For the average Nigerian living in Nigeria, whether male or female, the good life is pretty much basic:
1. Settle down on time (aka get married between your mid 20s and early 30s, beyond that you’re a latecomer. In Nigeria, if you’ve not married, you’ve not arrived).
2. Find a good source of income (a white collar job or a thriving business venture or better still both, and earn above 100K in a month, at least).
3. Give your kids the best education you can afford (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary; all private schools if you can, because ASUU is a monster).
4. Build your own house(s) and buy your own car(s), whichever comes first. (It doesn’t matter if you fail to plaster the walls before you move into the house or your first car is a used 1980 Toyota model; As long as you’re a landlord and car owner, you’re successful).
5. Don’t die prematurely. There are a lot of unique but avoidable ways to die as an average Nigerian- RTAs, Armed Robbery Attacks, Fire Outbreaks and Medical Negligence, are just a few. (Nigerians love to live, no matter how bleak the future looks, after all a living dog is a better than a dead lion, na bible talk am. Ecclesiastes 9:4).
6. Retire to eat the fruits of your labor (i.e. your children get to graduate, start working, marry into wealth, make beautiful grandchildren, then relocate abroad where you can visit them as often as you want, after all they are your major investments!).
Maybe there are some individual twists to what I’ve mentioned based on personal interests, but no average Nigerian can deny relating to at least one of the above.
“E go better” is the mantra of the Average Nigerian.
-It’s the reason we hustle (a refined name for struggling), from dawn to dusk just to make ends meet.
-It’s what we hope for every day of our lives, gathering in religious houses from week to week, holding special programs and giving special offerings, just to be blessed by the Almighty.
-It’s why we are restless and dissatisfied when others seem to be making better progress than we are.
In Nigeria, we thrive on sweat rather than sense, we own more buildings than we build people.
We are by nature myopic, more concerned about how we can get more rather than give more. Who wants to invest in a sick nation like Nigeria? The public civil servant just wants to collect his monthly salary and go home. There are bills to be paid, from DSTV monthly subscription to the Children’s school fees for the term.
The average Nigerian is less concerned about making any difference, whether local or global. Not the classroom teacher who just wants the day to end, not the nurse in the hospital ward already frustrated from the overwhelming workload and definitely not the police officer collecting bribes at the security checkpoint.
It is why many of our leaders lie and steal and get away with it. After all they are only sharing the national cake, which belongs to everybody but nobody in particular. And who wants to catch them? EFCC? Pls try again.
We the followers are not much different, as long as we can afford to fence our own compounds and provide for our basic amenities like electricity and water, the rest of the nation can go to rot.
So back to the bucket-list, what can we do to change our priorities from that of merely surviving to actually flourishing as Nigerians living in Nigeria? How can we make a paradigm shift from our attitude of consumption to that of contribution? Where do we even begin from?
My mum once mentioned this phrase while praying for my siblings and I recently, “They didn’t choose to be Nigerians…”
Neither did you. But now that you’re here, why not make your impact felt?
I’m Nigerian and Blessed.
*ASUU: Academic Staff Union of Universities
*EFCC: Economic and Financial Crime Commission