I am shocked that I am writing this article about Nigeria, which achieved independence from British rule 50 years ago. I am sure most of the readers who read my articles will wonder, “What has happened to Chika Onyeani? Why is he not taking his scalpel in dissecting all the problems afflicting Nigeria in the last 50 years or the problems that Nigeria would be facing in the next 50 years?”

It is the same question I am normally asked about how I could criticize my continent–Africa–yet form a foundation–the Celebrate Africa Foundation–to celebrate the continent. It is the mistake that people make in thinking that both issues are exclusive. In fact, on the contrary, it is the great love you have for your continent or country that impels you to offer constructive analysis of the situation in both areas.

On this occasion, I will leave the criticism to others. And a survey of the world wide web has turned up hundreds of articles and quotations of prominent Nigerians who have looked at the last 50 years of “independence” and are rightly pessimistic about the future of Nigeria.

In a September 24 BBC News online article entitled “Nigeria at 50: ‘Nothing to celebrate’, about preparations being made for celebrating the epoch mark in the life of a country, Robin Denselow started the first paragraph of his article with “Nigeria is about to mark 50 years of independence from Britain with lavish festivities, parades and banquets. But it will be a bittersweet celebration.”

Dunselow went on to write, “Nigeria has survived civil war and more than 30 years of military rule to become a democracy–with massive wealth to spend as the largest oil producer in Africa. But after 50 years of independence, many Nigerians are questioning whether there is really anything to celebrate.”

Some of those Dunselow interviewed for his article included African literary icon Chinua Achebe; Adebola Williams, identified as coordinator of a young people’s pressure group, Enough is Enough; and the managing director of a massive wire engineering company, George Onafowokan.

And how could you talk about Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary without speaking with gadfly journalist Reuben Abati? Of course, Denselow did talk with Abati, who he quoted as saying, “The biggest problem that Nigeria has had in 50 years of independence is corruption. Close to about $40 billion (25.4bn) has been stolen.

“Can you imagine what could have been achieved with that money, in a country where the school system has collapsed, the roads are pot-holed and there is no regular electricity?

“The biggest threat to entrepreneurship in Nigeria would seem to be power supply. So much money has been devoted to maintenance over the years–so what has happened to all that money?”

Definitely, until the sun starts rising from the West and starts setting to the East, we can never finish enumerating Nigeria’s problems. To me, it seems like yesterday when preparations were being made in Lagos to welcome the new nation as an independent country. And in the 50 years since then, I’ve watched with amazement and appreciation the part that Nigeria has played as the super power in Africa, whether it is being the front leader in fighting the apartheid regime, in sending troops around the continent to quell fighting in different areas or in challenging world powers about respecting the continent. There is no doubt that there is a hatred of Nigerians by other Africans, but it is the greater pride other Africans feel about Nigerians that can never be argued.

Last year, at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., I was having lunch with two Kenyans, Robert Okello and Timothy Onyango. We were having a discussion about how different Africans confront the white man/woman.

And I told them the story of Keith Richburg, who was the bureau chief of the Washington Post in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. In his book, “Out of America: a Black Man Confronts Africa,” Richburg told a story of how he knew he would hate Africa before even going there, but part of his anger was that at one time at a super market in Nairobi, Kenyans had lined up to pay for their purchases, but a white lady just strode to the front of the line and nobody challenged her. He became indignant and went and confronted the lady to tell her where the line ended and she should go to the back. “Oh, I didn’t know you were not Kenyan,” he quoted the lady as saying.

Both individuals, who had been to Nigeria, agreed that the white woman would never have dared do such a thing in Nigeria, as Nigerians would have roundly abused her for insulting them. They admired the Nigerian character of not yielding to the white man or woman.

In my visits across Africa, I am always amazed how many highly educated Africans want to go to Nigeria. There is something about the Nigerian character that they love very much, and most times, I wonder if these individuals talking about the same country that I come from.

In my upcoming comprehensive article, “How Nollywood Has Irrevocably and Positively Changed Perception of Africa Throughout the World,” I look at an industry started by a ragtag group of traders that has generated almost $500 million in revenue for Nigeria, thereby becoming the third largest film industry in the world. The influence the movies from Nigeria has created throughout the world is quite immeasurable in terms of how Africa and Africans are now viewed by others.

A few months ago, with high-class individuals in attendance in our home, the movie, “Widow” was shown. The impact on these ladies was very startling. Whether it is in Africa, in America, in Europe, in the Caribbean or even in South America, Africa is seen in a different lens because of how Nollywood has portrayed and brought the richness of Africa to the world, just as the image of Africa had been defiled by Hollywood. Gone are the days of Tarzan, with his leaf-attired African and a monkey, being paraded on the screen to the shame of Africans in the diaspora, as now through the Nollywood lens, they see a different people.

As a member of the fourth estate, I can categorically state that I am very proud of the fierce role that the Nigerian media has played in defending the freedom of speech of Nigerians. Even, through the years of repressive and dictatorial military rule, the Nigerian press fought fervently for the right of Nigerians to know what is happening in their country. Even with the murders of vanguard journalists like Dele Giwa and others, the imprisonment by state securities of others and the latest kidnappings of journalists, the Nigerian media has maintained of forward movement. Yes, one of the soldiers might be down, but another would take his place. The tip of bayonet, the approach of the on-rushing ammunition or the parcel bomb have never deterred them. Just as with Nollywood, the Nigerian media can pound its chest and roar with great cheer about what they have done in the last 50 years and what they are going to do in the next.

Every time you look around, the world is recognizing a Nigerian for one thing or another. Nigerians are excelling everywhere in the diaspora. We have the great literary icons in Chinua Achebe, whose book “Things Fall Apart” has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and who just won $300,000 for his “unprecedented impact on literature” and Wole Soyinka, the winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature. Uwem Akpan is the only African who has a book, “Say You’re One of Them,” that has been featured on Oprah. Then you have the young turks like Chimamanda Adichie and Okonjo-Iweala, who are winning prizes left and right.

Here in America, most hospitals would close without the thousands of Nigerian physicians at those institutions. Nigerian sportsmen and women are recognized the world over in their respective professions, garnering lots of money as well as acclaim.

On October 1, we looked at Nigeria at 50 with nostalgia and at our fallen heroes–the great “Zik of Africa,” Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; the “Golden Voice of Africa” and first Nigerian prime minister, Tafawa Balewa; the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo; the great Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello’ the great Dr. Michael Okpara; and the great Chief Dennis Osadebay.

We can look back at this time last year and how the debate was all about the disintegration of Nigeria due to the continual absence of the captain of the state. But this year, there is a new polity, represented by a man called “Goodluck” Jonathan, whose side is graced by a woman called “Patience” Jonathan. In Nigeria’s 47 years of independence, it had never been ruled by an individual who finished a college degree before becoming head of state, until the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. But now, we have a president who not only has a doctorate, but even announced his candidacy on the social network Facebook, a first in Africa.

Folks, well I believe that is progress. And maybe, just maybe, with “Patience,” the “Goodluck” will shine on Nigeria in the next 50 years.

Chika A. Onyeani is acclaimed author of the internationally acclaimed, No.-1 bestselling book “Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success–A Spider Web Doctrine,” the blockbuster novel “The Broederbond Conspiracy” (aka The Black James Bond), and the first in a series of African folk tales for children, “ODUM: The Lion.” He is the publisher/editor in chief of the award-winning African Sun Times, acclaimed by the African Union as champion of the African agenda in America. He is a well-known consultant on African issues and has traveled to many African countries on paid speaking engagements on the economic empowerment of Black people.