In a recent article titled "Nigerian Haters and their Childish Rants", published on the Nigeria Village Square website, Mr. Chukwura Achife took upon some of his fellow citizens whom he believed to have been unconstructively critical of the government and the situation in Nigeria.

To drive home his point, Mr. Achife sited the example of his simple and hard-working grandfather whose focus and priorities were on the simple things that mattered to him; such as providing for himself and others who depend on him – amongst other ways he positively influenced his immediate surroundings. Perhaps that was the simple message that the author sought to convey in his article – or not. Whichever the case may be, Mr. Emmanuel Chukwura Achife had his own method of delivering whatever message he had to deliver.

He alleged that these critics, many of whom are based outside the country, spend most of their time criticizing without proffering solutions or joining in the effort to solve the many problems that face Nigeria. For Mr. Achife, these people will rather "wish Nigeria failed" simply "to prove their idiocy and lack of will to effect change [sic]". He identified what he called "common threads" of these Nigerians to include "their aversion to risk and hard work" and how "they would rather have someone else do their (dirty) job while they spend the days attacking and destroying the country that gave them so much and demanded nothing in return."

It is quite obvious from Mr. Achife's words that he was angry at the group of people he opined on in his article; so much so that he may have allowed too much emotion to dictate the thoughts he expressed. Points that may have been otherwise valid were unfairly sensationalized and generalized, leaving them virtually incredible. Throughout Mr. Achife's piece, not one word or sentence acknowledged or gave credence to many other critics out there who do not necessarily belong to the group he excoriated so intensely in his piece. That and other obvious oversights, mis-statements and exaggerations have called the inspiration and motive behind his article into question.

First of, there are so many Nigerians out there who juggle influencing their immediate spheres – like Mr. Achife's grand dad – with things like keeping abreast with developments at all levels of government in the country. The most vocal critics in our society are well-accomplished individuals. Where do we place, just to mention a few, people like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Gani Fawehinmi or Balarable Musa? How about the Okey Ndibes, the Reuben Abatis, or the Ayo Obes of CLO? How about the up and coming young intellects around us all?

In keeping active, these well-exposed and enlightened educated men and women identify the very many wrongs in our society. It is no exaggeration to state that in our Nigeria, there is much more to criticize than to praise!

Two, unlike the author's grandfather, not every Nigerian have the luxury of a peaceful and quiet village life. Many Nigerians reside in cities where circumstances forbid their making any contribution to the development of that local community. How easy, for example, is it for an ordinary Nigerian to engage in constructive dialogue with the thugs who have held a city like Ibadan ransom for the last few years? How easy is it for a decent man or woman to make inputs in local politics of Awka when individuals like Chris Uba had the city under their grip? Since these people cannot have a say in the way their affairs are managed, would Mr. Achife rather have them mind their private affairs while their immediate society rot away?

What is wrong in finding a platform – internal, external or wherever – to bring the plight of your local community to light when you have been denied your right to contribute [unlike the author's grand dad] at home? Haven't the best of our good ambassadors used the same methods of traveling out to safer and more profitable climes to highlight the mis-governance at home? The internationally respected Chinua Achebe recently criticized the government from his location abroad, addressing many issues that range from local politics in his home state to national affairs; does he fall within the group Mr. Chukwudi Achife called otherwise unprintable names? If not, did the author spare just one moment of his righteous tirade to pay accolade to the efforts of the respected critics out there?

Mr. Achife, said "..some of us blame the country for their own personal failings" – like it was a lie or blasphemy to blame the country for the failure of many of her citizens. Has Mr. Achife never heard of Nigerians who moved back home from their very comfortable lifestyles abroad to the promise of a great Nigeria that terribly disappointed them? Do such people not have the right to hate the system that set their personal success back by years? What does Mr. Achife say to the Nigerian who moved back home as a successful college professor, only to be forced to borrow money to pay for his airfare back to where he came from to start afresh as a Security Guard before he found employment? Was Mr. Achife too angry to take such plights into consideration before he unleashed his reckless vituperations?

A list of global industrial giants – mostly in the United States – was provided by the author to buttress his point about how hard-working citizens can build an empire from available resources in a rich nation. The question one would love to put across to Mr. Achife is, how favorable is the Nigerian business environment been for an upstart? How many average citizens, other than established and connected business tycoons and politicians like the Dangotes and the Ibrus, have been able to set up businesses like those he mentioned? Mr. Achife probably failed to note how the home governments of those industrial giants like Honda, Ford, Wal-Mart etc protect the rights of the average citizen – unlike in Nigeria where a sitting President encourages the abuse of the most basic of our rights by so-called godfathers.

I have a friend whose father owns a farming/manufacturing business in a south-western state in Nigeria. His business started from almost nothing in the 60's but through the years, he established himself as a shrewd, rich and powerful businessman; such that he became the highest private employer and taxpayer in that state. He minded his business and never got involved in politics – perhaps that was his ‘sin' against the town where he set up his approximately 40 year old business. The town got embroiled in a chieftaincy tussle that he refused to wade into. Rioters came and burnt his property in that town to the ground. The police who were meant to protect the people joined in the public humiliation of this septuagenarian by cudgeling him; beating him like a common thief based on unfounded rumors. The man has since departed that town to lick his wounds and start his business elsewhere.

