Friday, August 16, 2013

To Kola Olaosebikan, The Blogger Who's Happy She Left Nigeria

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When I came across a video by Kola Olaosebikan talking about the one thing that would make her happily return to Nigeria, I clicked, I listened, I watched, I smiled and I sighed and I decided not to blog about it. She actually said many of us would do that, the typical Nigerian I-don-care attitude, but that still didn't bully me to share.

I didn't feel Kola brought enough to the table to engage in a conversation, except maybe her Starbucks coffee. Also, she wasn't saying anything new, and her misguided soapbox ranting was the very last thing I wanted to use to discuss with my readers about the tangled debate between;

1. living in Nigeria,
2. staying back when you have the opportunity to leave,
3. living between Nigeria and another country or
4. thinking of relocating/ just relocated back to Nigeria
5. living outside Nigeria with an interest in the country, or
6. being in complete and utter self-exile.

I think Kola is lost and confused between #5 and #6. While the justice system she fingers in her treatise is one of the problematic areas in Nigeria, there is a multi-system failure of leadership and followership in Nigeria that goes beyond just the justice system.

Apart from this point, Kola barely makes any other accurate or fair point about those living in Nigeria and those living outside. You can see her video below, and Aribaba of just wrote a more comprehensive response to her.

Re: Why Wouldn’t I Leave Nigeria?; A Response To The Video By Kola Olaosebikan - By Aribaba

I’m taking a good 5 minutes to relax, calm down and write this post without getting too pumped up. Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! Ok…. So I watched this video after it was shared by Kemi Adetiba on her instagram page, and just like her I was very moved to say something about it.

Let me start off by saying that a good amount of what Kola Olaoesibikan (surprised she keeps her Nigerian name) said in her video is true. It might be exaggerated, but none the less, as a Nigerian, as painful as it is to hear, it’s the truth. Exagerrated, but true. A lot of times we sit and listen to western media throw out a lot of negative and biased statistics about Nigeria & Africa, and it hurts, very deeply a times but I must say it hurts even more when it comes from one of our own who, based on the video, you get the feeling actually lived in Nigeria for a decent amount of time.

Now I have no problem with maybe the intent of the video, or calling to light issues that we all know happen in Nigeria, but the execution and method of doing this comes off as nothing but very insulting to Nigerians, and I’m tempted to say, sadly ignorant.

When she say says, a country that allows child marriage, did she bother to think of the reaction millions on Nigerians had when they heard of that loop hole in the law? Did she even bother to think why this even came to light? Does she even know that numerous senators and house of reps have tried on one more than one occasion to close this loop hole that allows such? That there were thousands of citizens that took to the streets to protest this law? Are those senators that proposed the motion to close this loop hole not doing the right thing? Are those citizens that took to the streets not fighting for a better country for their kids and future generations? Are the numerous journalists and bloggers that expose and spread such news not doing their part in trying to spread information to enlighten Nigerians on what’s going on? Statements like that are a slap in the face to every Nigerian that is, out of love, doing their part to make Nigeria better even they don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

On the subject of NYSC, it’s easy to say the best “years” because it sounds nice to exaggerate something negative, but as much as I don’t like the NYSC program, I have to call out that first off it’s one year and not ‘years’, so it’s not wasting ‘the best years’. Does Kola even know why the NYSC came about in the first place? As flawed and needless as it may be now, the NYSC idea was a noble idea immediately after the civil war to integrate Nigerians and enable the young graduates to learn about other parts of our extremely diverse country, that they might not have been able or willing to do under normal circumstances. An attempt to curb the tribalism that fueled the civil war.

Does Kola (let’s assume that’s her name) know about the steady growth of the Nigerian economy, the dozens of international companies flocking to Nigeria to invest in various start ups and small time businesses, which subsequently can only lead to more jobs and opportunities for Nigerians? Does Kola know of the hundreds of positive Nigerians that do so much for Nigeria, even if they are not compensated properly, just because of the belief they have in the future? The music and movie industry booming at an all time high, and creating so many opportunities for the youth to stay off the streets? The social activism via social media that has captured a lot of the youth of Nigeria?

