered by African-Americans, I believe, will never be fully understood. Many African-Americans despise Africa and other black Africans. As a matter of fact(though many will dispute this),a lot of ‘Black Americans’ (as they prefer to call themselves) are more interested in discovering traces of their genetic ties with Europeans or red Indians, other than their African roots.
In spite of Nigeria's huge problems, her influence is still growing through music and movies; can we now imagine what will happen if Nigeria gets her acts together politically and economically?
My conspiracy theory is that the ‘white’ west will always want to checkmate Nigeria’s growing influence among black people, the Chinese may not mind (they've been oppressed before). This, I believe is one of the main reasons why the western media always plunge themselves in an orgy whenever there's bad news from Nigeria. They kind of prefer a South Africa to emerge as an African champion- after all SA was not exactly built by blacks.
Whenever a Caribbean fan of Nollywood watches the western news media's suggestion that Nigeria is a nation of ‘desperately poor and hungry people’, he'd surely wonder. "These people are so poor and yet, they make such movies and music in their country? They shoot their movies in public places, openly display affluence and the ‘desperately poor’ masses are cool with this? Something is just not right.”
Poverty is real in Nigeria, no doubt but I can bet that the most wretched of street beggars in any Nigerian city makes more that N155 within three hours of begging at a specific street corner.
We as Nigerians MUST stand up and tell these western media folks to 'shut the f**k up' whenever they exaggerate and glorify our poverty rate. Let us as a nation also embark on ‘real’ data gathering and define what poverty really means by our own cultural and realistic standards.
A situation where a Fulani herdsman that owns herds of cattle worth thousands of dollars is defined as desperately poor by the UN just because he doesn’t have a concrete house with running water is unacceptable. He's a nomad for crying out loud.
This article does not in any way exonerate successive Nigerian governments from their failures at improving the lot of the masses.