I remember when the ASUU strike of 2018 started and there was agitation in the media like every single day, someone personally told me on instant message that we are here complaining, that in their time, they stayed at home for 6 months… This is Sha one of the ways to get yourself ignored by me, the quickest, still being, “Hello Angle”…
Weeks later, I stumbled upon a tweet exactly like that again… You guys should chill, in our time we stayed at home for 5 months. If I’d clicked the reply button, Twitter 140 characters would not have been enough for everything I had to say, so I’ll just…
One thing I’ve noticed in Nigerians that we all do, subconsciously or not, like it’s ingrained in the constitution even – we glorify suffering! Like, the more you’ve suffered, the more your invincible gold medal increases.
If a woman suffers a miscarriage or loses a child, in comforting her, someone would say something along the lines of… Pull yourself together, me that I had 4 miscarriages, did I die? (On God, if I slap you!) Or you lose your husband or parent, and in platitudes, they tell you how their entire generation was burned to ashes in a wild fire in the 70s in Enugu state. LIKE, REALLY??
Is all this absolutely necessary, or is it just misery looking for company, because, on God, it’s not comforting at all, it practically makes light of the person’s pain or grief and all but makes the person look like they’re overreacting.
I would have said, My mama said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, but my mama ain’t said nothing, so I’ll just say it myself. PLEASE! EJOOR! EDAKUN! BIKO! (INSERTS ENTREATIES IN 36 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES) The next time you feel like pouring out your life problems on someone who’s going through something and grieving, take a moment to reflect, does this help this person, is my story constructed in a way to give them hope or to prove a point, a suffering point. If the latter is the case, just chill, you’ll get your turn, don’t hijack someone’s pain and make it all about you.
The next time they’re doing 10 years challenge, you can pour out all your suffering in your caption, it’s even more fitting, or just pick a random thursday and throwback to your pain, we will celebrate with you, because you’ve been through hell and back. Don’t go to where someone is grieving and be yarning dust, cos that one is just plain witchcraft without the broom.
Regarding the ASUU strike, one of the reasons it wasn’t as talked about in 2013 as it is now, social media was still gaining traction then, that was the time before influencer marketing and social media strategy became a life occupation. Then, people looked at those who spent time online as jobless – well, jokes, because all the millions are made on social media these days.
Anyway, it was convenient to be silent those days, and patiently wait for vanguard or The punch to report what’s going on, but now, the youths have apparently taken that power back, the power of social media. If you’re observant, for the duration of the strike, people were constantly tweeting the asuu handle, and all the ministries of the Federal government, to do something. At a point, the #EndAsuuStrike hashtag went viral. So, when you tell this people to chill, that in your time, you spent donkey years at home, remember that they’re doing something, when you did nothing. Abi to subscribe data everyday to insult asuu, ko easy ra ra.
It goes without saying that the government and economy we had then, and now are not even close to being the same. To get things done now, you practically have to scream at the top your voice, organize protests, shut down streets and sacrifice two white flying cows. Back then, everyone was complacent, because Las Las, something would be done. Now, no day is certain. You could just wake up and find that public tertiary education has gone the way of the public primary and secondary schools – to the smithereens.
So, if students are protesting and agitating, how they know best, don’t think they’re disturbing you or being too extra, they’re in the purview of their legal rights and otherwise.
There is no award for doing nothing, as there is not award for suffering.
Nigerians, do take note, with love!
By Doris Okoronkwo