Does Kola know about thousands of security agents who have lost their lives fighting terrorism across the country, and as ill equipped as they may be, they still put their life on the line daily to protect what they can in those area. Are they stupid for trying? Should they run to the US and sip fake Starbucks on youtube?

Does Kola know of the thousands of young Nigerians (youth especially) who were extremely active in the last election? Getting involved in voter registration, education, and other things just so they can attempt to make the election as free and fair as possible. Organizing debates to discuss issues surrounding the country, raising awareness about the voting process, documenting, recording and reporting cases of voter fraud over the country. Are they stupid for loving their country enough to try? Or are they part of the brained damaged who just don’t know any better?

If I didn’t know better, I’d think everyone in Nigeria is dead, dying, forced to do NYSC for 5 years, married at 12, and quarter to being a criminal.

It’s very easy to sit in America and throw stones, and whine and complain, and say all negative things about Nigeria without even remotely acknowledging the positives.  It’s very easy to forget that less than 40 years ago, African Americans died en masse fighting to afford Kola, a black person, the opportunity to sit down in the open and sip Starbucks. It’s easy to sit back and tell the world without shame that you worked so hard to suppress your Nigerian accent like it’s a thing of pride.

The bottom line after my long storybook is, there is no doubt that Nigeria is a tough place by any standards. We’re years away from our goal, and sometimes it’s hard to see if we’re going forward or backward, but we keep fighting because after all is said and done, it’s our home. It’ll bring most no greater joy than to see Nigeria as a country succeed. Whether we like it or not, we’ll continue to fight and struggle for a better Nigeria. Like Kemi Adetiba said once on twitter “Nigeria, we go enter the same trouser and fight this thing out till we’re better” (not exact words). Bad leaders, and a largely ineffective government should NOT take away from the great people of Nigeria, and the millions that do the right thing daily in an effort to make Nigeria better. I guess since they don’t have the luxury to leave they sh*t out of luck right?

To Kola Olasebikan, there’s nothing wrong if you never want to go to Nigeria again or you’re happy you left Nigeria. All na personal choice, but believe me 150 million minus 1 wont stop the struggle, and the fight for a better Nigeria. Enjoy your starbucks. Peace.

Aribaba, a Nigerian living in America that actually doesn’t like Starbucks


  1. Both of them are correct, Nigeria is in a very bad state, and it's also true that some people are trying on their individual and collective basis to get it right, but until the government puts some structures in place, it will be like water through a basket. If I had the opportunity, I will leave too and not come back.

  2. Air head. I dont know what rock this babe just crawled out of. I really shouldnt have watched this video i want to slap some sense into her. She has just rubbished all the effort and "conversation" people have made on all the issues she raised. Its good she left Nigeria. At least some one else will get the job she would have got. I sure hope you have the right visa.

  3. that Kola girl are the kind of pple we dont even want in Naija.
    we want patrotic pple who will stand to fight the cause of our nation
    am a corp memeber in Jos, Plateau state.. when I was first posted here, my frnds and family felt it was my death sentence. but here I am. glad to be learning the culture, language and food of the pple.
    like the writer said, 167milliion minus 1 is so insignificant..

    ps... thankGod naija network is wacky so I was spared the agony of watching the video..

  4. And there are those of us who are still trying to find a ay ack to Nigeria. Abeg no mind the girl, when she has lived abroad for the length of time some of us have, and seen the truth that irrespective of your achievements, your accent, your contribution to society, (1) you have an African name = you don't belong, (2) you are black = you don't belong. Nija may be a lot of things which w all acknowledge but it is still HOME. Forever and ever, no matter what else I am, I will always remain Nigerian first.

  5. I think Kola is being misunderstood however opinionated she might sound - this is not a condemnation of her country, this is a cry for help to create an awareness that we as people have to do something (not with kid's gloves) for Nigeria to be better.

    She is right, the system does not work and until there is accountability - progress looks far-fetched.

