Everything Good Is Coming

I read an article recently written by Chukwudi Ede who wondered what the last straw for Nigerians will be before they start saying to each other and to the politicians, “enough is enough”. I remember commenting that i didn’t think that any such time will come.

Now, don’t go calling me a traitor or a false prophet, you see, the thing is that i have seen the light (so i think), and have also been a Nigerian long enough to safely boast that I now know the psyche of the Nigerian. I have used the Frank Olize index to arrive at my conclusion which is that nothing mega (apologies, what i meant to say was that nothing will happen). Even if you take away the jolly-jolly part of our national life which more than compensates for any hardship (be it of an interim, of a long suffering or any other nature), plus the grit and the never-say-never spirit Nigerians are famed for, you will be surprised still that your typical Nigerian is one special breed. He or she has always, and will always be studious a example in survival techniques. Come rain, come shine, the Nigerian always looks beyond the horizon; he/she sees what lies beneath. Hope it is called, and that my dear friends is why i think that i may not in my lifetime see the fabled last straw Chukwudi was searching for.

I had to visit Lagos last week for a few days to arrange for my sabbatical, part of my grand plot to go back to my fatherland eventually. I am hoping that at the end of the period, I will not have any further reason to come back to the London cold, the Queen and the rest of her posse at Buckingham Palace can shove their 40% taxes down the Blackwell tunnel. I like using such short breaks and trips to feel the pulse of the nation by talking to people. Who ever I meet, cab drivers, small business owners, school children, beer drinkers, social scientists and public analysts (It never hurts to hear things from the people who are down there in the trenches surviving), you could feel an upbeat spirit within them. Even in the midst of the mother of all Lagos traffic jams along Isolo Bridge, a jam that lasted over 4 hours, i still saw smiles on people’s faces. What is it then that holds the faces together? Is it something run-aways like me don’t see? It suddenly began to dawn on me that all those of us who live abroad and look inwards from outside may be somewhat blind to the new Nigeria.

You would have thought that i chose the wrong time to visit Nigeria because of the no-show attitude of the kill joys that made sure that the mood of some people remained sullen. You will be surprised to hear this but their sullen and sunken mood did not have much to do with Yar’Adua (Thank God), nor his fellow politicians including Olusegun Obasanjo who Nollywood producers are thanking at the moment for delivering to them free-of-charge an Oscar winning script. Believe me, that was the least on the minds of the people. Their major pre-occupation was the dwindling fortunes of the national team. Their beloved Super Eagles team failed to launch in Ghana, soaring wouldn’t have been possible if launching didn’t take place. And so it was the same story at every viewing centre set up by Coca-Cola and other companies wishing to cash in on the Ghana 2008 Nations Cup euphoria.

We watched the Nigeria – Mali match at The Vault and you couldn’t help but pity the owners who had to contend with a motley crowd that night, booze did not flow, the tills did not register much, yours truly stuck to water (I’m battling the bulge), Charles Okoli my friend nursed a Malta Guinness and cursed and swore all through the game. Nearby, there were a few beers being drunk in some of the tables and that was it really. But for a few Oyinbos donning the Super Eagles jerseys with Oyinbo boldly imprinted at the back, there was really nothing on display, both on the pitch and in the joint to suggest that Ghana 2008 was anything special, at least from the supporters’ point of view. The oven grills remained dry and the fishes perhaps enjoyed one more night at the lagoon. Who says that surviving in Lagos is so much a problem these days?

Now you can see how bad things are now with those over-paid, over-played ball players – the Super Eagles, they have no more pulling powers and are struggling to fill local beer parlours and bars, thus playing an active role in re-directing the approaching global economic depression towards our shores (Now you know who to hold responsible if it eventually happens). Who cares about their fancy run-outs with their Berti Vogts when there is 9 – points Ghana to watch?

Anyway, things may not be so bad after all; you may be surprised that there may be those who are rejoicing over the Eagles’ misfortunes. Did you think i meant Ivory Coast or Mali? I’m talking about conservationists, those who have long campaigned that Cat, Tilapia and other species of fishes are now endangered species in Nigeria. Their animal rights counterparts who campaign for the ethical treatment of animals and who also insist that cows, goats and rams being ferried to the water side slaughter house to be bludgeoned to death, should at least be dragged down there with dignity. They will be rejoicing too.

