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Why it is so hard to write about Nigeria

Why it is so hard to write about Nigeria

By: Abdulrahman Yahaya

I want to write. It has been long since I did, you know, and they say such breaks are not good for the craft. That if you stayed away from writing for a while, the skill would slip away from you gradually. That you would conceive the thought, but to put them on paper would be a Herculean task. So I really want to write. But what’s there to write about?

“Lamentations about our suffering?”

No. Here, we don’t lament. We endure; we suffer and smile because we understand suffering is a global phenomenon. Lamentations are for the weak. Besides, we do not have the luxury of time to lament.

We are busy propping our national grid lest it collapses.  It is not like when it collapses, we would be plunged into darkness. No! We can afford fuel for our generators; ours is the cheapest in the world. But we don’t want to waste our golden resources. A nation that wants to progress must be frugal. We are busy pulling up the Naira too. Lately, the dollar has been bullish, striking down the Naira for all it’s worth. So, you see, we have no time. We must be busy surviving.

“What about a travelogue?”

Travel… what? We don’t write about our travels here in Nigeria anymore. There is hardly anything to write about on our roads. Forgive me. There surely are. I could write about our beautiful landscapes, well-constructed roads, and subsidised transport buses. I could write about these and more if not for the praying bead in between my fingers and the Qur’an on my lap as I travel. I need them for protection against any bandits that may be fortunate enough to escape our armed forces and try to waylay us. We are a religious country; no bandits or terrorist fashioned against our highways should prosper. We must pray.

“But you surely can write about the economy.”

The Nigerian economy? I wish I could, but I do not have the right words. To write about Nigeria’s economy, you need to possess words that would leave your readers more confused than enlightened. You need to speak in billions and trillions; you know we are that rich. Besides, why would one need to write about Nigeria’s economy when its effect is very conspicuous? You only need to run yourself by billions budgeted for renovation and refurbishment of structures that house our workaholic executives, legislators, and the judiciary. I trust you will be impressed. And if you still are not impressed, take a tour of their parking lots. These are places where the economy is visibly and truly portrayed. You need no unintelligibly written analysis.

“Maybe you should write about the effect of subsidy removal.”

You really have not been paying attention. I have told you anything that is implemented to make us suffer is dead on arrival. We have grown thick skins. Our backs do not bend to suffering, no matter the straw. And if you must know, our civil servants have been smiling to the banks to cash out an additional ₦35k to their salaries. We are doing well.

“But the authorities recently reported that the unemployment rate has hit 72 per cent. How do the unemployed ones get their own palliative?”

You don’t quit! The unemployed need no palliatives. They do not spend money transporting themselves to the office every workday. They are not the breadwinners of their families. Nobody expects a dime from them.

“So what will you write about then?”

There’s really nothing to write about.

Abdulrahman Yahaya is a graduate of English Language. He writes from Suleja, Niger State.

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