A TYPICAL NIGERIAN MALADY

In the Nigerian parlance, the term wahala represents problems or serious trouble. ‘No wahala’ on the other hand means an absence of either. No wahala is a rather popular phrase today and is readily bandied by a lot of Nigerians.We use it to signify that all is well and to show that things are going on fine.

Is it really true that our lives are problem free? Or is it just a sign of the unbounded optimism of the average Nigerian? Or are we are just brandishing empty epithets which we do not really believe in? Whatever the case, it is quite baffling to me when we respond in this manner.

It is stating the obvious saying that Nigeria is full of anomalies and inconsistencies. Maybe our response is because of our deeply religious nature, which generally has no bearing on how we behave. We probably have been indoctrinated from childhood in one the various religions that dominate the country. We are thus taught to make positive confessions, especially if we are members of a particular religion. We therefore refuse to see and speak any evil. Part of it may also be cultural, as most parts of the nation do not believe in speaking ill of the dead.

I rather think it portrays us as a people living in denial, because the first step towards solving any problem, is acknowledging the problem exists. A Christian, who’s obviously weak and ill, will tell you I am strong, believing it’s a sign of faith, while a deprived and poverty stricken Muslim will tell you it’s the will of Allah. God thus promotes disease and poverty if you critically analyse it.

Our lives and society are trouble filled yet we go about with the attitude that nothing is amiss. Acknowledging our problems is not a sign of weakness or lack of faith as we have been taught to believe. Rather it shows an abiding faith and presence of mind, that something is wrong and needs urgent fixing. Showing such faith, we then take steps to tackle the problem(s).

We seem to be afraid as a people to admit that something is not right with our lives. As if such admission is symptomatic with failure. Failure actually results from not taking action when it is necessary to do so and taking action begins with acknowledging that all is not well.

This sort of attitude also leads to making excuses for failures when they occur. We become superstitious and use all sorts of platitudes to explain why we failed, rather than accepting blame for our acts of omission or commission. We should not be like the ostrich which buries its head in sand, believing that it is hiding from danger.

As the popular song by P-Square goes, Wahala de!

Piece written by Oke Okpomo

Okpomoy2k@yahoo.com  Follow him on twitter@kpomskerio

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