Nigerians, take a chill pill. We can do better, but our pride often does not let us see clearly and acknowledge how bad things really are. Yes, I said what I said. Come and beat me. When I saw that Brandon Stanton of HONY started a series on Lagos, Nigeria, I was over the moon happy. Finally, I thought, the world will know how awesome my country is.
They will get to see the cuisine and bougie restaurants in the city of Lagos, our unique fashion, the mansions in Banana Island, the working professionals, and maybe a bit of Nollywood and everything else cool that Lagos has to offer. Then a few posts later, and it was done. Fiam, just like that. No mention of the glitz and glam of Lagos. As my people will say, “shock catch me”.
Don’t act like I was the only one with this expectation. I know you had it too. I know, because as the proud Nigerians that we are, we blew up Twitter complaining about how Nigeria was depicted in the HONY posts, so much so that Brandon had to write an article about it. His interviews were intentionally random. Just look how much we were humbled. How true and how eye opening this was for me. As difficult as it is to admit, Brandon indeed accurately captured the reality of majority of Nigeria and Nigerians – extreme poverty, police brutality, children out of school, fraud, lack of safety, corruption, and abuse and molestation. Despite these, we were encouraged by the stories of those who exemplify good citizenship in the midst of a failing government – the young man who wants to build houses for the homeless, the man who trains boys off the street on his print shop business, and the young lady who set up LifeBank, a company that distributes blood to hospitals.
I could write an epistle on how all Nigerians have a role in changing Nigeria, but you’ve already heard it all before, and you’d more than likely carry on with life as usual and continue to use religion as a cover-up while you argue pointlessly that naija jollof is better than Ghanaian jollof (although it low key is, but that’s besides the point). But this post will all be worth it if just one person would make a little mind change, and a little behavior change. It’s the simple things – respect our environment by not littering, do the right thing by not collecting a bribe, fund an underprivileged child to an education instead of squandering money in the expensive city of Lagos, don’t take advantage of those beneath you, and in whatever situation you find yourself, maintain integrity.
Did you read the HONY Lagos, Nigeria posts? What did you think?