I’m not here to show statistics. I have not conducted any academic research, neither have I given out any questionnaires (they are hardly reliable in this country anyway). However, it has taken me almost three decades to be convinced that the average Nigerian is frustrated. From the wealthy man (woman) who has to sit inside immobile vehicles for hours just to get to their offices, to the student who has had to write Jamb a million times, to the barely clad hawker who has to run after moving vehicles at break-neck speeds. Come out on a good day and read the faces of Nigerians; it’s ‘frustration’ staring back at you. Yes! We have all become identical. Frustration is having a field day. It seems to be very comfortable in Nigerian clothing.
Okay, I’m supposed to be travelling, but I had a quick break to fix my break pads (didn’t even realise they were totally worn out). As I write this piece from a dirty shack alongside the busy Onitsha/Owerri express way, I’m amazed at the level of frustration around me. I am so ashamed that I am unable to do something right now to alleviate the suffering and poverty of my fellow country men and women. Yet they greet me with smiles and stare at me as though wondering why someone of my exalted status should be sitting with them inside this rickety shack. One lady even starts begging me for money (we are so in trouble).
Anyway, that’s only part of the reason I’m currently writing this piece. I’m particularly writing because of a disturbing piece of information I heard off the radio as I was stuck in traffic for hours this morning along Port Harcourt/Aba express way. The anchor man had earlier announced that some Nigerian Customs Officers had seized and buried about 6 cartons of frozen chicken along Onel (pardon my spelling, that’s what I think I heard) area of Port Harcourt. But some minutes later, precisely during the ‘Iwitness’ program, someone phoned in to say that many Nigerians had stormed the dump site of the Nigerian Customs Service in Port Harcourt. They were not there to thank and shake the hands of the Officers for saving innocent Nigerians from food tested to be poisonous for human consumption. No no no. They were there to dig up the buried stuff. As far as they were concerned, this was food wasting away. Someone even called to say that men, women, boys, girls, as well as children of different shapes and sizes were busy carting away cartons of frozen chicken. The anchor man could not properly articulate his shock into English language. I couldn’t myself. We were bereft of vocabularies. Chances are that these frozen chickens will eventually find their way through back doors and alleyways to our open markets.
Hmm. Is this ignorance, poverty, wickedness? What can you call it? For me, it’s only one of the many expressions of the Nigerian. It’s one of the many manifestations of the frustration that’s constantly blowing in the Nigerian ‘airways’.
Let’s stop there for now. My car has been fixed. I have to continue my journey. God bless you…