A True Nigerian
The power supply had lasted over six hours this morning and everyone noticed. “These people forgot to take our light,” Mummy said. “I just know these prolonged hours will bring a heavy bill” Daddy said.
His eyes were fixed to the Channels TV. “You should be grateful not complaining,” Aunty Beni spoke in her loud voice. Grateful for six hours of electricity? I thought to myself. “Remember we are in Nigeria,” Aunty Beni said laughing. “We are Nigerians.” She concluded.
We ARE Nigerians. Aunty Beni’s statement resounded in my ears for the better part of the day.
Who is a Nigerian? What IS Nigeria? I couldn’t help but reflect on gross injustices Nigerians have been forced to accept.
In addition to constitutional answers, 6 decades of post colonial rule has proved that being a Nigerian is more. Amongst Nigerians, we have Ajebo and Ajepako. I have nothing to say about the supposed “ajebos” as they’re meant to be the privileged of the society and don’t fit in the “real” Nigeria. These “Ajepakos” are the “real” Nigerians, the backbone of the nation.
A Nigerian is he who must ‘hustle’ his way out of poverty.
Nigerians are supposed to fear every military personnel or risk undue humiliation and extreme physical torture. Generally, a Nigerian must fear then armed forces.
A Nigerian is supposed to obtain a police report when shot, otherwise… Well.
A Nigerian knows in his heart that he may wait many years to get admission into a tertiary institution.
A Nigerian is supposed to be grateful for six hours of uninterrupted power supply.
A Nigerian is supposed to belong to a church or mosque to fit into the society.
A Nigerian is supposed to bribe the police man at the check point.
A Nigerian is supposed to read news of gross embezzlement and sigh a clichè “This is Nigeria” and return to her business.
A Nigerian only has a voice on Facebook and Twitter even then, she fears to be arrested for “Hate speech.”
A Nigerian prays that one day, he’ll be lucky to fly abroad and never come back.
A Nigerian is supposed to be good friends with mosquitoes and malaria.
A Nigerian must have it at the back of his mind that he’ll be likely shot when he goes to the polling unit to vote.
A Nigerian is supposed to put his ethnicity and religion first. How he’s treated depends on those.
A Nigerian must see paved streets as an undeserved luxury only for RICH neighborhoods.
A Nigerian must deal with the horrible international records of crimes from other Nigerians.
A Nigerian must have connections and more connections to have a job or get admitted into tertiary institutions.
A Nigerian must understand that it is normal to be sexually harassed at her place of work.
A Nigerian must accept that her country is the world’s poverty capital and poverty is the embroidery on the society’s fabric.
A Nigerian must know that his university degree is just for show. He must put it aside and hustle with a “handwork.”
A Nigerian must accept the thundering sounds and toxic fumes of generators at night.
A Nigerian must understand that bad roads are very normal.
There’s just too much about being a typical Nigerian. If you can’t suffer and smile, you’re yet to achieve the ‘status’ of being Nigerian.
A Nigerian is me, it is everyone who’s tired of the status quo. Nigerians yearn for a difference. No, not “Change,” because “change” has failed us. We want a positive difference. We want development. We desire a new nation.