This year's first of October was memorable for many Nigerians. Indeed, unlike many other African who have had their 50th anniversary, the one of Nigeria was one that 'insisted it must be remembered'
I first heard of the 'National Cake' that was going to be unveiled and was supposed to be the larges cake ever! Then I said to myself .. wow, this must be something big!
I did determine to enjoy the day. So I actually did what my parents have always done during Independence Days - Cook, dress up and eat! So I went shopping, did aesthetics and had a nice meal! I even took pictures.
I was happy to see Nigeria trend on Twitter. I did my best to catch up on the tweets. Some were saying how great a country is, and others were saying the exact opposite. But I could see that many of the tweets had a firm hope that the country was on its way to getting better and needs to do that as fast as possible.
Parallel to the news reporting of the celebrations happening at Eagles Square was also the release of school children who had been earlier kidnapped in Aba. It was going to really be a happy day..
Then the twin bomb blasts came! First we got an alert that there were "explosions" and over the minute, it came full force! A guy took a picture of one man who was wounded; He later died. Total number of deaths after the final count - 12
The one lesson I will not forget is how international media got interested in the Independence Day celebrations, not because of the celebrations themselves, but because 'the celebrations are marred by deadly car bombs'. Wow! I kept asking myself, if it were not for the bomb attacks, would they have paid much attention to Nigeria?
Ah! So the negative image of Nigeria is more news-worthy that the sum of its people's happiness? The dead have more attention than the living? The rebels get more mention than the President!
So here is to all Nigerians and to all Africans. If we do not make a positive image of ourselves, the negative ones will continue to sell. IF we do not give healthy information about the good things happening, nobody else will.
We dont need to give the negative news.. folks are already doing that. In fact, they are making their living out of the image of Africa they show out there: sickness, poverty, war, bloodshed, corruption, hopelessness etc..
What will we do?