Survival in the Nigerian Way is Against All Odds

Nigerians may be some of the most hardworking people in the world, though often wrongly derided as lazy fraudsters.

A young Nigerian with big dreams.
Can he achieve his dreams in a failing nation?

Yes, Nigeria is a land of great dreamers. The problem is that these dreams mostly never come true. It does not matter whether one has one of the best qualifications or abilities obtainable for the actualization of these dreams or not, there are almost no opportunities for those who are not privileged. To be privileged here means to have strong connection to the elitist owners of big companies, big business moguls or the wealthy ruling class made up of politicians in their ranks. Where this is absent, even with one's possession of a reverred University degree or the talented mastery of a great skill, one will be left to suffer and struggle on their own in order to get by in the society.


According to data released earlier this year by the World Poverty Clock, a global poverty monitoring group, over 90 million Nigerians live on less than $1.9 a day. This is not surprising at all, especially when the Nigerian government seems to have turned its back on the people for so long. The entire policies of the current administration in power, from the onset, have only brought nothing but doom and hardship on the people. Even the rich, upon whom the privileged few depend, are crying foul. A lot are struggling to maintain the status quo. Many people who were previously favoured are losing their jobs as a result. Thus, the poverty circle continues to widen with no remedy in sight.

Notwithstanding this unfavorable statistics, the people are surviving because they are fighters. The average Nigerian citizen is a hustler who works with their own hands, to put it literally. They do not rely on the government completely for their sustenance nor do they depend on government handouts. They set their own goals and pursue them with vigor. Their dreams are their driving force. Even when there are no hopes of actualizing them, they let nothing stand in their way. They are known to be resilient and are downright in their approaches. To them, aside the provision of basic amenities, infrastructural developments and security, the government is inexistent. They can even survive in the absence of any of these, or make their own provision for same where it is needed for their survival in the face of the unavoidable difficulties imposed by harsh government policies and its ruthlessness in the control of resources.

Millions of degree holders, often after a compulsory one year of underpaid service on behalf of the uncaring government, are left with no employment to compensate them for their rigorous study while in school. These, however, do not roam the streets doing nothing, as a couple of elitist pundits often suggest. They go into Nigerian markets as retailers and marketers for business owners, they enter the roads as transport workers, and join the building industry as labourers and expertis artisans. They willingly abandon their life dreams for pursuits below their expectations. They are left with no other option because there are no better opportunities except the ones they create for themselves through hardwork.

Same goes for the uneducated ones who, though are specially trained in a set of highly skilled jobs, do not have the needed capital to pursue their dreams. With each left to face the struggles on their own in order to survive, a few who lack the Nigerian resolve to never give up begins to foray into various devious ways of amassing wealth. The majority, however, stays on course, but the rest of the world often choose to categorize everyone with the few that abandoned ship. Subsequently, instead of coming to the aid of some of these industrious people who try to migrate away from their failed society in search of better life elsewhere, around the world they are viewed with suspicion and, sometimes, disgust with no opportunity to prove the innocence of their motives. This leads to desperation among the population, and creates a problem where the people are left with no option but to do anything to make way for themselves, further casting themselves as bad people in the process.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that only a working government have the capacity to make life less difficult for its people. Until that becomes the case in their country, Nigerians should not be viewed as bad people for making efforts on their own, often harmlessly. They are hardworking folks with good intentions, bedeviled by incompetence and corruption in government. They may not all be able to achieve their dreams, but most are staying strong in the struggle for that. They are surviving, and succeeding on their own, in their own way. Even if they end up with less than $2 a day per person, they are doing so against all odds. In the long run, many break out from being the losers to become the winners.
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