Nigerians criticize their nation even when unnecessary – Aviation Minister

Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, has described Nigerians as fastidious people with a tendency to criticize their nation even when unnecessary.

Speaking at the 44th Convocation Lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, over the weekend, Mr. Chidoka said that such attitude, though seemingly wrong had, however, helped spur the citizens and the government to do things better.

“The most virulent critics of Nigeria are Nigerians,” Mr. Chidoka said while delivering a lecture titled, Rebuilding the Nigerian Dream: Mapping the Building Blocks. “When two or three Nigerians are gathered, their topic is usually Nigeria: its missed opportunities, its poor outcomes and, particularly, the giant strides of other countries.

“A few years ago Nigerians celebrated one year of no blackouts in Ghana. Even though no such celebration took place in Ghana. They talked about how the Ghana cedi was equivalent to the US dollar even though it was just a decimalisation. Now that the Cedi has turned out to be one of the world’s worst-performing currencies, losing nearly 300 per cent of its value within a couple of months, and blackouts have become a common feature in Ghana as its budget deficit balloons, the Nigerian media has curiously kept silent. I don’t see any media commentaries on the fact that Ghana has fallen back to the International Monetary Fund, and indeed to Nigeria, for assistance.”

Mr. Chidoka noted that despite present difficulties, Nigeria is seen as a country that holds great opportunities for her citizens with projections that its economy would continue to grow at the rate of over 6 per cent for the next 20 years.

He also said that Nigeria has highly skilled, hardworking people with huge natural resources and large population that make the country a big market for goods and services which are key areas that would serve as stimulant to her economic growth.

The Minister said that Nigeria has great opportunities that ensure a better future for its citizens, noting that these opportunities should be harnessed by young Nigerians who should be creative and make use of any chance that comes their way, adding that the country has huge potential to be great.

“Nigeria has many things going in its favour. We are regarded as Africa’s largest economy, with an annual growth rate of 6 to 8 per cent,” he said.

“As Cosmo pointed out, we have one of the largest mobile phone markets on the continent. And nearly 40 per cent of our population has access to the internet. That is almost as much as South Africa at almost 47 per cent and far higher than Indonesia at only 16 per cent. Even Brazil has only managed to connect 53 per cent of its population online.”

He noted that Nigerians have inherent elements to succeed in every endeavour and those elements include superiority complex, hard work and the readiness to sacrifice today for better tomorrow.

Mr. Chidoka said although the Nigerian education system is severely criticised by her citizens, Nigerians who studied in Nigerian schools have distinguished themselves outside the country that in the United States Nigerians remain the most successful professionals among the black population.

“The criticism of our education system and the lamentations about the so-called Nigerian Factor notwithstanding, the Nigerian Diaspora has been singled out as one of the most successful black Diasporas in the world,” Mr. Chidoka said.

“In the United States, Nigerian-Americans dramatically outperform Americans in terms of income. In their book The Triple Package,Professors, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld explain that Nigerians are over-represented in the field of medicine, higher education, law and investment banking.

“Why are Nigerians so successful? Because of the way we raise our children. According to the authors, we Nigerians possess the three traits that breed success: a superiority complex – an idea that we are special in some way; insecurity – the fear that if we don’t work hard we will fail; and impulse control – the ability to delay gratification in the short term for better outcomes in the future. Even if you had never attended this august institution, by virtue of being raised Nigerian, you already have the tools for success.”


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  • tundemash

    Mr. Aviation Minister, Nigeria leaders steal their nation blind when it is not necessary. Deal with that.

    Criticism is an important component of democracy and nation building.
    If Turai cabal had not been criticised by Nigerians, Dumbo would probably still be hiding behind the door, scared to confront Turai.
    If IBB, Abacha had not been criticized, Nigeria would probably still be under military rule or life Presidency and u probably won’t be a Minister today to insult our collective intelligence.
    If OBJ had not been criticised, we will probably be under a 3rd term rule. Criticism didn’t start with Dumbo and would not end with him.

    My 2 cents advice Mr. Aviation Minister; if it is getting too hot for you, get out of the kitchen !!

    • King Carlos

      Nice one bro

    • tyson

      @wahala why should Nigerians criticise Turai over a constitutional matter—-? Tell me why Nigerians would be hired to ask her to hand over to Jonathan, when the constitution of the FRN, is there for all to respect and uphold? Did the people of Ghana demonstrate for one day, with the aid of their born again Pastors to enable the current President John Mammah, take over when Prof Arthur Mills died? What the nation state of Nigeria yearns for and the Aviation Minister is talking about-is Constructive criticism—Obj was abused for trying to manipulate the constitution which urged him to stay in power for only 2 terms. But he wanted a third term–having been in power for over 12 years———Who is there to criticise the Oluwole certificate of Buhari—has Buhari stopped his campaigns because of his fake certificates—-which Tinubu forged for him——-? That is the man who claimed to have made grade 2 in his WAEC result———show me one individual who made Grade 2 even though he failed Maths—-in Nigeria————————–just one——–

      • tundemash

        Deri …. not everyone is a con artist like you. I am no @wahala !!!
        If you can’t diferentiate between me and @wahala, you will struggle to comperehed my response so i won’t waste my time responding to block a head !

  • King Carlos

    It’s like people lose their brains when they get to power. Why is this man speaking in such manner. Instead of him to enjoy his anonymity in the government, he wants people to descend on him like we did Abba Moro. He doesn’t know what we are going through so he shouldn’t insult our collective intelligence. Shey ds guy know how many people go to bed hungry, the no of families that have been killed thru generator fumes or explosion, the people that died in road accidents? He should shutt upp abeg.

  • tyson

    @wahala aka tundemess——– why should Nigerians criticise Turai over a constitutional matter—-? Tell me why Nigerians would be hired to ask her to hand over power to Jonathan, when the constitution of the FRN, is there for all to respect and uphold? Did the people of Ghana demonstrate for one day, with the aid of their born again Pastors, to enable the current President John Mammah, take over when Prof Arthur Mills died? What the nation state of Nigeria yearns for and the Aviation Minister is talking about-is Constructive criticism—Obj was abused for trying to manipulate the constitution which urged him to stay in power for only 2 terms. But he wanted a third term–having been in power for over 12 years———Who is there to criticise the Oluwole certificate of Buhari—has Buhari stopped his campaigns because of his fake certificates—-which Tinubu forged for him——-? That is the man who claimed to have made grade 2 in his WAEC result———show me one individual who made Grade 2 even though he failed Maths—-in Nigeria————————–just one—Yet we are often lied to that Buhari represents—–the hopes and aspiration of the masses with a forged certificate and a house in London for his children abi-?

  • tyson

    Port Harcourt International Airport, is crying out for help

  • Isi Agwo

    You mean they are quick to criticise the fake nation which will finally end after Feb 14? The fake nation and the criticisms will end soon, Mr Minister.

  • ABUBAKAR A.

    HON MINISTER, IT IS WITH THIS CRITICISM THAT OUR LEADERS WILL SIT UPRIGHT AND DO THE CORRECT THING.

  • Otile

    But nobody criticizes Northerners until they leave office.

  • Olu Ade

    It is our Fundamental Human Right to criticize government because, We the people of Nigeria are your employer. Gone are the days when Nigerians hand over our lives to you and go to sleep. If you can not take our criticism, you get the F—out of there!

