Nigeria suffering and smiling

Nigeria: Where Predicament And Palava Breeds Happiness And Laughter

Nigerians are very prone to laughing; we were once classified as the happiest people on earth. A walk through the major streets of some states and you will see men drinking and laughing heartily while women sway their hips to music blaring out loud from speakers.

There is poverty in the land but people still find a way to smile and enjoy themselves, Nigerians are very happy people, jolly good fellows I must say. Everything is a joke in this nation, even serious issues that affects our lives; trust that indomitable Nigerian spirit to make it funny.
In my small room, I look out into the Nigerian world, to see, enjoy and maybe get a little of that infectious Nigerian happiness, what I see is pain etched on people's faces, no salaries for civil servants, rising costs of food stuffs, increase in transport fares et al but surprisingly we are laughing. We are laughing through the pain, smiling and going about our business as if nothing is wrong with the body polity.
The failure of some state governments to pay salaries to workers has now been turned into an avenue for jokes, hitherto big men, men who lorded overall and anything that crossed their paths, men who strutted around like peacocks, begging for money to feed their families, pride is gone, self-respect is gone, fees must be paid and children must be fed but surprisingly we are laughing.
Strike actions have hit some states, workers sitting at home while some take to subsistence farming, tilling the ground, fellow citizens pass and make fun of them with screams of "agbe loba", and these civil servants cum farmers laugh and bemoan their circumstances to them and proclaim their faith that everything would turn around soon. Talk about people with abundance of faith and you can point at the average Nigerian.

We get into the bus in the morning and the conductor says the fare has increased by fifty naira, after the initial frown and curses under the breath, we pay and when we get down at our bus stop, we laugh because another passenger has said something funny or in our own way we just have to laugh even at the most mundane of things.

When you don't have light for four days, you curse and curse the authorities until you run out of curses and your children wonder amongst themselves, "what is wrong with daddy? suddenly, power is restored, a smile draws across your face and your children scream "up nepa" or is it "Fashola ti de". Laughter is restored and we go about our normal duties. I have always wondered if there is not something beautiful about waiting for power to be restored, the sheer unpredictability of it, just sitting there waiting and frustrated and the next minute you are leaping for joy.

We are in serious traffic caused by bad roads after years of neglect and allocation of billions of naira, we hurl abuses at each other in frustration, men taking of jackets because of the heat and desperately looking at wristwatches to see if they can still make it on time to work, drivers hurl abuses at each other claiming Mr A cannot drive properly, after hours of insults and shouting from fellow drivers and street touts turned emergency traffic wardens, we escape the gridlock and get to our various destinations and begin to relay our stories to our different colleagues and make jokes of the situation we found ourselves earlier.

The President is sick, we are told it is an ear infection and will need to see specialists in London, the political and moral correctness of that has already been debated upon. Some wish him well, others laugh at his predicament and say he is deaf and say no wonder he has not been listening to the plight of Nigerians and begin to laugh because as usual we are a people prone to laughing.

Restiveness has reared its head again in the Niger delta, pipelines are blown up and our commonwealth is wasted and the environment is put in grave danger, a few who want the government to fail begin to laugh and rejoice in the acts of brigandage as if that would do them and our nation any good.

Nigerians are always laughing, we are a joyous people.
From the corner of my room, I have looked out at the Nigerian world, I recoil into my bed and ask, are we ever serious? I have put my thoughts down and as I turn to sleep, I burst out laughing because I too must laugh.

By Laide Adekanle 

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