Hopeless Nation, Hopeful People

A question that’s plagued me since social media journalism and analysis attained near-mainstream popularity is: Why, if you’re so convinced that Nigeria is doomed, are you not hightailing your ass out of here? If the consensus from the emerging intelligentsia is that we’re on the brink of an apocalyptic implosion, should we not be doing everything in our power to ensure that we escape before the tribulations start?


People talk about getting [tourist] visas for everyone in their family and all, but (1) I don’t think the usually congested route to MMIA would suddenly open up for us to flee sedately if that day of crisis came; and (2) that still sounds like their hedging, meaning either that they/we do not really think things are that bad, or that this almost-certain catastrophe is not quite certain to happen.


Okay, fair enough, without boring you with the dismal indices with which you are already familiar, the prognosis does not look too good. But if we’re staying put, it’s either because we ‘ve decided we have nowhere else to go, or we secretly know (or hope) that things will get better. And even if we don’t believe things will get better, since we’re stuck, it’s probably in our best interests to make things get better. I mean, we’re stuck here anyway, so we do we have to lose?


In the midst of my musings, I have found some suggestions in music. And while the 2 songs I want to share are from the same “Save Nigeria” genre as Veno Marioghae’s Nigeria Go Survive, Kingley Bucknor’s Let’s Dave Nigeria, and King Sunny Ade’s Nigeria Yi Ti Gbogbo Wa Ni, these two songs have struck a different chord for me (yes, pun intended).


The first song is Ese Peter’s The Prayer.



Ese sings:


May all of your days be as bright as the sun

And all of your fears all fade with the dawn

And when the storms come, they will come like a flood

But not for long, no, not for long


May all of our children reach out to the wind

Find the magic, like kings and queens

And when the sky falls, it will fall like a war

But not for long, no, not for long


The second song, which resonates even more deeply for me, is Timi Dakolo’s Great Nation.



Timi sings about us taking a stand and healing our land. He sings further:


We’re all we have, we’ll defend our land

We believe in this nation, and we know we’ll get there

We’re all we have, we’ll defend our land

We believe in Nigeria and the promise she holds

And that one day we’ll shine like the sun

We’re a great nation


For me, these songs are different from the previous Save Nigeria songs because, rather than the usual do-your-part-and-I’ll-do-mine tack, they inspire hope. Now, it might seem a huge U-turn for this logic merchant to suddenly start peddling hope, but all will truly be lost once hope is lost. Nothing hopeless is worth fighting for. Of course, hope will not result in overnight changes to this system, but guess what? There will be no overnight changes anyway. They will take time and will require sustained pressure on government, as well as an ethical revolution on our part.


If we’re not running away, realising that “we’re all we have” and making the choice to “defend our land” sounds like a good alternative to me. You?

6 thoughts on “Hopeless Nation, Hopeful People

  1. Many people are quite clueless about what it takes to evacuate their families. They assume that because they can afford between 1-3 international holidays a year a UK/US visa will somehow get them out of here if shit hits the fan. I lived in South Sudan the last few years and from practical experience, this is how it works.
    Living abroad is expensive and we don’t want to pack up and leave until we are absolutely sure, besides someone has to work to fund the hasty exit. So no one ever knows/ wants to believe that shit will hit the fan until it does. The people who know already have their families tucked away somewhere safe and can afford to keep them there indefinitely. Commercial flights will stop running. Expats and diplomats will be the first out. Then the truly wealthy. Then non-nationals. We will not be able to go online and book tickets and then trot off to pay at the banks. Cash will be the only language spoken and even then, given our population there will probably not be enough private exorbitantly priced planes to get us out. We will be forced to leave most of our belongings behind.

    Shit will get real when there’s no petrol cos the army needs it all. No work, no salary. No banks. No electricity. No food to buy even if you have money. Massive inflation.

    Anyone who wants a split (which would never be peaceful) does not realise how devastating war can be. How it feels to lose EVERYTHING. Nigeria has to work. We have to make it work.


  2. Pingback: Hopeless Nation, Hopeful People: Commentary From South Sudan | TexTheLaw

  3. I had a conversation with a friend who told me I was one of the lucky ones because I live abroad. She is working hard to save enough money to leave. I hear this sentiment from others as well. Maybe more people would have left if it was easy. It’s one thing to get a holiday visa, it’s another thing to emigrate. The situation may be dire, but what story are you going to tell the foreign embassy to grant you permanent stay?

    Some people live in Nigeria with a quiet desperation and if offered the opportunity will leave. I like to think that Nigerians at home or abroad hope for a better day. But are we ready to do the work? I remember your post- The Benevolent Dictator Theory. Are we still hoping for The Messiah?


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