Saturday, September 12, 2020 12:21 pm
Nigerians are a resilient lot. In the past, the slightest increase in any consumable would have precipitated protests. Just as the late Dele Giwa wrote, “Nigerians have been shocked to a state of unshockability,” Nigerians are no longer shocked!
The following is a recap of the lessons a BBC correspondent, Martins Patience, learned for two years when he lived in Nigeria. It is a version of the ‘From Our Own Correspondent’, published in thenigerianlimelight in 2017 but still relevant today.
Nigeria maddest place I’ve lived in
By Martins Patience
Nigeria is truly the maddest place I have ever had the pleasure of living in.
It’s a country that constantly feels on the brink but never quite goes over the edge.
It feels like you are living in a giant soap opera with all the joy and tragedy that goes with it.
It is a nation blessed or burdened with extraordinary cast of characters.
It can make you want to cry with laughter or with tears.
‘’Where else?’’ said a friend. That you have to bribe the attendant in a lift just to be allowed out of it; or you will be hassled in a church for a donation or where you will go to a lost but found office only to be told that nothing has been handed in this entire year.
What you may not have heard about is the sheer exuberance of this country.
They should hand out ear plugs in Nigerian weddings because the noise is so intense!
Millions truly believe that tomorrow could be the day they make it big.
The language here is unbelievably colorful.
A top official once described a former president as an honest fool who held the horn while the others milk the cow.
I have never ever lived anywhere like Nigeria!
It’s exhausting and exhilarating, but never is there a dull a day.
I was recently sitting in a plane and we were taxiing out to the runway when the pilot piped up in the intercom, ‘’A passenger was rude to an air hostess. I ask you the passengers to intervene because, unless he apologizes, we will have to go back to the terminal and unload him’’.
A queue of about a dozen people surrounded the man, shouting at him to apologize.
He refused, so the pilot did indeed turn the plane back towards the boarding gate.
And finally, the man, realizing his number was up, said sorry.
The pilot was back on the intercom, ‘’I will like to thank you all for intervening’’, he said with obvious delight, ‘’We are now off to Lagos’’.
For all the drama and frustrations, one friend summed up Nigerians best.
“They have remarkable patience. But for the wrong things. They put up with lack of clean water, poor access to health care, rotten schools and crumbling infrastructure.’’
Many Nigerians are fiercely independent.
This is a nation of leaders and not followers.”
-Martins Patience, BBC correspondent, presented this when he was leaving Nigeria after two years. He posted the opening statement on Twitter