The Nigerian story is one that never ceases to fascinate. We are different in so many ways. Our lifestyle, our outlook to life, our resilience, our sorry socio-economic state, our lying and thieving politicians. You name it! We are a different breed of people. Even among our neighbours, we stick out like a sore thumb. If it were for good reasons for the most part, it would have been great. It would have been something to boast about. Unfortunately, most of the attributes and situations that mark us out as different aren’t exactly things to be proud of. The sudden and unfortunate death of young gospel singer, Eric Arubayi reminds us of this once again.
Muyiwa Dixon is this week’s guest blogger on Lolo’s Thoughts. He is a petroleum engineering graduate of the University of Ibadan. He loves to read, play football, and write in his leisure time. Muyiwa is an advocate of a new and progressive Nigeria.
In Nigeria, it’s commonplace to balance or justify the ills and failures of a present administration with that of the previous. For every devastating error perpetrated by the All Progressive Congress, it’s admirers and supporters find solace in making reference to one or more similar errors which had also been committed by Peoples Democratic Party during its long and debilitating tenure.
It’s something that has been playing around in my mind for a while, but became more ensconced this past week. I was part of the judging panel in a writing competition, and last Thursday, there was an event to celebrate the winners. It was a privilege and honor to see young literary geniuses in the making. Teenagers from various secondary schools in Lagos who wrote brilliant fiction stories about the menace of terrorism in the world today. Beyond the giving of prizes, there were talks to encourage the students about the numerous advantages of reading and writing, and generally having a good head on one’s shoulders.
Bright lights! Gift boxes! Hampers filled with plenty of goodies! New clothes and shoes! The well decorated Christmas trees, and not forgetting the parties! The paraphernalia and pomp and pageantry that were unmissable indicators of the Christmas season once upon a time. Christmas is here once again, and I don’t know if I’m the only one who has observed it, but it really doesn’t feel like it. In the last couple of years the usual celebrations that accompany the yuletide season have seemed forced; a trite attempt at making things happen instead of the fluidity and ease of merrymaking which naturally comes with festive periods.
To say the year 2016 has been a tough one for the average Nigerian would be a gross understatement. This year has been nothing short of brutal, and anyone who still enjoys good health and can afford at least 2 quality meals a day should be thankful that they have made it thus far. It’s also safe to say that the most common word this year has been “Recession.” Even villagers who hardly have an inkling of what city life looks like let alone keep up with its intricacies or the whims and caprices of its inhabitants now have an idea of what that dreaded word connotes. The year has also been an interesting one, and like every interesting story, it hasn’t been without the attendant heroes and villains that make any story tick.
I am often wary of cliches. For one, they remain an individual’s personal opinion on a subject matter, and as such are subjective. Secondly, there’s a tendency for people to pass them on from generation to generation without giving that extra little thought to their veracity or applicability to their personal lives. That is not to say that cliches or quotable quotes as we like to call them should be discarded. Not at all. They remain vistas of knowledge and insight for not a few people. However, they should not be swallowed hook, line and sinker as many tend to take them, rather they should induce thought and should be open to discourse and debate where necessary. The idea of not burning bridges because one never knows when one might need to use them again is one of the sayings I find debatable…maybe even false.
A young lady is bathed in acid by an unknown assailant on the streets of Lagos. Her sin – the audacity to consent to marry a man who already had a wife. It appears to be a classic case of hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The story boils down to a woman’s alleged attempt to ensure she has no competition for her husband’s heart. Ogochukwu Nwosu underestimated the threats of her married lover’s wife, and literally got burnt in the process. What has bothered me the most in all of this is the reaction of many Nigerians to the issue.
That Nigeria is currently in a recession is stale news. Everyday we are inundated with news of what government is doing or going to do to change the present fortunes of the Nigerian economy. Beyond that, the reality of the dreary situation at hand stares us in the face on a daily basis. One of the glaring ways the gloomy economic climate has affected us as a people is the recent spate of kidnappings in the country. Gone are the days when the news of the abduction an individual automatically meant that they belonged to the upper strata of the society. If someone had the misfortune of being kidnapped they had to be a deputy governor, House of Assembly member, wife, child or relative of some high profile politician. But, not anymore.
“Hillary Clinton belongs in the White House. Donald Trump belongs on my show.”- Jerry Springer
With a 5- hour time difference between Nigeria and the USA, watching the first presidential debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump live automatically meant staying up till 3 am Tuesday morning, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make even though I was quite tired and had been dozing off much earlier. I wanted to get a firsthand feel of how things would unfold, and not rely on other people’s account of events.
A full grown adult man decides to park his truck right in the middle of a busy express road, not minding the several other people who are also legitimate users of the federal road embarking on a trip through the same route, because…wait for it – he needs to say his prayers. This man could have veered off the highway, parked his truck properly to enable others continue on their journey without any unnecessary delay, but he chose to do otherwise. I think the most shocking and annoying part for me in all of these was how people around him, and even law enforcement officers found the whole episode amusing and opted to take pictures instead of calling this individual to order, and possibly getting him arrested for obstructing free flow of traffic.