    • Lemmuel Odjay

      I feel insulted when people liken me to a critic out to rubbish anything the Nigerian government has done. I commend performance, such as the Agriculture Minister’s with regards to what he is doing in ensuring that, except in the event that we derail, we could very soon be on our way to self sufficiency in the production of A-Grade level of rice. I criticized him when recently, he had blundered by approving import waivers to rice “millers” who could be just PDP contractors never seen the inside of a rice mill before. That single action has the capacity of destroying all he had set out to achieve in that sector. I commended the previous Minister of Sports for charting a deliberate course that earned us the cup ay the last African Cup of Nations tournament. He was removed from office, not because he failed to perform, but for political reasons. Now look where we found ourselves in African football affairs. But for the Minister of Aviation to have referred to me as a critic without cause is akin to hitting below the belt. What informs a servant that he could accuse his master for complaining about the quality of his services? Now I would set my eyes on the Aviation Ministry under his supervision henceforth. I would criticize him whenever I have cause to believe he has underperformed. He would be commended for good performance. Nigerian servant leaders behave as though we are under the military. They forget too often that servant leaders do have masters. Nigerians should make it a habit to remind them.

  • Truthometer

    Ok Nigerians. Stop criticizing people in our government. They are stealing our commonwealth on our behalf. Does that make you happy, Osita Chidoka?

  • David Adeniran

    Has this man ever lived outside Nigeria? Does he read the news on foreign leaders at all? Does he realise how often leaders like Obama, Cameron etc are constantly criticised! So while terrorists are killing our people, we should keep quiet? When there are reports of large scale corruption by public officials, we should keep mute? When the education system is dying, we should keep silent? When the Army refuse to provide ammunitions to the soldiers and sentence them to death for demanding for ammunition, we should keep quiet? The last time I came to Nigeria, there was a power outage for about one hour at the airport; in such an instance all the Nigerians present should celebrate their Government and never complain? A good leader will rise up to the occasion by defending himself against criticism and making amends when necessary. These are the people that will eventually lead Jonathan into destruction! I wonder where Jonathan got the set of pathetic people working with him?

  • Dayo

    “Impulse control – the ability to delay gratification in the short term for better outcomes in the future.” Is that so? Then Nigerians should be able to see through the deceiving lies of a propaganda campaign solely based a the vague idea of
    change for change’s sake, and stick with the one leader slowly but surely leading the country towards success.

  • Philex

    See this small thief. We know your story.

  • Ademola

    These elections have showed that they do so with their leaders as well. When closely examined, GEJ’s track record is pretty good (education prioritized, corruption largely fough off – ferrtilizers are one of many examples, . Amnesty international praised his fight against corruption by bringing down our index of corruption from 156 to 134 during his rule – electricity shortage tackled, shift from oil dependency to farming, Ebola free country, massive infrastructure investments – railway, roads… – and finally he is displaying a pretty good hold on the BH situation – after failing for quite a while I’ll gladly admit, partly due to lack of necessary means). And yet many claim his was a calamity. It’s the Nigerian way.

  • Ayodele Ohakim

    After all these years of colonization, dictatorships and troubled times I think most people feel like they deserve some rest. But there is no rest if you seek to achieve greater goals, because new challenges always arise and new difficulties emerge. Yesterday it was the Ebola outbreak, which was successfully contained. Today, it is Boko Haram who has proven to be a threat to the very core of our nation. Tomorrow will be the elections and potentially, fights if unwise rulers like Buhari, call for violence. In these troubled times, it is necessary to criticize, but mandatory to stand with the value of unity for our country. Only one man upholds this value today, and his name is Goodluck Jonathan.

  • Ezekiel Akpablo

    Osita Chidoka is speaking words of wisdom. While it is normal to worry and criticize, it is necessary to do so with the goal the improve things in mind. Comes the 14th of February, we need to vote for someone who has a vision for this country and is ready to implement and further economical, social and political policies for everyone. Given the great records in all these aspects that GEJ has compared to what GMB proposes and has shown in the past, I believe it is our duty to vote Jonathan President.

  • Guest

    My people, you may be surprised to hear that I don’t have mush problem with or objection to what the man has said. Many things he said have some relevance. It is a good thing that a man can reveal the content of his mind and be subject to acceptance, criticism, or rejection.
    Let me review and comment according to MY OPINION. My opinion is shaped by MY experience in life and my individuality which is something we all have in common, hence possing a great challenge.

