We shared too much in common and were our brothers keepers. That was then. Today, we have built high walls around ourselves and show off fake accents and fake acquisitions. We work hard to belong. In the past, we worked hard to be unique.
In the past, we were driven by decency, hardwork and the universal values of kindness, charity and friendship. Today, we are in the news for all the wrong reasons at home and abroad.
We shared bread, cakes and rice at Christmas whether our neighbours were Christians or not and our Muslim brothers send us ram meat and masara and other such related delicacies. We visited each other, ate with each other and were tolerant of each other.
Today Nigerians are angrier than I have ever seen them. Name-calling, abuse that is in the depths of the gutter, language unbecoming, ethnic jingoism, religious intolerance, illicit drug abuse and other related matters. A lot of the angst led in chief by modern-day politicians, netizens and some youths.
Nigeria is a beautiful country. I lived here when it was all good and now see what is undoing us. Its amazing how many things can meld us together and how mischief makers are trying their darkest best to tear us apart. In my home we have inlaws across Nigeria, from Ebonyi to Edo and yet I am North Central. But it is Nigeria of old that Hilda managed to ignite at her Cookathon. She gave us a reason to remember….a reason to be proud of our nation.
Frontine Comedian and brother of mine, Ali Baba described Hilda’s feat as a cut above Nollywood, music and Football. According to Ali, there is a new sheriff in town, Food and it is symbolised by Hilda Bacci.
How proud all of us are because Hilda has shown us and reminded us of our heritage. Food and the power of community. Food and the power family. Food and the power of loyalty. Take that to mean the power of suppor. Look at how we all showed up.
Governor SanwoOlu of Lagos state showed her love, her own Governor Odom and the various celebrities and ordinary people. This is how we used to be. Food was the glue that bound us together. Who are we really? A resilient nation bound together by destiny.
Nigeria is the destination of all destinations….hospitality, food, music, culture…..Hilda showed us that all things Nigeria remain all things Nigeria and we just need to put in the effort. Everyone has been celebrating Hilda but please take note of her faith.
Praying in the understanding that she could not have dome this alone. Again, that is what we used to be….faith mattered in ways that cannot be explained today where fake faith bearers abound promising fakeness all around and scamming people. But to cap all of this is the letter to Hilda during the week by Brigadier General Bala Saleh(Rtd) Because I love it so much I am going to share it unedited.
“Dear Hilda, firstly, I am so proud of you. You do not just represent yourself and family, but you are an icon of the historic example of the resilience of Nigerians. I again feel proud of you because you are a representation of the silent and bigger mass demographic of Nigerian youths who believe in this country, in spite our challenges, but take pride in the fact that there is nowhere that can be better than home, and that it is home we must be to grow it.
Instead of cursing and condemning your nation like is the vogue with the vociferous minority, you chose to do the unique, the hard and worthy of such an arduous challenge to put your people and nation on the world map.
Hilda could have gone to the Uyo, AkwaIbom State (her state of origin, as is easily done these days) to make this epochal odessy – No, she stayed and did it in Lagos and prided as a Lagosian, and for which the people and government of the Lagos, including us so distant away all came out and together to support and shower her with love.
Governor Sanwolu was personally out there to lead the state in a delightfully passionate countdown. What else can be examplery at this time of our unwarranted divisiveness? Each one of us can do so or at least try. Enough of the spirit of negativity, we must make our clarion call.
While we await Guinness to make the official declaration, we own the record as confirmed because it was there for all to see. Hilda did not go the easy way of nudity, profanity, use of religion and/or ethnicity, divisive political rhetoric. No she decided of one of the most Nobel and unifying – To just Cook, and a marathon of it.
You weathered on and all girls truly Nigerian today and onward have another reference to make their reference and pride in being Nigeria. Another of my happiest days as a Nigerian! Congratulations Nigeria! Four days of a grueling task of cooking without stop. Wow!🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬. Meanwhile, I love your version of ‘Bassey’!”
Congratulations Hilda. We are truly proud of you. Thank you for teaching us how to return to the Nigeria we love. May the sun shine on all you touch…Amen May God be your anchor and grant you more grace….Amen