The recent events in Nigeria have been heartbreaking and eyeopening. Eyeopening in revealing how morally bankrupt the government, especially the president is. And I know that not all those in government are bad but unfortunately in this scenario the bad eggs far outweigh the good ones. As a Nigerian in diaspora who has not lived in Nigeria before it has opened my eyes to many things and understanding why some in our parents generation may be the way they are.
Going to Nigeria in the past I quickly realised the wide gap between the rich and poor. That is not to say that there is a middle ground but the fact still remains that the vast majority do live in poverty. You literally have to hustle for everything. The welfare state, is hardly, if at all barely there. You really have to look out for yourself. And the government has a major part to play in this.
Now, imagine a person who grew up in such an environment and then came to the UK as an adult after studying or through work. Understanding the welfare state in the UK may come as a stark surprise. And it may not come as a surprise if such an individual may be more conservative in their views based on what they say growing up. They may not understand why a welfare state is there and why people cannot just thrive overnight because if they were able to do it then everyone else should. Growing up here in the UK I know that things are not that clear cut. Now I am not saying that every Nigerian that comes here is now a conservative. No. What I am saying is understanding the rationale more behind it. Ultimately people are free to have whatever political ideologies that they want.
Hardness/ Over resilience
I can only imagine that growing up in an environment where you literally need to hustle for almost everything, because even with a degree unemployment happens, that you become resilient. However is there such a thing as being over resilient? Being harsh? Also, whilst I never will agree with parents dictating what their children should study, I do understand why some may have pushed their children into roles where you are guaranteed a job after such as medicine, law, STEM subjects and the like. Because when you have seen the struggles of others and maybe of your own you do not want your children to go through such. I have often felt that as first generation British Nigerians in the UK some of us young people can be overly hard on our parents and complain about their harshness. Once again I am not excusing it but rather coming to a better understanding of how the state of Nigeria does affect us all especially if you grew up there and how this could have impacted our parents.
I am also understanding why Nigerians may be the funniest group I have come across; it is a coping mechanism. Because truly if you do not find something to smile about you will just find yourself crying or lamenting about the state of the country every day. So really, as a Nigerian humour is not really a choice, but more of a way to cope. 'Suffering and smiling'. This is not always a bad thing but recent events have shown that people are tired and nobody is laughing.
We have all witnessed how the president especially has dismissed the Lekki Massacre, and broadly speaking the massacre that happened in other parts of Lagos and the country on Tuesday 20th October 2020. Untrue propaganda has been everywhere working and aiming to dismiss the real account of what happened. Certain media outlets have also been in on it too. Thank God for the social media age that we are in. No, you are not crazy, it did happen. We all saw the live on DJ Switch's instagram account. People were shot and people are missing. Lights were switched off and CCTV cameras removed as soldiers killed the civilians that they are meant to protect. It happened. And no matter how much the government tracks to cover their bloody tracks, they did it. It makes me wonder how much of Nigerian history has been altered. How many lies? Hmm. And just think about some of the traumatic things that our parents may have seen and how they may have doubted themselves based on how the government is quick to overlook and not acknowledge their wrongdoing.
Because it is easy to shout about the 'Nigeria they don't show you' and cue the 'palatable' parts of the country and it is easy to rave and be excited about 'Detty December' as a Nigerian in diaspora. But THIS is the Nigeria they don't show you, not even the government because they want to sweep their treacherous crimes under the gravel, out of sight and out of mind. This is Nigeria. And we must be real about what our country is like.
#EndSARS is more than ending police brutality. It is about dismantling bad governance. I feel a bit helpless as to what I can do as a Nigerian in diaspora but I do feel the pain and I also want change for my country.
R.I.P. to ALL who were killed by police and soldiers on 20th October 2020 and all victims of police brutality at the hands of SARS and other units.