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World Happiness Report: How Nigerians moved from world’s happiest people to angry nation

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About 10 years ago, Nigerians were ranked some of the happiest people in the world by the World Happiness Report (WHR), which rates countries by their happiness ratio.

In a 2003 survey carried out by the WHR, Nigerians were the 6th happiest people in Africa and the 95th happiest in the world.

The World Values Survey (WVS) of that year also reported that some of the happiest people in the world lived in Nigeria, while three years later, another study reported that Nigeria had beaten more than 65 countries to claim the top spot.

By 2012, a poll conducted by Gallup World Poll, a global research team that tracks human development worldwide, revealed that Nigerians were the world’s most optimistic people with 88 percent of respondents being very optimistic about their future.

Fast forward to 2022, the story has changed drastically as “Nigerians are no longer smiling,” to borrow the street parlance often heard in many Nigerian cities.

The signs are all there: stress, bad economy, high cost of living, bad governance, crime, long faces brought about by years of suffering, which are daily etched on the faces of many Nigerians.

But how did Nigeria go from being the country with the happiest people in the world to a nation full of anger and frustration?

In the latest World Happiness Index report released on March 19, Nigeria fell to a dismal 118 position, below countries like Libya which, surprisingly, is the number one ranked African country on the log.

Countries like South Africa at 91, Gambia, 93, Algeria, 96, Liberia, 97, Congo, 99, Morocco, 100, Mozambique, 101, and Cameroon, 102, have shunted Nigeria down the log as the  nation’s long history of being happy has faded with the increasing poverty in the land and the resultant increasing wave of insecurity.

The World Happiness Report, now in its 10th year, is based on people’s own assessment of their happiness, as well as economic and social data. It assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average of data over a three-year period.

Only war-torn and traumatized countries like Afghanistan, Venezuela and Lebanon had worse ratings than Nigeria in the 2022 World Happiness Index, which a testament to the fact that Nigerians have become disillusioned with life and are moving day-by-day like automated machines.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network also hinged its happiness index on a lot of factors which, sadly, Nigeria as a country has failed to live up to.

The indicators include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption, and Nigeria is far removed from these indicators.

The country sure has a long way to meet up with countries like Finland, Denmark and Sweden which are the top three in the happy people rankings in the world.

Here are the best ranked African countries on the World Happiness Index out of 146 surveyed countries on the continent.

  1. Mauritius
  2. Libya
  3. Ivory Coast
  4. South Africa
  5. The Gambia
  6. Algeria
  7. Liberia
  8. The Congo
  9. Morocco
  10. Mozambique

Culture

Repentant Germany signs accord to return stolen Nigerian artifacts, Benin Bronzes

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Germany and Nigeria have signed a memorandum of understanding for the return of centuries-old sculptures known as the Benin Bronzes that were taken from Africa in the 19th century.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Culture Minister Claudia Roth, as well as Nigeria’s Culture Minister Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zubairo Dada.

The German Foreign Minister admitted “it was wrong to take the bronzes; it was wrong to keep them for 120 years.”

Two pieces of artifacts, a head of a king and a relief slab depicting a king with four attendants were handed over to commemorate the return of the pieces.

 

“This is just the beginning of more than 1,000 pieces from the Kingdom of Benin that are still in German museums, and they all belong to the people of Nigeria,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said. “It was wrong to take the bronzes; it was wrong to keep them for 120 years.”

 

The bronzes “are some of Africa’s greatest treasures, but they are also telling the story of colonial violence,” Baerbock said.

African arts litter many museums in Europe and North America. Some of the countries have sought to resolve ownership disputes over objects looted during colonial times.

One of such museums, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, an authority that oversees many of Berlin’s museums, announced last year that it was beginning formal negotiations on returning pieces that are in its collection.

According to washingtonposthundreds of African artifacts were sold to collections such as the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, which has one of the world’s largest groups of historical objects from the Kingdom of Benin, estimated to include about 530 items, including 440 bronzes. Many of them date from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

Historyextra reports that Benin Bronzes are a collection of more than 3,000 figures and other decorative pieces looted by the British in 1897. The artifacts are housed in at least 161 public and private collections scattered around the world.

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Culture

First ever African Fashion exhibition debuts in the UK Saturday

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The first ever African Fashion exhibition which has been touted to be UK’s most extensive exhibition of African fashion artistry is set to debut in London on Saturday, July 2, according to the show organisers.

The epoch making African Fashion event which is aimed at showcasing designers from the black continent, as well as exoose Africa’s diverse heritage and cultures, which will open at London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, is also the country’s first exhibition dedicated to the medium.

Apart from the fashion show, there will also be an exhibition are African objects, sketches, photos and film from across the continent, starting from the African liberation years in the 1950s to 1980s to up-and-coming contemporary designers, according to the event organizers.

The project curator, Elisabeth Murray, in a statement, said the scene is set with a section on “African Cultural Renaissance”, highlighting protest posters and literature from independence movements that developed in conjunction with fashion.

“The Vanguard is the central attraction, displaying iconic works by well-known African designers including Niger’s Alphadi, Nigeria’s Shade Thomas-Fahm and Kofi Ansah of Ghana.

“Over 250 objects are on display for the African Fashion exhibition, with approximately half of these drawn from the museum’s collection, including 70 new acquisitions.

“Many of the garments on show are from the personal archives of a selection of iconic mid-twentieth century African designers with one of the highlight being the centre-piece made by Moroccan fashion designer Artsi Ifrach, called “A Dialogue Between Cultures” which was Inspired by the British trench coat and headscarf,” Murray said.

“The conversations and collaborations that have shaped the making of the Africa Fashion exhibition are a testbed for new equitable ways of working together that allow us to imagine and call into being the V&A of the future,” she added.

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