    A) He said “Nigerians as fastidious people with a tendency to criticize their nation even when unnecessary”
    I say, you may be right about the “tendency to criticize” bit but “when unnecessary” is questionable. When would it be necessary? Why is it that they criticize in the first place before jugding whether it is necessary or not. Is it not the PREVALENT adverse conditions in the country that makes the people groan? 1. the unreliable infrastructure – roads in need of maintenance, power generation, water supply, decent public transport. 2. The failing eduation system where qualifications atained are not valued in or outside Nigeria. 3. The lack of security. This is largely due to disfunctional law enforcement where members of the agencies are untrustworthy for various reasons, hence are unreliable. In addition to the ‘usual’ problem of armed burglary, they now have to contend with the nuisance of terrorism as if the people do not have enough problems already 4. The blatant corruption of those in power and the lack of effort/success in curbing this endemic attitude. This is turning most Nigerians into selfish souls with not concern for the next man, because they witness the wholesale looting of the public funds into private accounts all over the world. These actions helps to beautify other nations while our own naturally beautiful nation is being left to decay and become inhabitable. Selfishness is wickedness. 5. They criticize because they are stuck in the country with no means to leave the country, or they are tired of living as fugitives in foreign country often in difficulties, missing their people, their national diet, and the blessing of sunshine.
    I hope I’ve made my point clear on this point. These are some of the reason Nigerians critisize and I believe they are valied reasons to critisize.

    B) He said “When two or three Nigerians are gathered, their topic is usually
    Nigeria: its missed opportunities, its poor outcomes and, particularly,
    the giant strides of other countries”

    I say they comment on giant strides of other countries because now they can ‘see’ what other countries are like. Their eyes are opened because they have visited other coutries or because they are exposed via the internet and so on. they can not be fooled much longer. They also know that the strides of those other countries didn’t come about by chance. It has been through vision, commitment, love of nation and fellow citizens, pride. Working for your nation is like marriage. You make sacrifices to make the other happy because then you will be happy. you are happy to see your children grow even though you make many sacrifices. Then you don’t look for the easy way out.

    But then again, maybe the way the Nigerian leaders are is symptomatic of the problems with the Nigerian people as a whole. Is it not prevalent in Nigeria for a man to undervalue his wife while spending all he has to decorate another woman he is not married to under oath? Just maybe all Nigerians need an attitude or a culture change.

    C) He said “despite present difficulties, Nigeria is seen as a country that holds great opportunities for her citizens with projections that its economy would continue to grow at the rate of over 6 per cent for the next 20 years.”

    I say that may be so. Nigerians have been leaving with difficulties for as long as they can remember. It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the tunnel is filled with conflicting signs and has so many twists and turns. I don’t blame Nigerians.

    Neigerians outside the country learn more about developments at home than Nigerians at home. Why is this? Is it because the governmental processes are not transparent enough? Or is it because people are too busy hunting for their daily bread with great difficulties hence have little or no time to catch up with current affairs? Or is it because progress is not commuinicated to the people effectively, relying on those with generators to access the internet and help the government to disseminate news?

    D) The Minister said that “Nigeria has great opportunities that ensure a better future for its citizens, noting that these opportunities should be harnessed by young Nigerians who should be creative and make use of any chance that comes their way, adding that the country has huge potential to be great.”

    I say I also believe Nigeria has great opportunities but how will young people harness these opportunites? What systems are in place to assist these young ones? Starting with education, what standard of education is their for them and accessible is good education to these young ones? Should we not made these things available before accusing them of not harnessing what is there for them?

    E) He said “Nigeria has many things going in its favour. We are regarded as Africa’s largest economy, with an annual growth rate of 6 to 8 per cent,”

    I say, This is true, but where is the evidence? On our roads, in our schools, hospitals, at the international airport? Do you have no shame or do you just think the people are blind?