Guess who their allies will be? Not Amnesty International, not RSPCA either. It is the wives and sweethearts. Now, look at the connection, The Eagles failing to soar means that boys (or men) will spend less time at the beer parlours, they will also likely come home early thus saving themselves from adding to the bulge and any further leaking holes in their pockets, now that’s something. Who would like to be like me this New Year? After coming down with the flu recently, I visited a clinic and all the nurse could tell me after measuring my BMI was that i was clinically obese, how sweet? And I used to think that my 3-minutes morning work-outs were working; now I know better.

Okay, back to the last straw issue (Not the ones being eaten by Oshodi market – bound cows). Beside the Super Eagles, the average Nigerian (by this I mean the man in the street) currently goes about his business as usual. Now for those of us living in the diaspora, you will be surprised actually to hear that people are enjoying. It’s up to you if you want to use Fela’s ‘Shuffering and Schmiling’ to describe their quality of life but na you sabi. Perhaps Obasanjo may be the most loathed Nigerian at the moment but many people will be surprised to hear that he is loved and very much so in some quarters for his attempt at opening up the Nigerian economy through some policies that also enriched him and his associates. The likes of Prof. Pat Utomi have long decried the absence of a middle class in Nigeria, these special breed are usually professionals, very young, creative, enterprising and energetic, their mandate as in other societies is to drive the economy with their taxes, ideas and skills. If you are indeed a Nigerian, or a lover of everything Nigeria, you will be blind not to see that the middle class which last played any active role in the Nigerian economy in the 70s are back, and this time with a vengeance.

You will see members of this elite troupe all over Lagos and in other urban cities in their brand new SUVs, Honda, Toyota or Mercedes Benz cars cruising through life as if they minted money in their backyards. They camp out at plush locations, at Lekki Estates in Lagos or in the many estates in Abuja and other cities with an array of house helps at their beck and call. They play the stock market, dress in fancy suits and are the ones driving Nigeria’s fast rising mortgage market, ensuring that the future of Nigeria is bright. They are our own generation next stalking major boardrooms in corporate Nigeria, their age ranges are between 30 and 45 (Did I hear you calculate your own age?)

Now what does this say about my fellow internet pirates? you know us, we are the ones that are always predicting doom and calamity for Nigeria, cursing and abusing the usual suspects, and urging our countrymen down there in the trenches to rise up and fight. All with our feet high up on our buy-now-pay-later DFS sofas? We are guilty as well, as charged.

Maybe I should put it simpler. Sure the lights are still out, the roads are bad, the politicians are still stealing money but do look for what lies beneath, Nigerians are turning the corner, slowly and surely and you don’t want to miss the emerging opportunity this land of sleeping giants presents.

Now, don’t you go thinking that the emerging and rising prosperity only applies to the likes of 2 Face, D’Banj and all those in the music industry, or just to their Nollywood brethren. it spreads right across the whole social, political and economic spectrum. No, you will only be limited by the depth of your dreams. If you wait any longer, the guys running the show will spring the trap and once that closes, coming in will be a lot tougher. Talk about one being an immigrant in his own country, do you want that?

Aha, one more thing, the Nigerian on the street has little time for the internet; he will not likely waste his time in an internet cafe reading our venomous attacks on the government, just show him how he can advance further in his life with our Oyinbo ideas and you got him hooked for life, just maybe.

Written by
Uche Nworah
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2 comments
  • Excellent read. You’re a class writer and commentator; I raise my cap to you! I read this article when I am honestly pondering about products(business ideas) that I want to take home to 9ja soon… My emphasis is on community and people-development ventures.Looking for yooung talented Nigerian partners now, abroad and at home. Cheers mate. – Briggs(in Dubai).

  • Thank you, you’re absolutely correct, if the chinese and, indian and lebanese can see the light in our country, we should also see the light. I rather spent the money with my people than the oyinbos, I have given them enough. Your article is very enlighten. I will be going ome to see what I can do to move back