The Nigerian condition shapes our conversations and is responsible for those nuances in our daily lives. It shapes those routines we’re not even aware of following.
The British are famous for making small talk about their weather. It’s not like I’ve ever been there but I’ve sha watched “Paddington”.
The Nigerian condition tunnels our conversations to familiar tubes. You’re in traffic on third mainland bridge, and the guy beside you is calling his neighbor or brother to find out if there’s light at home. Of course, he pushes you to wonder if you have fuel in your generator or if the nearest fuel station would be closed by the time third mainland prison decides to release you.
There are more nuances, for those who form an ever increasing middle class, there’s considerable worry when the time comes to buy your first “Tokunbo” car. Everyone is excited and wants to chip in of course!
You’ll join a throng of Nigerians in defying ineffective government’s bans against second hand cars to buy your own. There’s no pride in referring to a car that’s been driven for seven years by someone else as “new”- after all this is the Nigeria where there’s a generator aptly named “I better pass my neighbor”.
For the middle class, this is the goal- not to amass, but to surpass whoever their neighbors are.
Back to the conversation about your new Tokunbo car. Of course sensible folks will remind you that the best car for the Nigerian road is a “Jeep” and in the event that you can’t afford an SUV, you can by no means buy a car that’s too low.
It’s all fun and games until you’re picking your exhaust pipe out of a pothole and begging touts to help you push your car.
When you make a choice, remember to take it to church to get some anointing oil on the engine. Since our roads are death traps, you’ll need some omniscience to guard you from becoming a statistic in FRSC’s annual report.
Even when you don’t feel up to it, you find yourself trying to iron 7 shirts, not because you enjoy this chore, but because if PHCN interrupts power, you’re fucked!
In all of this, remember that there’s a mantra you must never forget. Whatever happens, tell yourself “it is well”- it is the sort of religious acceptance with which all things are borne.
So, when your pastor cajoles you into giving a tenth of a take home pay that barely takes you home, put your chin up. If you see him after the church service, surrounded by a retinue of aides and security men in his convoy of posh cars, don’t despair.
After all, you’re Nigerian and it is well!