These days, I’m getting very angry. Why? coz I really don’t know how else to explain what the exact problem Nigeria has to foreigners I come across. Today, I explain “A”, and tomorrow, “B, C, D” is on CNN; and then they(my foreign friends) come back to ask me for the BCD update on Nigeria. I am not a journalist, I am not a news ancor, but this idea of trying to make all the bullshit going on in Nigeria look good with a couple of words is just burdensome.
Just imagine you meet someone for the first time and after exchanging pleasantries, he asks where you come from.
He/She goes: “ow ok, really”. Some minutes later, he/she decides to abandon your original discussion and asks: “please, if you don’t mind, can you just tell me what exactly is the problem in Nigeria”?
I usually start with a smile and ask: “ok, what exactly have you heard about Nigeria”? I use this question to bring out the barrage of adjectives from my listeners such as: corruption, terrorism, poverty, extra-judicial killings, religious crisis, we know the rest, etc.
The truth is that on no occasion have I completely explained / outlined the problems and sub-problems and sub-sub problems in each of the above / more categories – before I had to end the discussion because either I or the other party had to take a leave. I have so many agreed “to be continued later discussions” which presently, I have forgotten where we last concluded. Could anyone totally explain what is wrong with Nigeria? How I wish there was a website with detailed explanations and analysis of Nigerias woes, which I could just refer these JJCs to; or perhaps have a ready made PDF document which I could give to all to read at their convinience.
Is this the way they ask Americans what the problem in America is? Does America even has any problems? With illegal immigrants flocking in from all angles, God must have a residence in America for people to just be attracted to Yankee.
I said I’m angry. Yes. Im angry because of the stigma that Nigeria’s leaders create through their political actions and inactions, thus making it difficult for the rest of us to have a smooth social sail without having to explain why this and that is happening in Nigeria.
Two days ago, I adopted a new strategy: I told my listener point blank that NIGERIANS ARE BAD PEOPLE. She was shocked at what I said and asked to confirm if what she heard was right. I confirmed it. So she looks left and right, frowns and smiles and asks me “why did you say that”. So I replied: “since you have heard about Nigeria in so many negative ways, Nigerians then must be bad people”. She thought I was accusing her and tried to apologize – and say that she didn’t mean to imply anything; but I explained to her that I was cool with her questions, and that I was the one that said Nigerians are bad people, not her.
Then she replied: “but I don’t think you are a bad person, I mean, I personally don’t think so”. She continued to explain herself that I was the 2nd Nigerian she would befriend and that after observing me from a distance and gathering some information, she wondered how could there be so much bad things said about Nigeria and yet she would meet “kind hearted” Nigerians like the first Nigerian lady and myself.
I told her I was flattered with the “kind hearted” part of her statement, but her complements were most welcome. A 20-minute talk followed, no need to bore you with the details. I tried explaining to her that the gravity of issues as published on the internet is not always true, but that I don’t mean to say we(Nigeria) have no problems. I also explained to her that every Nation has its peculiarities and the challenges Nigeria is facing nowadays are the results of neglected problems swept under the carpet by past leaders and followers. Thus, what someone else affects the next generation negatively, and on and on. After our talk, I asked her if she understood why I said that Nigerians are bad people? She said she understood what I meant and that in fact, every Nation of the world has the same set of problems that another has, but in different ways.
I rested my case!