    I understand Aribaba's points - we have people contributing their widow's mite but until there is an "Arab spring" or a "Nigerian Mandela with a strong following of the south african resistance" or a " resilient generation" refusing to accept a mediocre government with a system where any thing goes and no one can be held accountable because money talks and bull-shit works / god-father-ism - Nigeria is a failed state.

    And that's her point , why die for your country when nobody will look after your children? or forget labours of our heroes's past - one month down the line?

    Nigerians are intelligent and resourceful people and have adapted to any hard situation, overcome and excelled- the question is : is this tenacity/resourcefulness not turning around to be a curse?

    1. She might had goofed on NYSC and made some odd comments about "an accent" - that ...she will learn in good time - that there is no place like home.

      But please do not throw the baby out with the bath water - she made some sense..

  6. I watched the video with a smile on my face. I would have finished it and said nothing, I mean after you've interacted with so many dense people one of the greatest gifts you leave with odd the ability to ignore.

    And as I was saying I would have watched the entire thing but as soon as she said the words "which is helping orphans" it was like my stupidity meter for the day had reached full capacity and I just couldn't anymore.

  7. The moment the babe talked about how she fought so hard to suppress her Nigerian accent, I just laughed out loud. She said it like a thing of pride. Like losing your accent (a huge part of your identity) is a thing of pride.

  8. My igbo people have a saying which translates, "he who stands where others have swept" its easy to sit down in the safety of your home and be full of good intentions. You want to help orphans but Naija no just gree make you do am abi. So how many orphans in America have you actually helped. Kola mentioned mko and the ogoni people that died in their struggle for Nigeria. My dear, the simple courtesy you can pay America is to pick up it's history books. Look for books about the native Americans and how they were displaced from their own homeland,then find books about how Africans ended up as slaves in America. Then tell me how a black woman like you that isn't even American can sit down in public in America to make that your video and sip Starbucks freely, if malcolm x and Martin Luther King junior and all the people that died in their struggle for black Americans have sat down in their homes and had good intentions with no action. You think say na by juju. Nigeria will survive with or without people like you because there will always be people like me that are willing to fight for her. Keep sleeping in another person's home that he has swept instead of going back to your own home and doing some first Saturday clean ups.

    1. lol there are orphans all over the world tho... its a personal choice where u wanna invest your money and time

  9. My Naija people haba! y'all do not need to throw insults at her. think about what she said for a little bit

    well she's saying the truth tho.. we have a leadership/ system problem in Nigeria and it's really sad, most of the leaders DO NOT care! maybe she should make/ state plans to make a better Nigeria? but there are lots of people who tried and got frustrated and left (again) ....

    One of the biggest things that irks me about Nigeria is that our political leaders earn one of the highest rates in pay IN THE WORLD and people are dying in poverty, poverty rate is crazy high!.. that makes me sad everytime I remember.

    hopefully, things get better

  10. I am glad she left. We do not need ignorant people who want to be served and do not want to serve. Someone, please tell her to read American history. They were once in the state like we find ourselves now. Truly, with geographical borders closed with the advent of the internet, we should have accelerated growth. But, if everyone left America, she would not meet America the 'Land of Opportunities'. She should search for The Generation that left Town by Pat Utomi... Well, not her fault. She is just another opportunist, having the new media space to rant. Unfortunately, we will patronise her via comments, video responses, etc. and she will gain the popularity she doesn't deserve, while corps members, like the corps member killed during the 2011 elections, are forgotten by us. Crap.

  11. She made some valid points.

  12. I don't even know why we are engaging ourselves on this issue. She shouldn't have been given this prominence sef. I didn't watch the video and wouldn't say it lai lai and I'd never watch it. I love my internet data that much. Someone sits in America, whines about her pains and sips Starbucks and we took it to blogosphere talking about it. Too much awareness for nonsense. I think we also are suffering from the plague of talking about just anything, however lousy it may be. Kola's is her own. Na she sabi. She isn't worth this publicity.


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