Don’t Envy the success, envy struggle those words sink into me every day in my lecture hall someone thought it wise to write in on the wall just above the white board, so try, you can’t miss it. Nothing best describes the Nigerian hustle like the word - THE HUSTLE – it’s our respect for hard work and pursuit of excellence. We are everywhere from the hottest desert to striving in the coldest region in the world. Our culture of greatness imbibed in all both big and small.
Despite our culture of greatness money has eroded our values, our souls, our principles.
I would start with us women, if we say a country is bad it then says a lot about the quality of women it has. I can’t emphasize the need for quality women enough, women with superior thought process. It is not poverty, corruption or lack of education all the time, every country has its fair share; you value your children but don’t know where they are, the friends they keep, their sexuality or what they do for money vis-à-vis the new tab, shoes and blackberry phones. ‘You value your home’, but every day it is war thorn, your kids hear you policing your spouse, arguing with your spouse and yelling ‘Go and do what your mates are doing for dough!” Every day we women are pushing our men into corruption, our children to materialism and our society to poverty of the mind. Your children are as good as you make them. Your family is as good for the society as you make them. If the family is the smallest unity of the society, ultimately the goodness or otherwise of a society is how ‘we’ women make it.
If we can turn down money to uphold our belief, or turn down awards or any forms of recognition for what we believe or because you believe you don’t deserve it, we would achieve such growth and success because the things we sacrifice tell a lot about our values, because We have designed our lives to enjoy the fruits of other people’s labor while they are ripe.
We are a people more particular about money than even our health. More than 10 years ago my mother closed-down her shop in Oke-Arin because she didn’t have the conscience to erase and reprint expiry date as others did……….. Fast forward 10 years after most imported and canned foods are expired goods. It is a Nigerian who stuffs drugs into a dead baby, it is we Nigerians who sell our own kidneys, it is not desperation nor poverty; yes it is really nobody’s business how you live your life but then we unapologetically harm our own, impoverise our own, Abuse our own and we do these for no better reason than for money.
We steal without shame every day, sleep with married men, patronize prostitutes, no one is here to judge you but when we brag about these things but tuck away our spouse and kids at home sheltering them from the madness of the country we by many means contribute to. We build huge walls and exert massive gates to keep our enemies out but are the same time locking things in. The worst things that happen in the society happen within those walls, locking your screams in its coldness. A friend once sent me a text, there are things that are known, there are things that are unknown, and then there are walls, huge walls.
I’m not done, traders can’t draw the line between cheating and profit, cultist rape students in their OWN schools, politicians under develop their OWN people, bosses collect a portion of subordinates salaries after working them into organizations, NYSC officials purposely post corpers to danger spots to make money from ‘posting-runs’. From the lecturer who demands sex for marks to corporate bodies who claim millions in profit annually but still downsize their workforce. ..
We give our kids out as maids and prostitutes without batting an eyelid, we turn chalk to medicinal drugs, import poisonous toys and baby food other countries reject. Bad things aren’t peculiar to us but our acts of callousness amongst our OWN SELVES is mind bugling and our motives are even worse. These people on these acts aren’t people thrown from the moon, they are our spouses, pastors, imams, neighbors, cousin, sisters and we turn a blind eye so long ‘no evil befalls my tent’ well, it’s okay! Research shows that “over 1 million American die from heart diseases and cancer. Annual causes of which are now easily linked to environmental forces in its majority”. It beats me that new lung cancer cases are more from non-smokers than smokers; I’m talking about Nigeria right now so for you in charge of fixing our roads or power generation whom have neglected their duties, we are all stuck in the same traffic and inhale the same clogged air polluted from gasoline fumes while we sleep. So keep digging others graves and ironically yours too.
I would stop here by saying, if we can’t be perfect, let us at least be good!