I am about to become the black sheep of the family.
I am terrified at writing this. Well, that is not completely true sha.
I rather think it will be pretty easy to write this. I have been loyal all these years and I care about my country.
But my country does not care about me.
Doing what I am about to do is akin to a family member breaking an unspoken conspiratorial silence by coming out to speak about the plenty skeletons in their closet.
We are not supposed to betray our families.
We are meant to whisper to ourselves the things that hurt us so that strangers do not hear them and ridicule us.
And even when strangers confront us with the facts that we hide, we are to rise and defend our families in unison.
The family bond of silence must be protected even if it means ignoring the smell of a corpse in the compound while shouting over the fence that everything is fine.
But I have to come out blaring that everything is not fine in my country.
There are many good things about us as a country and they are mostly embedded in our personalities; our food, our music and our culture (this is a cocktail of good and bad sha).
So I am coming out of the ‘Naija no dey carry last’ believer’s closet today.
These are the top 10 things I hate about my country.
And they are listed in no particular order.
- I hate the FACT that electricity is still a major issue.
I hate handling generators or hearing the noise emanating from them.
I hate it when inverter batteries are going and no longer last.
I hate asking ‘is there light?’
I hate that the light goes off more times than I care to count every single day.
But guess what I hate the most?
I hate that I can’t help but feel grateful when there actually is light.
At this stage in my life, I am annoyed at how my emotions are tied to the presence or absence of electricity.
- I hate how normal it is for people to casually expel bodily wastes wherever and whenever they wish.
People spit, urinate and even defecate indiscriminately.
Last week, as I was driving into my compound, I saw a guy standing right in front of a gutter urinating.
No one paid him any mind. This is not okay.
- I absolutely hate that our policemen feel no shame at accepting a squeezed low denomination currency in full view.
ALSO READ: Run, the Nigerian police is NOT your friend – Abiodun Kuforiji Nkwocha
I hate that they beg for money from motorists in their uniforms with guns in their hands and this is seen as a normal thing.
If a policeman can be comfortable extorting civilians, is it possible for him to pass up a hefty sum to allow a crime take place?
I mean, if you are always begging me for puff puff, what will happen if someone offered you half of all my puff puff if you let them steal it?
- I hate that it is all in a day’s work to see people with severe mental illnesses walking around with matted dreadlocks and mechanic brown clothing.
I hate that we are a country that does not protect the vulnerable.
It is common place to see blind people, disabled people, sick people (who are not drug addicts) begging for alms, especially in traffic.
I think that people who are disabled should have some consideration.
This is a country that is tough, even if you are able .
- I hate that queues rarely matter unless you are in a filling station and angry drivers are watching in full glare and will not allow anyone to shunt.
Even then, know that when the filling station has fuel, people still get a priority pass that regular people can have access to for a fee.
This happens everywhere.
When my mother and I were at a court to process my father’s next of kin paper, I was patiently waiting in the official queue watching staff walk people right into the office we were waiting in line to get into.
My mum got fed up and went to the window of the office and called a staff.
In 10 minutes we were done.
Of course, we had to part with some money.
For a fee, anything is possible in Nigeria.
- I hate how we use religion irreverently as a rouse or a cover to hide who we truly are.
I once walked into an organisation and I was forced to participate in an early morning devotion, complete with a moving sermon from the CEO.
I liked it and relaxed. I told myself I was dealing with godly people.
Some months later, I learnt that it was just a thing he did to impress people.
The ‘real him’ was horrendous.
It confuses me when people coat their language with a spiritual halo and then lie without batting an eyelid.
In Nigeria, you don’t just ever take a man’s word as his bond.
No one believes anyone just like that. We use our words to cleverly get by.
Believe us at your peril. This is why there is nothing you can tell us about Michael in 90 Days Fiance being in love with Angela.
- Would this list be complete if I didn’t mention our politicians?
I mean our politics of stomach infrastructure.
For a few thousand Naira, a mandate is easily bought.
A politician could have been abusive and inactive for three and a half years and suddenly appear laden with rice, Ankara and 500 Naira, tied to small chop packs and people would vote for him.
I hate that our politicians have kept us in perpetual hunger and have turned normal things like sinking a borehole into an extraordinary achievement stemming from their magnanimity.
I hate that roads are still part of things we are promised.
I hate that they are all the same as these politicians. I hate how helpless we, the masses, seem.
- I hate NTA. It is sh**tty. Nothing more to add.
- I hate government hospitals.
I hate that they are mostly morgues in waiting.
I hate that there is no sense of urgency in most hospitals and that you could have a patient in the hospital carrying out routine tests from privately owned labs.
I hate that they are ill equipped.
I hate that you will pay for an admission into the hospital and aside from the bill, you will be hounded to purchase everything that is needed, down to hand gloves.
I hate that death is cheap and easy. This takes me to probably the biggest thing I hate.
- I hate that life seems to have no value in Nigeria.
Hundreds will die in Barkin Ladi, and life goes on. 78 will die in Benue, life goes on.
50 die in Cross River, life goes on.
Over 100 soldiers die in Borno, life goes on.
The body count is normal. We see the mangled and headless corpses, life goes on.
Soldiers die in a massacre while defending the country and to prevent it from affecting the political careers of politicians and the death toll is hidden.
Families hear of deaths on social media and the army denies such taking place.
Sick, sick, sick.
I hate how normal it is to see a dead body lying on the road while people side step it to go about their jobs.
I hate that people are killed violently with body parts removed because someone believes it will make him wealthy or win a political positions.
I saw a white woman organise an ambulance for someone just lying on the floor.
It was strange to her.
I really hate that life is cheap and death is easy and no one pauses to think of how to make this stop.
I love Nigeria. It is purely a romantic love… you know, land-of-my-birth, soil-my-flesh kind of thing.
I am Nigerian. But let the truth be told; this country is hard to not to hate.