We’re all products of a dysfunctional society
Nigeria has made me more kind and empathetic. Kind to those seemingly undeserving of this kindness and empathetic to those in less fortunate circumstances and environments than I am.
Observing the dysfunction in our society has made me realize that we’re all victims. Victims by circumstance, not by choice or anything we have control over. Victims of a gruesome system with next to no indicators of positive reforms in sight; save hope. A gleam of hope that weans as the days go by.
More times than I can count, I’ve heard people say Nigerians are among the most resilient people in the world. Still, being in such proximity to so much pain, angst and suffering, as we are, does a lot to a person, save an entire nation of over 200 million people.
The cashier who attempts to miscalculate my change does so because that might just be the exact fare she needs to transport her back home safely.
The market woman who openly disrespects me does so because she is frustrated that her earning and purchasing power are steadily reducing with inflation and fuel hikes.
The man who steals from me does so because he’s not sure where his next meal would come from, and seeing that he has no viable source of employment, he has to take matters into his hands.
The little boy who wants to become a doctor says so because he lost his favourite cousin and doesn’t want sick people to keep dying in our ill-equipped hospitals.
The lady who carries women’s rights on her head does so because she’s been sexually harassed and abused, and no one ever gave her a voice until she found hers.
In one way or the other, we’re all affected by our failed system, and the effects of these manifest in diverse ways.
Staying afloat in Nigeria is hard. The system is bent on breaking you and tearing apart whatever form of sanity is left in you. This is why people leave. Not because they have no love for the motherland or do not want to see it prosper, but simply beside choosing to stay is almost as good as signing one’s death sentence.
The fight for our lives and livelihoods is more pressing than any other thing we have to encounter, and I wonder, will this ever end?