Nigeria’s Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has said that Nigerians must tell their own stories and “talk up” the country as part of their contributions to nation-building.
Osinbajo, made the statement on Friday evening, during the launch of a book titled, “The Memory of Seasons,” written by Arakaino Umukoro, a Nigerian journalist, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, in Abuja.
While emphasising the importance of storytelling, the Vice-President stated that stories told by others were often with agendas, and urged Nigerians not to speak ill of the country.
He added that every citizen belonged to “the Nigerian side”, and that Nigerians must tell stories of their dreams, aspirations, and hopes.
He said, “The stories of nations written by others focus on their own agendas. The negatives of course sell much faster. We must tell our own stories. I attend a lot of conferences and I have never seen a conference where anyone is speaking ill of their country or running down their country.
“When we get home we can criticise ourselves, but we must talk up our country. We belong to one side, and that side is the Nigerian side. We must make sure that in every way we can, we give the very best impression of our country.
“Our country is not its politicians, it’s not its religious leaders, it is you and I. Our country cannot be defined by any group of people or by any political party. Our stories must be stories of our aspirations, dreams and hopes because we have the talents and resources and are already on that journey.”
Speaking during a panel session on the theme “Conversations on Nigeria’s Unity in diversity: Challenges, opportunities”, Special Assistant on Digital and New Media to the President, Tolu Ogunlesi, said there must be a focus on narratives being passed around regarding the country.
He added that these narratives, must “show that the things that unite us are more than the things that divide us”.