If you read my last post you will remember me saying that i was in transit at the time of that post. I had a very traumatizing immigration experience. Traumatized according to google means “subject to lasting shock as a result of disturbing experience”. It is this disturbing experiences that form the basis for this post and i can’t stop having flash backs that are shocking. Traveling with my Green Passport sucks big time. Automatically, you are considered a suspect. Typical case of One egg spoils the rest, as they say.
There is a lot of growing we need to do and a lot of it has nothing to do with our government. The average typical Nigerian is resilient, opinionated and competitive – hence our strong presence around the globe, but unfortunately we are the worst hypocrites and many times we don’t tell ourselves the truth. We know what is right and how to do it, but when it comes to ourselves, many of us feel the need to be appreciated for doing right by the law. Imagine that Nigeria is in an environment where the system works yet the Nigeria of that environment is in abysmal chaos. I was at the Nigerian embassy in New York and I was really disappointed.
I have heard stories before now but i saw with my eyes. The impression i got was that for as long as you are Nigerian and dealing with Nigerians, your entitlement to standard service is only a privilege not a right. Like it is not the norm, so when it works out exceptionally for you you must have paid your dues – in the literal sense of it. And so unfortunately people buy that lie and continue to propagate injustice and servitude with our practice of “man know man” syndrome. We must free ourselves from that mentality. If we can love each other and care about one another genuinely, maybe the change we seek can be seen as more and more people do right; because it is a sign of love and respect for the citizenry and nothing more.
I transited in Istanbul for roughly 24hrs and it opened my eyes off understanding to a lot. As a foreigner, you were really a stranger. On your own OYO, is your case. At a one of the Burger King Outlets, something happened. As i picked up my order and stepped back to proceed to my seat, i only missed the floor by chance. I slipped badly with my baby strapped in his carrier to my chest. Someone had spilled water and there was no “wet floor” sign in sight. When i gained balance, the restaurant staff that were standing in front of me made no attempt to help me hold the tray if food or even support me up, not even a word of empathy or a sign of compassion. All i could do was yell at them for being so nonchalant and walked away angry and furious. This was one of the many events that reinforced the fact that this people really don’t care.
I started to ask why my own country adored foreigners and cared about them more than their own people? Again, it boils down to hypocrisy maybe? A Male Nigerian celebrity recently narrated on social media his scary experience at a shop in Lagos. The shop was managed by a Chinese, who in the course of the experience threatened him with a knife. He reported the case and the man was taken in by the police and almost a day later he was back at the same shop, going about business as usual, walking around a free man, without charges. Imagine how traumatized he must have felt at first, then even more now that someone who once pointed a knife to your face is roaming the streets free. Now as a Nigerian you cannot get away with this sort of thing in a foreign land.
As a matter of fact many Nigerians are just after what they want, if you have something they want, consider yourself a momentary mini god and we would do anything to get it. I mean anything…and that is why for the most part around the world our image is smeared, we come off as fraudulent and so a Nigerian is first of all a red flag alert until proven otherwise, hence we find ourselves needing to do the most to be accepted and when you do, you have to work at maintaining it , even if it means keeping a distance from other Nigerians….bad company corrupt good morals right? Needless to say that this foreigners really don’t care about you. You being nice to them is questionable and so I found myself missing home. Just wishing I was in Nigeria, where someone will see me burdened and offer to help, even if I will question it, it felt good to see that someone noticed that you could do with a little extra help or word of encouraging advice….you know Nigerians give the most advice with such authority, solicited or unsolicited. I still love my Naija
I could go on and on. I arrived Lagos and it was a great relief as i stepped out of the aircraft . Not because I was home…i still had to fly to Jos the next day, but because I was in a place where I knew someone was going to be offering me help even without asking, and that felt like a burden was made light and a yoke had been removed. As expected, while i stepped out of immigration, someone already went ahead to get me a cart for my luggage …of course i had to pay for the cart. Now in my head the only worry was not about me paying, but the fact that I may have to pay more than the actual cost. In Naija and by Nigerians, everything comes at a cost like I said. It works in two ways; you are either charged outrightly to pay extra, or you are left with an unmatchable impression of kindness that stirs up guilt in you, luring you to reciprocate in cash. If you pay back in kind then you must be heartless, or like they say “you lack human sympathy”. One time i was insulted for not giving tip. Now i ask for the Ts and Cs before hand to avoid stories that touch.
We are good hearted people, I know we can do better so i won’t give up. I know it is possible, I know you know that too. I want a Nigeria where leadership is about love and service. Think about it deeply, there is something you can do right everyday. We are all leaders in our sphere so lets us lead like we expect to be led. Just do something wrong and people will emulate, so if we can flip the coin lets consistently do right till it becomes normal. Doing good is the right thing and it can be normal.
Having said all this, I see a Nigeria where I do not reject offers just because i am afraid of a rip off. We should use things to care for people and not use people to care for things. I want to accept great favors and a simple “thank you” will be enough appreciation. The Nigeria I want is the one where we all love and show respect to one another at all times regardless of status, position or reward. I believe that my green passport does not have to raise a red flag, instead it will give a green light that beckons acceptance and good fortune.
Happy Democracy Naija.