First, you must take this criticism constructively. I have learned that our people abhor criticism, but as an educated person, criticism should be a part of your and my existence.
Let me begin by correcting you. You said, "it has been over 10 years since apartheid". That is wrong. Nelson Mandela came out of prison in 1989. Apartheid ended in 1989. That is not 10 but 20 years ago. As you correct the South African press, you must also get your facts right.
Now, to the issue at hand. Today, South Africa is reporting negatively on Nigeria or portraying Nigeria in a bad light. Last month, BBC 2 portrayed Nigeria in a bad light. Some time ago, Aljazeera portrayed Nigeria in a bad light. Before that, CNN portrayed Nigeria in a bad light. Then Libya portrayed Nigeria in a bad light. If so many people are portraying us in a bad light, may be there is some truth to the portrayals. Why don't we for once exceed expectations so that people cannot help but see us in another light. Every international news about Nigeria is bad. Even the World Cup news about Nigeria was bad. But then, when our young women exceeded expectations, didn't the international community cheer them on? Didn't South Africans support us during the World Cup?
When so many complain about Nigeria, may be Nigeria is bad. Nigeria is bad, my brother. There is poor or no electricity supply. Is it news to you? We have very, very bad roads. Is that news to you? Our airports are bad. The so-called international airports in Nigeria can't even qualify for very local airports in some countries. Isn't that true?
Do you expect South Africans to give us the benefit of doubt? Why? You want them to be like the Nigerian press? Docile? Lazy? No investigative reporting? Copying news from the internet and reading to Nigerians. Turning a blind eye to the policemen who collect N20 every day from poor Nigerians and shooting them when they don't pay. Is that what you want?
Why don't we try for once to exceed expectations? South Africa received a lot of bad press in the months prior to the World Cup on the their level of preparedness and security. Rather than dwell on the criticisms, they worked hard to prove everyone wrong. And did they succeed? Absolutely, the World Cup in SA was marvelous, and everyone forgot the bad news about SA and enjoyed themselves. Why can't we do that?
I urge you to shine your light on Nigeria. There is too much wrong with our country, and you can't ignore them. Ask any Nigerian. There is no electricity, bad roads, no security, no water, no government, stealing government, extorting government (when they can steal from the coffers, they extort from us), no public transportation, no low income housing, no land line telephone service, no trash removal, no local government, no civil service, expensive food, old cars every where, okada for public transportation, 40 year old vehicles as buses, dead government agencies (NITEL, Nig. Airways, Nig. Railway Corp., Nig. Coal Corp., NIPOST, to name a few), incompetent government officials (from the presidency down to the local government level), virtually no legal system (slow and lazy judiciary), no elections, not even a voter's register (after 10 years of democracy) and so much more. Do you know we have the expensive government in the world? We have the best paid governors, the best paid legislators, the best paid ministers. Each governor, federal legislator, or minister takes home more money than the president of the United States!
With all these, it is amazing you have time for what South Africans think of us. You shouldn't have time for South Africans. Focus on your home. Focus on what is within our control. Focus on what WE can do to make Nigeria better.
That is my advice and my opinion.
Chukwuma Odelugo. ODELUGO & ASSOCIATES, Barristers and Solicitors. Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Zain Nigeria