Duplicity can be explained, in a way, as saying one thing while deep within you another thing entirely different is happening.
There is something about living in the western part of Nigeria that has raised the issue of duplicity to the surface for me.
Having being born and raised in the North and lived there for most of my life, I am unaccustomed to the duplicity on the level I find living in Lagos. I don’t get how people say nice things to each other, go to great lengths to pretend respect while in actual fact they hate the individual in question.
I don’t understand how artisans cleverly and respectfully string a person along and you find yourself waiting for weeks for them to do the job always believing what they say… i.e they were on their way to your place when an accident happened, when their uncle died, when their phone fell from Okada, when their son fell sick… sometimes they are even so close to your house that they can see your gate and yet they never seem to make it.
Our security man asked our landlord for permission to set up a kiosk against our fence. Our landlord asked him to ask the tenants. He quickly asked and we agreed.
At least there would be someone always at the gate instead of searching for him, we reasined.
Our landlord chatted with all the tenants that evening to tell us to say no to the security man. Only we had said yes already.
The landlord was furious. But ehm… if you did not want a kiosk against your fence, why did you not tell the young man when he asked? After a couple of months, the landlord couldn’t take it anymore and asked the guy to dismantle it. The guy leaves the job that very night.
Why is it so difficult to be plain, to just say what we are thinking? Why all the mind games and manipulations?
Working here in the West is the most challenging thing I have ever done. Especially working with my tribesmen. I stupidly do the candid Northern thing every single time. I keep assuming people are my friends because they are friendly to me. But I keep learning and relearning that sweet words and a smiling face are not necessarily indications of true friendship. People will pretend to be with you so that you like them. They will then pretend to be with your arch enemy as well. The logic is so that they are always in a win-win position.
I find it sickening and cowardly.
I now consider open hostility a gift. When you hate me and you show me, I feel more comfortable interacting with you. At least I know exactly how you stand.
Duplicity, to be fair, is not a western Nigerian problem. It is a people problem. For some reason, people run away from awkward situations even as they create more awkwardness.
I do not get why a man is dating a woman (or vice versa) and he knows in his heart that she is not the one. He even has met and is dating ‘the one’ and yet continues to string this lady along. He proceeds to propose and prepare for a wedding without telling the side chic who does not know she is a side chic. Then overnight, wedding bells clang loudly. And a heart is shattered irreparably. I once heard of a guy that borrowed his side chic’s car for a function happening one weekend. She even generously filled up the tank.
This dude went and got married using the car in the wedding convoy.
When we love, why can’t we say we love?
When we don’t love anymore, we should be able to say it.
Adulthood is so complicated because of all these mind games. Unnecessary hurting and counter hurting because of duplicity.
And then when you are the lone voice that is candid, you are unable to fit in.
I am not a saint. I just have very little filters. And it is a problem.
Is it too late to learn? I can’t keep sticking out like a sore thumb.