    F) He said: although the Nigerian education system is severely criticised by her citizens, Nigerians who studied in Nigerian schools have distinguished themselves outside the country that in the United States Nigerians remain the most successful professionals among the black population.
    “The criticism of our education system and the lamentations about the so-called Nigerian Factor notwithstanding, the Nigerian Diaspora has been singled out as one of the most successful black Diasporas in the world,”

    I say, wake up sir. I worked with a colleague in the UK who studied Chemical Engineering at University of Lagos and ‘passed’. However he confessed to me that he could not defend his qualification. Students routinely pay bribes to pass exams and tests and get good grades. Lecturers are corrupt and their is nobody to check these people. This is why qualifications obtained in Nigeria carry little or no credibility outside the country and I doubt if any within the country.

    Yes we have a good and admirable heritage and beginning as children but then there is no follow up. No support to carry on with the good work that our parents have started. The authorities let everyone down. That haveing been said, the people who make up the authorities emerge from the people so there must be something wrong somewhere.

    Something needs to change and it is big.

    Is it not sad that people of leaving the country to get decent education, good health care, constant power supply, water supply, reliable public transport etc, even our leaders who have it in their power to change the country for the better. Why are we such people who take pride in looting our home to help to furnish other nations’ homes? Is this wisdom?

    Lastly on the subject of lack of security, what is new with the current situation with terrorism? Have Nigerians not put up with terrorism in the form of armed robbery for decades? Have the security forces been able to bring a handful of bandits to justice let alone more organised group of bandits? Foor for thought.
    My dear home needs a shock treatment so she can start to recover from her cronic disease.

    I hope I have not offended anyone. Just gave an idea of what I’ve been thinking over the past few years living in exile and desperate to return home.

    Lost@Sea

  • Thean Onymou

    My people, you may be surprised to hear that I don’t have much problem with or objection to what the man has said. Many things he said have some relevance. It is a good thing that a man can reveal the content of his mind and be subject
    to acceptance, criticism, or rejection.

    Let me review and comment according to MY OPINION. My opinion is shaped by MY experience in life and my individuality which is something we all have in common, hence possing a great challenge.

    A) He said “Nigerians as fastidious people with a tendency to criticize their nation even when unnecessary”

    I say, you may be right about the “tendency to criticize” bit but “when unnecessary” is questionable. When would it be necessary? Why is it that they criticize in the first place before jugding whether it is necessary or not. Is it not the PREVALENT adverse conditions in the country that makes the people groan? 1. the unreliable infrastructure – roads in need of maintenance, power generation, water supply, decent public transport. 2. The failing eduation system where qualifications atained are not valued in or outside Nigeria. 3. The lack of security. This is largely due to disfunctional law enforcement where members of the agencies are untrustworthy for various reasons, hence are unreliable. In addition to the ‘usual’ problem of armed burglary, they now have to contend with the nuisance of terrorism as if the people do not have enough problems already 4. The blatant corruption of those in power and the lack of effort/success in curbing this endemic attitude. This is turning most Nigerians into selfish souls with not concern for the next man, because they witness the wholesale looting of the public funds into private accounts all over the world. These actions helps to beautify other nations while our own naturally beautiful nation is being left to decay and become inhabitable. Selfishness is wickedness. 5. They criticize because they are stuck in the country with no means to leave the country, or they are tired of living as fugitives in foreign country often in difficulties, missing their people, their national diet, and the blessing of sunshine.

    I hope I’ve made my point clear on this point. These are some of the reason Nigerians critisize and I believe they are valied reasons to critisize.

