One of my most demanding occupations is the job of being a Nigerian. I have heard people talk about it and I have rationalized it as another joke. But honestly, just being a Nigerian is work; trust me it is a career that we (Nigerians) have to live with.

It doesn’t matter who or where you are, being a Nigerian demands responsibility; lots of explanation about failed leadership, infrastructure gaps, corruption, tribal and ethnic differences, terrorism, insecurity etc.

Have you ever wondered why we have so many religious charlatans in Nigeria? It is because we have to and as a matter of importance pray about everything. For instance, to go to your village, in addition to praying for protection against witches and wizards, you must raise prayers on the following:
• safety on the roads,
• security from kidnappers & terrorists
• Prayer against flat tires from bad road
• harassment from Police, Road safety officials, VIO etc.
• Fuel scarcity or adequacy: That your fuel does not run out or that the 10 liters in your tank does not dry out before you arrive the village etc…

Things that ordinarily should be logical and straightforward have taken Nigerians to mountains to pray. For instance seeking admission to Federal universities, paying house rents, children’s school fees and medical treatment for simple illness like malaria may demand a fast or spiritual consultation.

Everyday is loaded with its own kind of fear; loss of jobs, road accidents, ritual killing, yahoo yahoo and a host of others. You are afraid to walk to your neighbour’s house for lack of trust and insecurity. Everyone is a potential suspect of being evil and dangerous.

The truth is that whether home or abroad, every Nigerian is a story teller or better still an unsolicited advocator of gross inefficiency. At home, here in Nigeria, the story is endless. Once you enter a place and say “eku Nigeria” or “how far”. You may not leave the place in the next 5 hours.

Abroad, when you introduce yourself as a Nigerian, the questions will begin to roll in. Questions on why our leaders are so corrupt or our education system is poor. Either way, Nigerians are busy people; either justifying or assailing this great nation.

This last few months have been most traumatic for almost everyone in this career especially with the cash crunch and the pain of transacting business at the remote rural areas of the country not to talk of the 2023 election brouhaha . Now that the presidential election is over, can we at least have cash to transact businesses?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love cashless policy and I have been a propagator of it. But being coerced into it as done in the last weeks is detrimental to the economy. With over 40% of the Nigerian population in rural areas and most of them financially excluded, one can only imagine how horrible life had been. It is unfortunate that like in all cases of a fight between two elephants, the grass suffers. so also the masses have suffered greatly in this past weeks.

Let us come back to the issue of being a Nigerian as a lifetime occupation. As traumatic as it seems and the JAPA syndrome notwithstanding one thing stands out; being Nigerians is what we all have to defend as we do not have any other option. Read about the JAPA here: Relocating to Canada, US or UK are only temporary measures. No nation is big enough to host the largest black nation in the world. Besides, a lizard in Nigeria can only grow to become a big fat lizard in the developed nation not an alligator.

Honestly, I love Nigeria and seriously I don’t have a relocation plan. I am truly proud to be a Nigerian. Maybe not so proud when I have to defend some of the senseless things that happen here. But proud nonetheless.

The resilience of Nigerians is second to none in the world. It is no wonder that in spite of the differences that divide us we are still kind of glued together. In spite of the so many threats of breakaway, we still end up being bedfellows. The more we try, the more we are stuck together by intermarriages, faith and I guess divine forces.

I am hopeful that nothing lasts forever and soon this narrative will change and Nigeria will be better. Then, and only then will being a Nigerian may not be such a crazy job after all.

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