By Joy Isi Bewaji
Nigeria is a very complex society, running on simplistic ideals exaggerated by faux desire for righteousness. It always amazes me how we process life:
A state gave out wheelbarrows as tools for Youth Empowerment; and there are people who think this is such a worthy gesture of kindness and care. How poor should someone be to be presented with a wheelbarrow as a means for survival by a governor in 2017? The fact that families rely on this rusty tool to survive is enough shame to any developing society. As if this wasn’t enough of a tragicomedy worthy of the Oscars, the PR situation required branding of these wheelbarrows: “Ortom for you”. It is the perfect technique to insult a people, keep them “humble”, rob them of honour, and ridicule their poverty, ensuring they remain beneath every decent means to achieve or to dream.
But I am speaking too much grammar; because the recipients of these wheelbarrows were probably elated. Now they can finally push oranges and watermelons and vegetables under the sun, across busy streets and record their profits. Does any of this sound progressive to you? The shame of branded wheelbarrows in a society that produces corrupt leaders with billions of naira stashed in homes, and dollars in all the holes of the human body. This wheelbarrow matter and many others are too demeaning to consider.
This type of behaviour resonates through our entire reality in Nigeria: NEPA restores light, we are grateful even when we pay more for electricity than we get. There are no infrastructures to support our ambitions, yet we think of Nigeria as a great nation. People go on and on about the “spirit of Nigeria”, apparently this must be an evil spirit since it blinds you from evaluating the sad and limiting resources the nation is willing to invest into your future. The educational structures are disgraceful; we are churning out half-baked graduates. We are paying tithes to pastors who own houses abroad whilst we can’t pay our rent. Cost of living has hit the roof one too many times; our roofs are off and we are drenched in the rain and scorched by the sun, but we have hope. This hope, driven by religion makes us delusional. Things will get better, you say? How? Where are the signs? Are politicians going to curb corruption so there will be bread left for the youths? How is that ever going to happen? Are we banking on their conscience to suddenly become as white as snow?
Our mumu don do, abeg!
It’s tiring to find Nigerians fighting on social media in support of APC or PDP. None of these parties has been able to structure out a plan for the development of Nigeria. Yet we continue to shed blood just to get the politicians of our choice into office, a love affair elicited by bags of rice and bottles of palm oil distributed during election period.
Our mumu don do.
We complain about bad customer service, yet we continue to patronize “bad brands”. Sometimes it is a case of little or no options. For instance, if you complain about Arik, what other options do you have to fly within Nigeria? Aren’t all the local flights the same? Are the roads any better? Are there reliable trains? Ferries? Let’s be frank, we are in a mess!
Our mumu don do.
The fact that the lower and middle class see Shoprite as an expedition of some sort every weekend or during holidays is a sad thing. There are no places to hang out with children even in Lagos – the state considered to be the most advanced and sophisticated. No picnic parks, no vibrant and colourful amusement trips, no Disney experience. All we have are cinema halls with bad audio, restaurants with regular meals, boutiques with jaw-dropping price tags.
Nothing works in Nigeria- no electricity, no good roads, no amenities, no academic structures, no jobs. It makes you want to ask yourself: “My mumu never do?”
This post was first published in Daily Independent