That is, until I heard the news about the Nigerian terrorist. Until that Boxing Day, I never thought I would hear of a Nigeria attempting a suicide bombing... ever. In fact, for many hours, I was at a gathering of friends and we were all speculating that perhaps the guy was not even a real Nigerian, and was just an imposter posing with a Nigerian passport. Until CNN, Sky News and the BBC released (and keep releasing) further details of who he is and the stories surrounding how he became a terror suspect. I have read countless blogs, articles and commentaries about the story and all the angles, even some wild, crazy speculations. All I can say is, the guy did Nigeria as a nation and all Nigerians no favours at all. It's hard enough trying to shake off the negative images we already have as fraudsters, a corrupt nation, a failed state, etc now we have to deal with the added 'terrorist' tag. I can just imagine how much more difficult it will be for ordinary, decent, honest and hardworking Nigerians to get a visa, or travel around the world. I know how I feel every time I travel around Europe and my passport is given extra attention at immigration desks, and I am subjected to extra scrutiny. This latest incident will only make it worse. Sigh.
So what can I do? As one person, I can only continue to uphold Nigeria's name by showing the rest of the world that one individual's actions cannot and should not define who the rest of us are, as a nation. I will continue to proudly declare that I am a Nigerian, and no, I am not fraudulent, neither do I have any intentions of blowing up airplanes.
Moving on, I am thankful to be alive to see 2009 coming to an end. It really did fly by so quickly! Thankfully, I'm ending the year with many many many reasons to be grateful to God. I've grown older and wiser, learnt many lessons, received tangible and intangible blessings, made new friends, travelled to new places, enjoyed some new experiences and fulfilled some dreams. Yes, it's been a wonderful year.
I'm looking forward to 2010, it looks like it's going to be a very interesting year. Here is wishing everyone a wonderful year 2010! May we spend the year in perfect health, may we move many steps forward in achieving our dreams and may we all be far better people in 2010 than we've ever been. Happy New Year in advance!