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Making life hard

Making life hard

I have always wondered to myself if I am odd, different, and since I have come to live and work in Nigeria I find myself asking that question even more. You see I really can’t understand why it is that so many people in this weird and wonderful world appear to want to make life as hard as possible, and since arriving here I have found the ultimate example of just that mentality.

Now I know that life here can be really hard for some, for many, but equally, the fact remains that this is a country rich in oil, soon to be even more rich in natural gas, blessed with amazing weather and vast swaths of rich farm lands and yet, when you look at the place with cold eyes, you see a country that has electricity and power issues, a really poor road network, terrible hospitals and schools, and an alarming level of poverty. Massive numbers of the population cannot read or write, and corruption is so common place, so natural, it is a core fabric of this proud nation.

This country is also one of real contrasts and contradictions and I think one great example of this is the books for sale here. When you travel around Nigeria, and you go through the airports, an experience in itself, it is one place where books are for sale. But what really strikes you is the type of books, here there are only two genres of book, religion or business books. Now for me I think it best I don’t comment on the religion side of things, but it is the business books that most fascinate me. Under titles like, “How to be a great Leader” or “Business for Dummies”, the list of American written business advice titles is endless. And they lap them up. Equally the quantity of “Barak is King” books is also high and it is defiantly here you can see just what he means to some people in this world. But why does a country that reads so much of these business self-help books be so bad at business, and be so bad at making business simple and easy. I am sure not one of those books preaches the message, that petrol money, small smalls, chop chops, or Eating the Money is the right way, or is any way to achieving greatness.

The mindset of so many people I meet here is that they are owed a living, either the Government will provide, or God will provide, what you don’t see so often is the attitude that they will provide for themselves. Yes with some, they understand that if you want it then go out and get it, work for it, make it happen for yourself, but it really is only with the few. Most Nigerians simply do not have such a mind set. One reason I have come across for this, is a real and in places a total, disbelief of the system. They just do not trust that the system is open for them to achieve as an individual. Your average young Nigerian just appears to feel that they can only reach a certain level, that there is a ceiling to their ambition, and not one made of glass, but one made of solid steel, an unbreakable ceiling.

I will never understand why this amazing nation is not the total power-house of the African continent, or maybe I should say, never accept why it is not. It has so much, it has so much more than it even knows it has, they study hard, they read hard, they access the internet and with a lot they appear very eager to learn, they definitely want more, yet somewhere deep in the minds of these people simply want to continue to make their own life harder and harder. If that ever changes, Nigeria could rule the continent and be where it really should be.

 

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