    B) He said “When two or three Nigerians are gathered, their topic is usually Nigeria:
    its missed opportunities, its poor outcomes and, particularly, the giant strides of other countries”

    I say they comment on giant strides of other countries because now they can ‘see’ what other countries are like. Their eyes are opened because they have visited other coutries or because they are exposed via the internet and so on.
    they can not be fooled much longer. They also know that the strides of those other countries didn’t come about by chance. It has been through vision, commitment, love of nation and fellow citizens, pride. Working for your nation
    is like marriage. You make sacrifices to make the other happy because then you will be happy. you are happy to see your children grow even though you make many sacrifices. Then you don’t look for the easy way out.

    But then again, maybe the way the Nigerian leaders are is symptomatic of the problems with the Nigerian people as a whole. Is it not prevalent in Nigeria for a man to undervalue his wife while spending all he has to decorate another woman
    he is not married to under oath? Just maybe all Nigerians need an attitude or a culture change.

    C) He said “despite present difficulties, Nigeria is seen as a country that holds great opportunities for her citizens with projections that its economy would continue to grow at the rate of over 6 per cent for the next 20 years.”

    I say that may be so. Nigerians have been leaving with difficulties for as long as they can remember. It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the tunnel is filled with conflicting signs and has so many twists and turns. I don’t blame Nigerians.

    Neigerians outside the country learn more about developments at home than Nigerians at home. Why is this? Is it because the governmental processes are not transparent enough? Or is it because people are too busy hunting for their
    daily bread with great difficulties hence have little or no time to catch up with current affairs? Or is it because progress is not commuinicated to the people effectively, relying on those with generators to access the internet and help the government to disseminate news?

    D) The Minister said that “Nigeria has great opportunities that ensure a better future for its citizens, noting that these opportunities should be harnessed by young Nigerians who should be creative and make use of any chance that comes their way, adding that the country has huge potential to be great.”

    I say I also believe Nigeria has great opportunities but how will young people harness these opportunites?
    What systems are in place to assist these young ones? Starting with education, what standard of education is their for them and accessible is good education to these young ones? Should we not made these things available before accusing
    them of not harnessing what is there for them?

    E) He said “Nigeria has many things going in its favour. We are regarded as Africa’s largest economy, with an annual growth rate of 6 to 8 per cent,” I say, This is true, but where is the evidence? On our roads, in our schools,
    hospitals, at the international airport? Do you have no shame or do you just think the people are blind?

    F) He said: although the Nigerian education system is severely criticised by her citizens, Nigerians who studied in Nigerian schools have distinguished themselves outside the country that in the United States Nigerians remain the most successful professionals among the black population.

    “The criticism of our education system and the lamentations about the so-called Nigerian Factor notwithstanding, the Nigerian Diaspora has been singled out as one of the most successful black Diasporas in the world,”

    I say, wake up sir. I worked with a colleague in the UK who studied Chemical Engineering at University of Lagos and ‘passed’. However he confessed to me that he could not defend his qualification. Students routinely pay bribes
    to pass exams and tests and get good grades. Lecturers are corrupt and their is nobody to check these people. This is why qualifications obtained in Nigeria carry little or no credibility outside the country and I doubt if any within the
    country.

    Yes we have a good and admirable heritage and beginning as children but then there is no follow up. No support to carry on with the good work that our parents have started. The authorities let everyone down. That haveing been said, the people who make up the authorities emerge from the people so there must be something wrong somewhere.

    Something needs to change and it is big.

    Is it not sad that people of leaving the country to get decent education, good health care, constant power supply, water supply, reliable public transport etc, even our leaders who have it in their power to change the country for the better. Why are we such people who take pride in looting our home to help to furnish other nations’ homes? Is this wisdom?

    Lastly on the subject of lack of security, what is new with the current situation with terrorism? Have Nigerians not put up with terrorism in the form of armed robbery for decades? Have the security forces been able to bring a handful of bandits to justice let alone more organised group of bandits? Food for thought.

    My dear home needs a shock treatment so she can start to recover from her cronic disease.

    I hope I have not offended anyone. Just gave an idea of what I’ve been thinking over the past few years living in exile and desperate to return home.
    Lost@Sea