Unnigerianizing my Nigerianness (Part 1)

Apologies to the owners, global users comprising students and scholars of the English lexicon and grammar for coining the words in the Nigerian way: unnigerianising and nigerianness. This is borne out of the fact that some Nigerians including my humble self can no longer bear and contain the obvious realities of the Nigerian situation; the ‘unadulterated’ exposition of the day-to-day activities and interaction among Nigerian people; the re-occurring viciousness that has refused to stop in our personal and public life; the discrepancy between our ‘performing’ economy on paper and how it is working to make people poorer and disheartened; the strengthening of the idea of an occult economy to which our youth are subscribing and believing; the shame and sham of our politics; the unabated number of unpatriotic countrymen and women whose number keeps growing every day; the sakamanjes – or what I can say the deceptions or half-truths of those in authority. This, I have to stop being taciturn about. And because I want to forcibly acknowledge that — even as am in my early 30s — Nigeria’s ship of hope has gone far ahead, at least something praiseworthy should be left for the upcoming generations. I am a Nigerian. I was born, raised and got educated here but surely, I would no longer be associated with the above-mentioned unsavory descriptions of being a Nigerian. I don’t want my innocent mind to be besmirched by the dubious deeds and actions of some Nigerians.

I have always believed Nigerians are a special breed of human creatures made by the Almighty Creator. We are meek and at the same time resilient. Our religiousness and strict compliance to religious tenets and beliefs which do not give room for disrespect to leadership makes it a religious taboo to question our leaders. So we are not used to demanding too much from our leaders, yet our leaders don’t know this. Nigerian people are not expected to show religious extremism because we live in a secular country. But trust me, our holier than thou mentality which makes our country’s Pastors believe they are not mates on spiritual level with the Pharisees in Jerusalem or that self-judgment which makes our Islamic preachers to bear four different titles when the Chief Imam of Saudi Arabia does not have any other title apart from a Sheik. This is what my Nigeria truly is… This is what I am finding difficult to contend with. This is my new Nigeria.

The masses are no longer their brother’s keepers because we are increasingly conscious of the inability of the leaders to bring succor to our daily pain and to put smiles on our ageing faces. As we are losing faith in the competence of the leadership, we have now resorted to what animals do to fellow animal i.e predator-prey relationships. So in trying to make both ends meet, we mistreat and even become malign to other fellow Nigerians without any form of remorse. We do not bring in sincerity into all business transactions entered with one another. All we are after is how to satisfy our stomach needs. How we can impress and oppress our fellow countrymen and women. This is most evident in Lagos. Traders and commercial transport operators have become pains in the neck of their customers, in that we are now at the mercies of this set of business men. When you plan going to the market, prepare your mindset that you might be short-changed or worse still be duped right under your nose and they do this with audacity. This, I believe is not a trend in other normal societies. This is what Nigeria has become and this is what I am indebted to report.

The other day the Nigerian super eagles played their last qualifiers against Lesotho was another testimony of the way Nigerians – both old and young —- are so unfortunate to have been born here. As we had gathered at the usual viewing center to watch the match, the older ones among us who ages would be between 60 and 70 were left with astonishment. Another chance for the elderly ones had come to show how patriotic they still were to the country despite the fact that their respective severance packages have never stopped been paid so infrequently. They had come with great expectation to be happy but they left with their faces down. The owner of the center had just come with a big bang…. “I no fit show match Nigerian match today o,” Here came a long silence, the kind that can be likened to a secluded room being occupied by zombies. What an affront! Before we could even stress our buka cavity to ask why the sudden change, he had already cut in. “No channel is showing our match”—this was interjected by the owner of the center. In this period that Nigerians are becoming too ethnocentric in their dealings and relationships, the only unifying event in the face of differing tongue and color is football. This, I am confidently sure is not obtainable in other smaller African countries like Rwanda. This is not fair for my well-being and mind. This, I cannot pretend I am unaware of. This is how my country is killing me softly.

To be continued……………….

Kolawole Ganiyu

Kola is an Economics graduate of University of Ibadan. He derives pleasure in fictional writings and contemporary articles arising from keen observation of events - political and socio-cultural.

549 thoughts on “Unnigerianizing my Nigerianness (Part 1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *