Essays / The Pontifical Papers

EVERYTHING IN NIGERIA IS GOING TO KILL YOU | By Ayo Sogunro

There are two things you need to note: first, the title above is not panic propaganda. Of course, it sounds like one, talks like one and smells like one, yet it’s no propaganda, it’s a fact. But even if you disagree with this premise, then let’s call it propaganda, but it is one that has become necessary and urgent at this point.

Second, I’m quite serious about the intent stated in the title: Nigeria is out to kill you. The country is going to hell in a hand basket. This is not a drill. And we have arrived at this point simply because you don’t care. If you understand this statement, then you need not read any further.

Are you are still wondering how we got to this point? There are many articles with superb analysis of the current crisis. These have listed all the factors responsible: from an incompetent president to malevolent and influential sponsors of terrorist activities. But the singular—if remote—cause of Nigeria’s current situation is this: we stopped caring about Nigeria. At a point, we gave up on our government and country and became irrationally selfish.

Look, the struggle for food is real. Surviving in Nigeria today has boiled down to the ability to fill your stomach—literally and metaphorically—and the stomachs of your family members, I get that. I’m a part of that struggle. I earn my living as a lawyer and I try every day to live comfortably on my livelihood. Nigeria has no plan to feed you and you have to sort yourself out. I have no arguments against that in principle. Except this: you still have to care.

And here’s what happened to me last night: I had just read about the new bomb blast in Abuja—almost immediately after reading an email from a client in Asia. The client’s email was important—and as a professional, my response should be immediate and devoid of emotion. After all, money must be made. But yet, at that moment, I was possessed of a wild madness, for—within the larger scheme of things in Nigeria today—that email, the client and every other money-making channel is as self-sufficient as a bottle of water floating in a flood. I turned off my phone and went to bed, angry. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how much I earn individually when my safety to earn the money is no longer guaranteed.

And that’s the bad news: the Nigerian nightmare has changed. Nigeria has evolved from “not taking care of you” into “actively trying to kill you“. Human induced deaths are intensifying. And as far as a reasonable layman’s analysis can be relied on, things are going to get worse. Much worse.

The Igbos had a taste of this concept during the civil war. They understood the idea of a country being out to kill a portion of its citizens. Also, Nigerian society in general has also experienced this minutely in the deaths caused by bad roads, fake drugs, faulty constructions, poor health service and other substandard government services. Experiences that propelled us to, individually, search for alternatives from private sources or migrate to the care of foreign governments.

But these deaths at the hand of poor services are insignificant compared to what is coming for us now. Corruption kills slowly, but bombs and guns don’t waste time. Things have escalated now, and both the government and the opposition have nothing to say. Nigeria is going to kill us all—and this is not a metaphor.

Unless you start caring.

You have to understand that the Nigerian struggle is no longer about feeding your family. It is now about keeping your family from being killed. Write this on wall: the struggle has changed. Nigeria isn’t just a corrupt country anymore; it is now a dangerous country. And if you don’t change your thinking and actions along with this fact, you are going to die—or someone close to you will.

And no, prayer isn’t the answer now—if it ever was. If prayer is your thing, by all means, pray. You’re going to need that confidence builder. But don’t mistake the tranquilizer for the cure. Just as you install a car alarm and fasten the locks on your gate, you will also have to take some physical or mental action before you get killed by Nigeria.

And there’s more bad news: you can’t secure yourself by isolation. You can scramble to the top of your career all by yourself, you can fill your bank accounts by your own game plan, in fact—you don’t need any help to get up and about in life. In life. Everything you’re doing right now only makes sense because you expect to be alive in the next few minutes. But your safety is no longer a valid proposition.

And this is unfortunate because you can’t prevent yourself from being killed—all by yourself. This is why man invented society. Because isolation is dangerous. Countries exist, principally to guarantee safety. But now, your country is out to kill you.

Unless you start thinking seriously, and start caring deeply, about Nigeria’s fortunes now. Nigeria will kill you unless you start caring.

Look, you don’t have to love Nigeria. You don’t have to love this government or even love your fellow Nigerians. Love is a different issue entirely, and the gods know Nigeria—and probably your neighbour too—has done nothing to deserve your love. Love is a higher calling, it has to be earned. No, you need not love Nigeria. But you need to care about Nigeria. The same way you care about your education, the same way you care about your religion, the same way you care about your career, the way you care about your favourite sport or hobby. You have to reorient your priorities and place Nigeria at the top of your care list.

And if you still don’t understand this, then you are the problem with Nigeria. And you deserve to die by its hands. You are too involved in your private battles that you are no longer in touch with the big picture. You can no longer see the wood for the trees. You’re so caught up in your aspirations to become the main salary earner in your company that you forget there will be no company without a functional legal system. You bury your head in the sand of your goals and delight in your private accomplishments. Well, boardroom battles, market strategies, classroom troubles, bedroom issues—these will all vanish when the proverbial shit finally hits the proverbial fan. And the said shit has piled up.

You have to start caring now.

And no, caring isn’t a tweet or two; caring isn’t a Facebook like or simply sharing this article; caring isn’t your anxious expression of concern while discussing at work; caring isn’t just the 15 minute prayer topic in church.

Caring is your conscious and active engagement of the realities of your society and government through the exertion of your physical, mental and material resources.

See, society won’t transform itself magically. There is no “society” out there, waiting to do as you say. Society is the collective identity of individuals. And if the individuals don’t care, then society doesn’t care. And that society will be destroyed. If you cannot stop what you’re doing today—if you cannot stop it for a second and take some time to reflect on how your actions will restore some sanity to Nigeria—then you are the problem with Nigeria.

But you don’t care. And so Nigeria is going to kill you.

And so, by all means continue to grow your cassava and your maize, pass your exams, do your job, earn your daily bread, pastor your churches, lead your prayers, teach your classes, fill out all those forms, strike that new deal, reply all your emails, and chase up those clients.

But unless you already have an exit plan for when things go to hell, then you might as well go to an undertaker and book your coffin today.

Because: everything in Nigeria is going to kill you.

____________________________________

Ayo Sogunro is the author of The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other Sorry Tales. A lawyer by profession, he also indulges in socio-legal philosophy on this blog. Interact with him on Twitter via @ayosogunro.

____________________________________

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39 thoughts on “EVERYTHING IN NIGERIA IS GOING TO KILL YOU | By Ayo Sogunro

  1. This is really time for sober reflection. Do I really care about this nation like I do about my wife, my children, my career, my real madrid etc! Do I really care… From the depth of my heart?

    Like

    • Sincerely, I don’t give a shit; that’s why Ayo’s write up is a sobering one for me… Cos unless I/We start caring, this country really will go to hell. And after all this time of not caring, can I really go back? *sigh*

      Like

  2. Same thing I was thinking this morning. We have to move beyond “simply sharing this article; anxious expressions of concern while discussing at work; and the 15 minute prayer topic in church”. We can pray, and we should pray, but we also need to respect the principles of life and right now I believe that principle is “whatever we sow/allow to thrive(corruption and the likes) as a nation, we will reap.

    Like

  3. Pingback: EVERYTHING IN NIGERIA IS GOING TO KILL YOU | By Ayo Sogunro | Ayo Sogunro’s Chaise | UBrave

  4. Thanks Ayo for this very stark and clearly written opinion. My real fear is that we don’t have much time for engagement anymore. That the explosion we’ve always (secretly) feared but thought would never happen has finally hit us. Our government has given up and we’re now all alone. With news of a US embassy security alert on Lagos- I fear its really all over now.

    By the way, I’m one of those praying people and I will keep on praying, by God’s grace.

    Like

  5. Nice piece but I can’t help but wonder…how do we care about Nigeria? We can pray, we can launch protests, we can get involved in ousting the bad eggs in leadership but does the average nigerian have the time to care about Nigeria? Nigeria is a country where the government uses poverty as a tool to manipulate its citizens. Like you rightly stated, every nigerian is concerned with ‘filling his belly’ because there are no structures in place to provide even the basics. In a country where there’s no electricity (my namibian friends consider this impossible, by the way), there’s no running water, good roads are hard to come by and health facilities are sorry excuses, every nigerian has been tasked with being his own local government, state government and federal government. I don’t think we don’t want to care, I think we don’t have time on our hands to care. Will we start devoting time to caring when we are in traffic for up to 6 hours each day and still have to work under questionable conditions? Besides time, I think no one is ready to die for Nigeria. Why? Because the same citizens you’re ‘dying’ for will ask you “who sent you? Are we complaining?” I agree with you, each citizen MUST care if we don’t want Nigeria to go to the dogs but for that to happen, poverty needs to be alleviated to create time for us to care. Until that happens, no one will care. A hungry man is only interested in what can fill his belly. It’s not that he doesn’t want to care, he’s hungry and really can’t devote any time or attention to caring about anything else.

    Like

  6. This is the monster that we have been building over the years both the leaders and the followers.
    (all culprits)

    some have buried their heads in the sand thinking “it is not my portion”… “I am secured…”

    now the monster is fulled formed-the work of our nefarious but collective actions-rising steadily to unleash damagnow the monster is fulled now the monster is fulled formed-the work of our nefarious but collective actions-rising steadily to unleash damagnow the monster is fulled forme

    Like

  7. This is the monster that we have been building over the years both the leaders and the followers.
    (all culprits)

    some have buried their heads in the sand thinking “it is not my portion”… “I am secured…”

    now the monster is fully formed-the work of our nefarious but collective actions-rising steadily to unleash damagnow the monster is fully now the monster is fully formed-the work of our nefarious but collective actions-rising steadily to unleash damagnow the monster is fully formed

    Like

  8. Great opinion piece by Ayo Sogunro but missed to touch on some few key points: 1)This is not just a Nigeria Problem but an “African Pandemic” 2)Burundi, Rwanda, RDC, RCA, Cote D’Ivoire and now Nigeria are not isolated or separated incidents, all those “local conflicts” have a common denominator: hopelessness….the chickens have come home to roost in Africa. 3)The question is why is Nigeria going to kill you or I will broadly put why is “Africa going to kill you? Take away hope from any human being and our “mammal” primal instincts take over: This is the basic “fight or flight” response that we have when we are in stressful situations. Our youth do not see hope in their future, therefore becoming fertile ground for recruitment by any extreme fringe religious or ideological. What is going on across the continent is not a surprise, we are paying dividends from years of neglects by a “greedy leadership”.. Yes, we collectively stop caring years ago.

    Like

  9. True….. we rly need to start caring, not just for ourselves, but for our unborn kids….So many Nigerians abroad say “we need a. revolution”….and I ask: will you leave the comforts of the white man’s land or wherever come home, and join in the revolution? Or would you watch on cnn or support us in spirit? There is no revolution without death, and until we are ready to die for our nation, nothing will change….then again, in a nation divided against itself, where religion and tribe is an issue, how can there be a revolution? What cause will we fight for? Nigeria is like a body, ridden by several diseases….u need. to cure one disease at a time…. I love my country, but am I seriously willing to die for it???? Maybe….

    Like

  10. A mere restatement of what is already known. But for now, brace youself ! The worst is yet to come. God will not help you! Many more lives will be wasted! Both innocent and guilty lives. The history of mankind is a chronicle of war, violence and death. And when death stares at at a man, he can only smile back. I can’t but LOL at the fear of hypocritical and self-centred nigerians. hahahahahahahahahahahah… My only sadness is that nigerians still diefied their past and current leaders; who so much despise them. Fools die!

    ‘Yomi

    Like

  11. To start caring we first need to grow some balls and let go our selfishness. We must make soldiers of ourselves and fight for the man next to you. Only this mentality of oneness will move this country in a positive direction. Otherwise we are doomed, and if BH doesn’t kill us a bigger monster will and for all we have achieved for ourselves individually we would have lost the most important thing and thats the our pride and heritage, our country.

    Like

  12. Dude, I know it’s not relevant, but:
    1: I love the pics of you lounging at the top of the page. They made my day.
    2: You need to renew your idlemindset.com domain stat.

    That’s all for now. I just discovered your blog, and I dare say, it’s awesome – you keep being rad 😉

    Hannah from London, UK 🙂

    Like

  13. Sir, thank you for your article. I enjoyed it and agreed with most of what you said.

    The challenge I have is how to ‘consciously and actively engage in the realities of society to the point that I can change it’.

    With my little experience in participating in leadership and service positions, I have found out that much cannot be done without power….no matter how right or reasonable you are. No matter how much you protest. It is the person who holds the power who dictates the events.

    This is my frustration with Nigeria.

    Like

  14. Participants:
    ————-
    ‘bola, Kingsley Dikeocha

    Messages:
    ———
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    EVERYTHING IN NIGERIA IS GOING TO KILL YOU | By Ayo Sogunro | Ayo Sogunro’s Chaise – https://ayosogunro.com/2014/05/02/everything-in-nigeria-is-going-to-kill-you-by-ayo-sogunro/
    ‘bola:
    I skipped thru
    ‘bola:
    Not his best work so far
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    Lol @ ‘not his best work so far’. See how you said it like you’re analysing Jeffery Archer’s books.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    I think it made sense sha.
    ‘bola:
    Hehehehehe
    ‘bola:
    B-) *sips coffee and opens the newspaper to the next page*
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    Most times I’m caught between trying to distance myself from Nigeria’s issues and feeling guilty for not doing enough.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    You may say it’s better not to bother oneself with Nigeria but if you don’t have an immediate escape plan from this country for yourself and your loved ones then it’s best to start caring.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    We can’t all pretend it’s business as usual and go on hustling to make more money cause if everything scatters it’d all be pointless.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    The danger is getting too real and too close.
    ‘bola:
    Kingsley, I did care. Till I got to the point where it seemed I was alone, just killing myself with the headache-ing thoughts.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    The government frankly can’t be arsed if we all wither and die. Infact, they’d rejoice.
    ‘bola:
    The more u see how stupid Nigerians are
    ‘bola:
    The more u feel alone
    ‘bola:
    And the more the country sinks
    ‘bola:
    So, in order to live long, and focus on being happy in life, it pays to pretend not to be a Nigerian even in nigeria. Perhaps its the Ostrich approach, or joining the ‘sheeple’ in effect. But it keeps one sane, and alive
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    There’s a thin line between trying to stay sane and feigning peace in the midst of danger. The former is good, the latter isn’t.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    I felt so too. Trying to distance myself from it. You know since most Nigerians are stupid and deserve the leader they have.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    But mahn, we’re waist deep in the middle of a war.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    No point pretending it isn’t a war.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    And if there’s any time most Nigerians have been outraged about something I think it’s now.
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    I don’t see how anyone who isn’t a direct of indirect GEJ loyalist/dependent will make sense of this leadership vis-a-vis the BH crisis.
    ‘bola:
    Oh, they are making sense of it
    ‘bola:
    Ull be surprised how these multitude of idiots find a silver lining in this all catastrophe we are faced with daily
    ‘bola:
    They either accuse APC, or they ask for ‘more time for Gej’ to act
    ‘bola:
    And they go on to god bla bla bla
    ‘bola:
    Look, its un redeemable
    ‘bola:
    There’s no hope for this country
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    You really should stop going on Nairaland. Facebook doesn’t help either.
    ‘bola:
    I don’t do either
    Kingsley Dikeocha:
    We’ll see.
    ‘bola:
    However I visit LIB momentarily, and all other news sites, and I’m not dissapointed as to what to expect. You can test the pulse of Nigerias intelligence from the comments section. You will want to weep. How they think, how they speak…what they say to issues. No wonder Patience Faka Goodluck is considered by some as their Jesus.

    Like

    • Kingsley Dikeocha: Thanks for posting the conversation. it kind of lean immense credence to Ayo’s piece. We all know the apathy towards this country is rife. We even know our problems. And yes, we do know the solutions. We just aren’t got balls enough to face and fix it. More importantly, we stop caring for Nigeria.

      Like

  15. These days are worry some. There was a time I had high hopes for our country, I believed Nigeria would change for good one day. As it is now, I dare not say it will only get worse. I just pray for God’s intervention.

    Like

  16. Is there any point to this article or is it a joke? I was reading (and constantly ignoring the severaaaal “Nigeria is out to kill you”) and i didn’t anything. You claim to have to be devoid of emotion as a lawyer but this article seems like a misplaced cry.

    Like

  17. Correction: . . . i didn’t “see” anything.
    Nigeria can’t kill me for the same reason clouds can’t kill me. If you are looking for a name/land mass than can, has, and is killing people, you should research the country you seem to laud the most, ie the US.

    Like

    • It’s a country with laws that have caused the death of well over 55 million children in their country alone (a supernaturally massive underestimation) and has caused the death of far more than that in other countries.

      Like

  18. Pingback: Everything in Nigeria is Going to Kill You | Nubia TV

  19. Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:
    And if you still don’t understand this, then you are the problem with Nigeria. And you deserve to die by its hands. You are too involved in your private battles that you are no longer in touch with the big picture. You can no longer see the wood for the trees. You’re so caught up in your aspirations to become the main salary earner in your company that you forget there will be no company without a functional legal system. You bury your head in the sand of your goals and delight in your private accomplishments. Well, boardroom battles, market strategies, classroom troubles, bedroom issues—these will all vanish when the proverbial shit finally hits the proverbial fan. And the said shit has piled up.

    You have to start caring now.

    And no, caring isn’t a tweet or two; caring isn’t a Facebook like or simply sharing this article; caring isn’t your anxious expression of concern while discussing at work; caring isn’t just the 15 minute prayer topic in church.

    Caring is your conscious and active engagement of the realities of your society and government through the exertion of your physical, mental and material resources.

    See, society won’t transform itself magically. There is no “society” out there, waiting to do as you say. Society is the collective identity of individuals. And if the individuals don’t care, then society doesn’t care. And that society will be destroyed. If you cannot stop what you’re doing today—if you cannot stop it for a second and take some time to reflect on how your actions will restore some sanity to Nigeria—then you are the problem with Nigeria.

    But you don’t care. And so Nigeria is going to kill you.

    And so, by all means continue to grow your cassava and your maize, pass your exams, do your job, earn your daily bread, pastor your churches, lead your prayers, teach your classes, fill out all those forms, strike that new deal, reply all your emails, and chase up those clients.

    But unless you already have an exit plan for when things go to hell, then you might as well go to an undertaker and book your coffin today.

    Because: everything in Nigeria is going to kill you.

    Like

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  21. Pingback: Musings #6 | TIMI

  22. If everything in Nigeria will kill you, why did we wage battle for a one Nigeria? Why did the rest of the country stop Igbos from seceding. This could have led to the Yorubas and other ethnic groups having self determination as well. I think the major problem in Nigeria is divided visions. One side of the country believes it is right to protect the right of a man to marry 12 year old girls. Another side of the country is appalled by this. Yet we have representatives from both sides. How are we to make progress, if even our vision of what the country should look like is divided. My proposition: let the north and south divide. The south regardless of ethnic heterogeneity have more in common in terms of vision than the north. But yet, we think this desire to split is selfish. How long do we keep preserving a nation that fails to protect its citizens?

    Like

  23. Pingback: LOOK NIGERIANS, CAN WE PLEASE SHUT UP THE RATIONALISING? | by Ayo Sogunro | Ayo Sogunro

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