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I wrote this article in the middle of being frustrated living in Nigeria and this was at the peak of running a business, working and trying to go back to school. Too many wrong things were happening, and it made me so angry because all I could do was rant. I just got so frustrated, it nearly broke me. The Nigerian “anyhowness” is the story of Nigeria and a system that has embraced abnormality as something that is normal and the insanity of the poor dragging the poor.

In Nigeria, people are always angry, even though it has become a subconscious behavior yet it is reflective of what the nation is today. Anger is manifested everywhere but most times misplaced. The anger towards the rich and all the things about them is often misplaced and directed toward the wrong people. In a typical Nigerian Twitter “Street”, you see responses to a simple tweet reflecting the depth of anger and how people snap at the slightest instance even when the tweet has nothing to do with them. When someone has a different opinion on the “anyhowness” of the Nigerian system, people turn on you because it has been so normalized that Nigerians do not understand just how much being in a deprived and corrupt system creeps up on you and reduces your expectations of what life should be. People embrace that low-standard kind of lifestyle and they justify it at every instance.

That Nigeria is corrupt is no longer headline news but the depth is what will shock you every single time something awkward happens. A building collapsed in a part of Lagos, Nigeria with school children as casualty and it was later discovered that the building had been marked for demolition. This is Nigeria…. You just wonder how people still use that building at all after it has been marked to be dangerous for human habitation yet someone was using it as a school with ignorant parents enrolling their kids. This is an example of the “anyhowness” of living in Nigeria. Nigerians are not happy a single bit but they will still come and drag you, defend their “lowlifeness” mediocrity in a very ignorant way that as a Nigerian, you feel ashamed of sometimes. Nigerians will carry their homophobic behavior and emotionally defend it with religion but sexual predators are strolling freely on the streets because the system is broken.

A society that conditions women to believe that without a man, they are not complete and somehow, their education starts to feel like a waste in the end. Too many stories in the saloon, ATM queues, marketplace place and inside the bus. So, when you marry, that will be the end of your aspirations and education, so you find fathers refusing to educate their girls and mothers pushing their daughters forward for early marriage and even encouraging them to embrace Female Genital Mutilation. Some will argue that FGM is old-fashioned but you will be stunned at how many girls are still victims of this tradition. In Nigeria, some folks will still defend this tradition and religion. People have no restraints or courtesy, most Nigerians do not understand what it means to respect other people’s space and just defend it.

A Nigerian in New York City who left Nigeria for greener pastures in the United States was interviewed, she said she was happy doing dishes at a local restaurant coupled with other menial jobs and has found a more meaningful life than her bank manager job which she left behind in Nigeria. She further stated how she earns $10 per hour and even more sometimes, doing more with her life and the opportunities living in America offered her compared to her “Nigerian” career life. Ironically, a bank manager has become a dishwasher but what is the use of title when your life can just be meaningful? Nigerians love the title and it is such a big deal in the corporate world that people would cling to the illusion of titles even when the money earned doesn’t quite measure up to all the work you put in. The Nigerian idea of “bigmanism” is pure packaging. The content may not measure up but the packaging is everything. When you hear someone say I am a Manager or Head of some corporate bla bla, then next ask about their salary, you will be shocked but this is Nigeria and people will still come to defend it, dragging the lady in New York as just a dishwasher and America tax systems even though clearly, her new life and the opportunities gives her miles of leverage.

Living in Nigeria is hard. When you are broke, you have very little chance of finding a job that will pay you hourly wage, where you can just turn up, put in the work and get paid to meet your needs that day. Except you already have a car to do UBER or you already have a store. I mean as a graduate or someone who just lost a job looking to earn some quick cash by legally putting in the hours to earn something enough to live through each day. The issue is no longer being lazy or ideal, people want to work but there are no jobs and even if you find one, you find yourself earning less than $5 for the whole day and so in a month, you are earning less than $100. This is the reality of Nigeria. Most Nigerians are living below the poverty line not because they are not skilled, talented or lazy but because the system has failed.

The idea that you must work to earn a living is not something people understand in Nigeria. Most Nigerians do not earn a living, they barely make it to the next paycheque. You must work extra hard, everything just has to be crazy hard, it is a mindset. So perhaps, if you are not earning enough, you are probably not working the “Nigerian” hard enough. The kind of work you put in so much but you cannot find meaning. Most Nigerian jobs are physically exhausting, less use of logic, so people most people are conditioned for that hard life, they will even accuse you of being lazy sometimes if you choose a different part. The suffering mentality has become part of living in Nigeria, if it is too easy, then it must be shady.

There is also the part of employers exploiting their staff threatening to always sack them because they know there are no jobs out there, the only option is to accept the maltreatment, extra unpaid hours and emotional, sometimes physical abuse. The system is there to frustrate and break you down to submission. You have no one to turn to.

The quality of life Nigerians live will break your heart but the “anyhowness” culture is always king.

When someone who is jobless goes all out to support a political candidate purely because of religion or tribal sentiments, it tells you how the rich have gotten the masses where they want them. The elite know people do not like them but they have mastered the art of turning the masses against themselves. You find a jobless person who has been “Blessed” with say N40,000 (a little more than $100), and goes all out against another jobless graduate trying to make case for another candidate who has a more meaningful plan. The deprivation has made the N40,000 so big that it is easy to convince people’s children to become hooligans and touts diverting the anger to the wrong people.

When two jobless people in the slums are arguing or killing each other over a politician living somewhere else with all the amenities, it is clear why the rich will get richer. The elite knows how to make the Nigerian “anyhowness” work in their favor. They understand how to distract those at the bottom with the material possessions that should not be a big deal in a working system. They understand that Nigerians only talk, and for the most part, they barely act. In end, there is no need to hate the rich because the masses themselves are not ready to move up the ladder. The culture of “siddon look" (sitting and just observing) and living a life of being close-minded, trying to reason only through the lens of religion, tribalism, and emotions as against logic is a deep-rooted issue in Nigeria. The level of mediocrity and a parochial, backward, oppressive leadership system keep the power within the same cycle.

People can hate the rich for giving their kids an edge over others. That is the reality of life. In Nigeria, the rot and the decay in the system make you marvel at how the IVY League School cheating scandal is big news in America. It tells you the difference in the kind of life we live here in Nigeria and how we have normalized evil, cheating, and nepotism. People do not even do it under any cover, it is an everyday thing. Nigerians will wail and talk all day about corruption but will stand up from that same place and walk into the next room to collect bribes. It is like that. That is why people will be angry at the rich for using their means to get ahead but when they have that same money, the story changes. Nigerians will criticize the Government in power, once they begin to enjoy the proximity to power, they support the same things they condemned.

In all these, you know Nigerians are superficial human beings, Sycophantic who have been raised in a type of system that only thrives in corruption. Nigerians are not bad people but when you lived so long in a system that has broken you down, subjected you to deprivation…. You become numb to what is normal especially now that Nigerians have created a bubble for what normal is and you know that since you cannot beat them, you just have to join them. Nigerians would travel abroad and from their behavior you can tell, they are Nigerians. That is a good thing in some way but even worse, it is a bad thing. Being known as uncivilized, mannerlessly, homophobic and myopic, limits your chances of experiencing sold human relationships.

End of my rant.

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