That is just one example out of many. Can anyone blame someone like that old man and his children and grand children for being very critical or loathing  of a system that failed to protect him from a people's ignorance? What more can you do for your society than contribute towards its development the way this man did in terms of providing employment for hundreds of the local residents and bringing so much in desperately-needed revenue to the community? Is that the type of system or government that people like Mr. Achife choose to side with by accusing those who criticize it of "idiocy"?

The author also addressed life in "utopia" for the critics whom he branded with names like "patently lazies", "institutional panhandlers" and "stranded". I think it is heartless, very heartless, to denigrate the suffering of the people who dared the odds under extremely risky circumstances to find an ‘El-Dorado' outside Nigeria, after years of suffering at the hands of an irresponsible, conscienceless and greedy political class – it is wicked to disrespect them the way Mr. Achife did in his article. At certain points in life, people need to make decisions that are best for them before it gets too late to act. While some continue to try to break the jinx at home, others get tired of the frustrations and seek better lives elsewhere. To generalize in that reckless manner that those who have tried to make a living elsewhere are "lazies" is not only uncharitable but terribly ludicrous.

In those places where the author branded as "Utopia", one can retire on being a truck-driver, after buying a house in Florida and saving enough to last him or her for the rest of his life. No matter your income or profession, you are guaranteed a decent lifestyle as long as you do not live beyond your means. "Washing dishes in Utopia" may not be better than owning your own ‘Molue' or ‘Aba-by-Night' at home, but it definitely is an honorable means to an end! It is NOT every dishwasher's end-dream to be a bus owner; some have dreams of being a Pat Utomi, Donald Duke, Emeka Anyaoku, Sulu Gambari or Kofi Anan someday!

The author's generalizations about Nigerian critics abroad is just as bad [if not worse] than that recent ‘CNN Report' - the documentary where 40 percent of Nigerians in the US were reported to be criminals. There are young and experienced graduates and post-graduates working with Fortune 500 companies everywhere across countries like the United Kingdom, United States and Germany etc. A lot of these people are unanimous in their criticism of events back home in Nigeria, not just for criticism's sake but because there is a hell of a lot to criticize in our society for goodness sake! Many of them don't want to make the mistakes their parents' made in returning home to later disappointments and the ones who go home keep one leg in and the other out for the same obvious reasons.

It is painful to read the simplistic characterizations of Nigerians abroad by Mr. Achife. One is left to wonder what type of Nigerians he associates with. Does he have any respectable friend abroad at all? How will these friends feel reading through his simplistic and jaundiced generalizations of Nigerians abroad as "lazies, institutional panhandlers and stranded" – especially when he never even bothered to give any dues to the many honorable critics out there?

When he talks of lazies, does he give a thought to young, brilliant Nigerians in Microsoft, EMC, Google, Entergy, Boeing, Rathyeon, Merck, Ford, Arthur Andersen, Goldman Sachs etc? When he talks about "institutional panhandlers", does he remember institutional giants like Okey Ndibe, Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe who are respected in colleges everywhere – not to mention many other respected intellects across the world who were frustrated out of service by a corrupt system in Nigeria and had no choice than to find other places where their intellect is valued and respected?  When Mr. Achife mentions the "stranded", does he take a moment out for people like, Hafsat Abiola, a Harvard University product, who stayed abroad out of harms way after she and her siblings were orphaned due to her home government's reckless irresponsibility?

When Achife talks about "ethnic warriors", does he take a moment to address the years and years that successive governments and political leaders have exploited the gift of our ethnic diversity for their selfish agenda, such that the average Nigerian is much more conscious of his ethnic difference than the ‘Nigerianess' he shares with other Nigerians? Did he even for a minute think about that???

Mr. Emmanuel Chukwura Achife stands guilty of the very things he finds wrong in the people he criticized in his article. He stands guilty of unfair and extremely biased criticism and generalizations of Nigerian critics abroad. He failed the test of balanced assessment and interpretation of the situation at home vis-à-vis the people's frustration. If his grand-father had the good fortune of making enough to live a peaceful and successful life in a village in Enugu, he should be simply grateful for the positive influence on his life. It is however no carte-blanche for him to hate on or reprobate those whose negative personal experiences left indelible marks in their lives. Neither does it allow him to lump-up the best of Nigerians in diaspora in one ridicilous garb like he did.

The challenge is more on the types of Mr. Achife, who spend more energy defending the indefensible mismanagement and political chicanery and brigandry at home, to stand on the side of truth and be fair before giving vent to uncivil outbursts. And here is the bigger challenge, when Mr. Achife has established his own corporation without hooking up with Transcorp and the the likes, or whetting any government official's appetite, only then can anyone take him serious as a challenger. Be the pioneer; be exemplary. Hopefully you are one already.

Mr. Achife is a Nigerian like the rest of us Nigerians; no one can claim to be more Nigerian than another Nigerian. We all desire a great Nigeria. So he should vent his rage at a system that made his fellow Nigerians so cynical, critical and doubtful - not at Nigerians. The very reasons why they are so cynical exist to date – and some reasons have even worsened; so their criticism and skepticism is justified. Mr. Achife should tone down his rhetoric when next he chooses to inspire his fellow-citizens to be constructive in their criticisms. It is better to influence someone by appealing to their good senses than lashing out at them in that condescending holier-than-thou manner. That is good advice for Mr. Achife and ‘we' hope he will take it; otherwise ‘we' will be forced to conclude he belongs to that class of people who suffer from Blind Patriotism.