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Hiya! Just a quick intro :) I lived in Nigeria for more than half of my life (so far) before moving to England and I have seen the best and the worst of both worlds. I was greatly inspired by the #OccupyNigeria protests and this blog is my way of #occupying. A lot of us compare African countries to the Western countries and I will mainly be talking about the positive things that I have observed and learnt in my few years of living here. Payme’s 2Cents is for all who dare to dream to see changes in their lifetime. It is for those who dream to see environments where 'helping' thrives. I will be giving my2cents worth on how we can work towards getting things to change for better. It would be great to know your opinions, so please leave comments. Remember to keep sharing posts that you enjoy. Follow @payme_my2cents. Thanks a lot for visiting!!! Enjoy my2cents :).

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Faux Naija!

“Reality denied comes back to haunt.” Philip K. Dick.

One of my favourite words is ‘beautiful’. Proves I am Nigerian! Gosh we love beautiful and big things – gigantic houses and cars, dresses, shoes etc. Even when unaffordable, taking out a cooperative loan is not a hard thing for most. The need to have everything picture perfect has now resulted in what I call ‘under the carpet’ syndrome.
We do not mind living in denial as long as our issues can perfectly fit under the carpet. We hide the mentally challenged relatives in the boys’ quarters, hide the students whose parents cannot afford socks and books at the back of the classroom during inspection, hide poor citizens by destroying their shops and houses and we hide the suffering masses in gigantic places of worship.
Blatant hypocrisy!

Usually, we can have a field day ridiculing PHCN for not ‘bringing’ light for the past three days, but God bless the non-Nigerian soul who dares to abuse ‘our’ PHCN! There is a Yoruba adage that says ‘bami na omo mi, ko de nu olomo’ which literally means ‘beat (discipline) my kid for me, is not a sincere request’. We like to do the beating ourselves, because we get so embarrassed about washing our dirty linens in public. Why not wash them in public if it will bring solutions? Are we not being publicly humiliated by our leaders on daily basis?
Let’s picture this - Kunle is the sole breadwinner of his family, his wife is involuntarily unemployed and he cannot afford to send all of his children to school when they can barely feed. His difficulty with feeding and maintaining his family has nothing to do with being poorly paid though, he is extremely well paid. However, Kunle has a habit - he enjoys his toys and gadgets, so whenever he gets paid, he either gets a new car or the latest iPad. Kunle can also be very generous! You know what he does when he’s feeling generous? He shares his money with his family by buying new furniture and repainting the house. You also think Kunle must be crazy? This is what Nigeria does to its people! What is there to hide?
This brings me to the on-going operation ‘clean Nigeria’. When people get their homes or stalls destroyed, what choices do they have other than moving to other ‘illegal’ sites? I personally do not care about how beautiful some places look when behind those images, there are starving families with uneducated children. Nigeria is a prosperous country but individual citizens still have to pay for everything from health to education. There are no general social schemes to relieve hardships. If majority of Nigerian citizens were provided with means of earning their living, would most not stick with the rules? Why do we allow our government to put the cart before the horse?
Hate it or accept it, 61% of us live in poverty, there are children out of education, mental illnesses exist, unemployment is rife, security is almost non-existent, citizens feel uncared for and nurse deep resentments. For Nigeria to have a positive image, we should work earnestly towards fixing the issues and not just sit back and encourage unnecessary cover-ups.
The officials who used millions to open a Facebook account, the state governor who bought an at worst ‘comfortable’ celebrity a car, the Director General who ‘fed’ daily with #850,000 – these are the kinds of people we should be getting rid of and not our brothers and sisters who are struggling to survive. People who acquire their wealth through corrupt practices or live above their means have NOTHING to be proud of and should not be hero-worshipped. Enough of the ‘buje budanu’ idolatry!
We need to get our priorities right. We have been oppressed for so long that we jump at the sight of supposedly beautiful places and things. Why should we forget about the beauty of humanity?

Share with as many as you can please.


webround said...

This is not synonymous with Nigeria. In general, nobody likes to wash their dirty linen in public.

Pls, which report or statistic says 61% of Nigerians live in poverty?

One day, I happened to be somewhere when NEPA struck - the normal abuse was rained on NEPA. Then the owner of the house came back and when he discovered there was no light, he asked 'Has anybody called NEPA?' Everybody was like ‘call NEPA for what?’ His reply was – Sometimes power goes off because of a fault or a fuse tripping. NEPA will not know unless someone reports to them. The man actually picked up the phone and called NEPA office and the light was restored within 30 minutes. From that day onwards unless I know that NEPA is deliberately doing load shedding (which I agree is bad), if there is no light for more than an hour or so, I either call NEPA or go to their office. Sometimes they’ve told me there’s nothing they can do, other times they’ve actually come and fixed the problem. Several times, they tell me – you have to pay for out transport oh (agreed this is not right) but after I pay the Okada man, they come with me to the transformer which is serving my area and fix the problem. How many people actually know to call NEPA when the light goes off? Note that I’m not defending the inefficiencies in NEPA but the truth is that it is possible that light could have been restored if NEPA had been made aware that there was a problem.

My summary is this - things are bad/terrible in Nigeria but sometimes I think we use our mouth to push ourselves down further. While we work and push towards resolving issues in Nigeria, we should also not ascribe everything negative under the sun as being possible only in Nigeria. India and Nigeria have the same infrastructural challenges and issues with corruption (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-08/indias-jailbirds-win-elections) but I’m still trying to figure out why India has nuclear weapons and is part of BRIC whilst Nigeria is not

Payme said...

Thanks for reading and dropping your comment. I would like to remind you again that this is a blog for Nigerians and a blog about Nigeria. Not India, America or anywhere else. Take time to read about the inspiration behind the blog in the 'About me' section.

Anyone that thinks a particular situation only happens to a particular group of people is narrow-minded. I am not. It would do you a lot of good to read articles within context.

The statistics is from the UN Report released this year. Thanks again.

webround said...

Never said you were narrow minded. I agreed with the inefficiencies you identified, I only added another point which is that we also (myself included) tend to knock ourselves. it's like the adage that says 'we are own worst critics'. You can disagree with. That doesn't mean that I am reading your articles out of context or that I think you are narrow-minded.

My point about India - it was an open question which I'm honestly curious about. I would really like to know why Nigeria and India have so much related challenges but India is far ahead of us

Payme said...

I get that. Spoke about context as you have asked questions about focusing on 'Nigeria' before in other posts. Nigeria will not grow till people in positions of authority learn to handle their responsibilities. Hoping we get there soon...