Being A Nigerian Is An Endless Nightmare

December 6, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Goya Bauwens photo



John Chizoba Vincent



I once told someone that being a Nigerian is an endless nightmare. A nightmare full of horror and tragedies. A nightmare where everything is against you and a fellow brother sees you perishing and the next thing he thinks of is how to grab your valuables. A nightmare where the politicians are the demons hurting and haunting you. A nightmare where no one cares about you, where being a saint makes you a victim of circumstances and being bad is the only channel of making it big. Only the evil ones are praised and the good ones are mocked of how “saintly” they are to themselves. Only the evil things move and the righteous things are just there without followers. A nightmare where you are lost in the forest of frustration and finding yourself becomes the most difficult thing on earth. Nigeria makes you lose your sense of belonging, you lose yourself in the long run trying to out run some things. You are desperately depressed and talking to yourself on the street becomes a daily routine. Yes, you see your dreams flying away from your hands and nothing can be done about it.


We live in a society where we pay for everything and end up not using the same thing we’ve paid for. You pay for light which you don’t see, you pay for water which you don’t use, you pay for security yet are afraid of armed robbers; you pay for your waste and for weeks and months the waste bin is still packed outside waiting for you. We live in a society where you fear the seen being more than the unseen being. We live in a society where the leaders are selfish and greedy to the core. We live in a society where brothers are ready to kill each other because of poverty which has eaten the deepest part of them. The youths are being paid by the so called politicians during an election to steal ballot boxes for them and these youths don’t bother about their future rather by the gain of the day. The immediate cause of these challenges appear to be deeply entrenched in poverty and ignorance which defines the lives of the vast majority of the Nigerian people. Invariably, broken homes and families who find it difficult to provide the basic needs equally end up at some point on the streets, the very alarming phenomenon resulting in: lack of proper education, selfishness and greediness, and can easily be manipulated by these political hooligans.


We grew up learning how to stay for 24 hours without light in our houses. And when the light comes, we scream “Up Nepa” as we were taught to scream by society. Then, we hurry inside to get our clothes and the pressing iron but before we pick those two, the light is gone. That might be the only time the light would come but at the end of the month, a crazy bill is passed for you to pay. You’ll end up paying the bills for the light you didn’t use to avoid embarrassment and having an issue with your landlord and other tenants. Here in Nigeria, many of these landlords know how to fight you for paying the light bill late, they fight you for not paying the waste bill while they see the waste still packed in front of your apartment.


We live in a country where when renting an apartment, you pay for the unseen agent’s fee and agreement and damage fees even when nothing is damaged. The intended Agent and Agreement fees are more than the money for the apartment you rented. The landlords end up taking advantage of you as their tenant. They fight you at any given time.


We only hear the same promises by the so called leaders every four years. They keep repeating the same campaign promises which they never fulfilled in the last tenure and people still vote for them, still campaigning for them because of the two cups of rice they will collect at the end of the day. Nigeria is the only place you see a leader selling groundnuts, vegetables, helping the poor and even sharing food in the street during his campaign; after the campaign he becomes an untouchable mortal who doesn’t care about your feelings and emotions and your speeches as a citizen of his country. Then, after four years, he returns to the street to join you to sell roasted plantain again and give you false promises just for him to get your vote. The disadvantage of being a Nigerian is being blind, deaf and dumb at the same time.


Being a Nigerian, you must not be seen in dreadlocks to avoid SARS/police harassment and abuse because wearing dreadlocks makes you a ‘yahoo boy’ or an illicit drug dealer. Every policeman will always want to extort from you righteously. Child labour, child trafficking, child prostitution, poverty and a host of others are the deadly threat found here in my country. In fact the menace can be reduced through strategies towards reduction of poverty, mass literacy, preventive health programmes, and other social services. Being a Nigerian is not an escape to poverty but rather an introduction to poverty 101. Many Nigerians have learnt the act of talking to themselves while walking along the road. The frustrations out there are the engine behind the scriptures of madness in my home country.


Being a Nigerian could be exhaustively frustrating, as well as fun and fulfilling. The daily activities of both Nigerian genders have been greatly influenced by the Nigerian culture and orientation passed onto innocent new generations. In terms of education, another reason you might consider studying abroad is for the chance to experience different styles of education because education here in Nigeria is a scam. As a student, you end up not remembering how many times ASUU went on strike before you even graduate from University. The four years becomes eight years and sometimes you need years including service. And the politicians knew about this and that is why they all send their children abroad to study.


By enrolling in a study abroad program, you’ll have the chance to see a side of your major that you may not have been exposed to at home. You’ll find that completely immersing yourself in the education system of your host country is a great way to really experience and understand the people, its traditions, and its culture unlike education at home. Education is the centerpiece of any study abroad trip—it is, after all, a study abroad program—and choosing the right school is a very important factor.


There is nothing quite like being on your own in a foreign country. You might find that studying abroad really brings out your independent nature than studying here in a school full of endless strike and lecturers who fix their mind on how to abuse and harass students. Students who study abroad become explorers of their new nation and really discover the curiosity and excitement they harbor. A benefit to studying abroad is the opportunity to discover yourself while gaining an understanding of a different culture. Being in a new place by yourself can be overwhelming at times, and it tests your ability to adapt to diverse situations while being able to solve problems.


To be a Nigerian you must get ready to adapt to these vices: Poor infrastructure, lack of adherence to acceptable global standards, weak manufacturing base, high cost of doing business, industrial base not strong – still import-dependent for most essential inputs. Trade limited to commodity goods, Poor and corrupt government, Poor Power supply; The biggest disadvantage of doing business in Nigeria.


As a Nigerian man you get to go round a corner and water the ground just as it is at Orile bus stop under the bridge while the whole world continues to rotate. Most Nigerian men are at liberty to urinate anywhere on the streets, no time to check time. Everywhere is a dustbin. We dispose lylons and many other waste items on the ground.


As a Nigerian, your immediate source of finance is largely limited to you. You might most likely end up having too many liabilities and no resource to cater for them. You buy recharged cards for your babe, pay your rent, buy phones for your loved ones, your babe’s birthday. And the worst of it all is the bad networks that hold you captive every blessed day. Nigeria is certainly a dumping ground for all these Asian Countries like China, Hong Kong, Japan and many other countries.


Somehow, Nigerian men face thicker challenges on the street; it’s a war out there. As a man, you need to be extraordinarily careful on the street, you mind where you talk and how you talk to avoid trouble, be it conductor, police or any place, you must try and avoid brawls or else you’ll end up where you never expected to be.





John Chizoba Vincent

John Chizoba Vincent is a cinematographer, filmmaker, music video director, poet and a writer. A graduate of mass communication, he believes in life and the substances that life is made of. He has three books published to his credit which includes Hard Times, Good Mama, Letter from Home. For boys of tomorrow is his first offering to poetry. He lives in Lagos.

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