Because you care (1)

by | August 25, 2013 8:28 am



I am completely overwhelmed with the followership for this column and the love you share with us on the page. I have been travelling quite a bit in the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland lately and I will bring you all the exciting details in subsequent columns.

But today I want to assure you that I am grateful for your letters. They energise me and keep me going because without your readership there will be no column. I therefore want to thank all our readers for their sustained interest. We have received interesting mail from all kinds of people in the past including someone from the EU office about our guest piece, a satire on a guide about driving on Nigerian Roads. This was written by Dr Bob Arnot a Briton who has spent nearly a decade in Nigeria.

It attracted a lot of interest and was beyond hilarious if it was not tragic. We also received mail from an International company in the South East who wanted me to send them an on-line version of my piece, Tips for International travellers, which we did. We are indeed pleased by our responses and thank you immensely. This week we publish some of your letters. Not all agree with me but that’s okay and some have observed a few slips.

We received quite a number of letters in relation to the man in the U.S , Ayinde, who has been sleeping with his five daughters for over twenty years fathering children with them. The article in last week’s column was titled, Incest, the limit of madness. We chose this to publish this week.

Dear Eugenia.

Read your article with the above subject in BusinessDay of Friday, 16 August, 2013. I agree totally with you that incest is the limit of madness.

Where I disagree with you is your assertion that Aswad Ayinde is “an award winning Nigerian director”. What makes him a Nigerian, I want to ask you? The name, Ayinde abi? Where was he born in Nigeria? Who were his parents? Has he ever been to Nigeria?

I think as a journalist you ought to have done more research on his background before jumping to conclusion. Nigeria earns enough negative publicity and should not be saddled with what is not hers.

My little findings show his real name is Charles McGill and that his parents were originally from Jamaica. That he chose to call himself Ayinde because he traced his roots to Nigeria does not make him a Nigerian.

Regards.

Abimbola Abiona

Ikeja, Lagos

Thank you Abimbola. I have chosen to respond to this because you are so angry. I am a card carrying believer in Nigeria and its people and I am constantly working the path of educating people about my country wherever I am in the world. This is so you know. It’s hard to find a nation with just so much beauty, food, culture and brilliance. Yet on one side of the coin is filth, scammers, corruption and all that.

The fact that we talk about it from time to time does not make someone like me love Nigeria any less and my avid readers know that. Our biggest challenge in selling Nigeria is not necessarily international media negativity which you accuse me of as well at least in the incest piece.( we shall return that subsequently) but the fact that as government, as a people, we do not do enough to change the perception of people about us. In fact Nigerians are known for denigrating Nigeria, her people, criminalising anyone not of their ethnic stock and more importantly of doing stuff they should not be doing outside our shores.

Be that as it may, we both know that many nations spend a lot of money on P.R for their country and others tell you how beautiful their country is just by word of mouth. If you have followed this column you will see that I am constantly celebrating the only country I am quite happy to live in and also saying when we are not up to par. I invite you to pick up your pen or whatever platform you have and join us. As for the man in the middle of the incest case, you did not pay attention to my addendum on that piece. News was filtering in that he may not be Nigerian as we went to press and we said so. It does not reduce from the crime or the many lessons to be picked from the piece. I love my country and will not give it up.

The many things we do to disrobe us we have to stop; our stories outside are a mix of the bad, the good and the ugly. Let’s tell each other the truth at home and abroad. This is an area in which we do not score very highly and also in National public relations. Perhaps you can help. Some of the worst nations in the world have P.R. When news breaks about Nigeria, there should be a strategic national response from stakeholders managing Nigeria’s information. I will continue to do my bit as a citizen. I urge us all to do ours.