The everyday life of a Nigerian is marked with the throes and thrills of life. This side of the planet is governed by one essential skill, the ability to switch from madness to meekness, from rage to exuding radiance, from a fighter to a peacemaker and vice versa, in the fastest possible means. To be all shades of colour without assuming a permanent form. To be everything and nothing, while trying to maintain the equilibrium of sanity. In philosophical terms, this would be summed in a book as, ‘Adaptation and Flexibility.’ But I’m not a philosopher {our head no carry that kine book jhor}.

If you’ve ever been in a place where Nigerians are gathered, a place of worship, banks {queues especially}, grocery stores, inside a bus, or at open markets, you would understand how life-saving the skill of making snap decisions to fit into any position can be. And how much of fire and ice we can simultaneously be.

I remember an experience from back in the day. I had had a long day combing the streets of Lagos in my khaki and jungle boots in search of a PPA. Efforts to secure a juicy Place of Primary Assignment for my mandatory one-year youth service to the nation had been futile. Feeling exhausted, I decided to call it a day and continue my search the next day. I stood alongside dozens of people at the bus stop, waiting to get a bus. It was some minutes past 5’O clock, traffic had already begun to build-up. With my headset plugged to my phone, I jammed to Kizz Daniel’s “Eko as we waited for a bus.

Boarding a bus at a crowded bus stop during rush hour requires a special type of skill— craze. I stopped playing my song and joined in the mad rush. Finally, after a long struggle, I settled at the rear end of the bus. I was lucky enough to get a seat by the window, a favorite spot for any regular bus commuter. I reached for the pocket of my cargo pant to continue playing my song. Reaching into my pocket, I was met with a whole new reality, my phone was gone! In disturbed awe, I looked at the headphone hanging carelessly around my neck, the other end swimming in free air.

I tried to solve the mystery of my phone’s disappearance in my head and reached a discovery. What I thought was the door handle and sharp edges of seats in the bus pulling me back were actually the hands of a pickpocket, reaching for my phone. I quickly reached for the breast pocket of my khaki shirt and felt a mild relief, I still had my money with me. With nobody to share my ordeal with, I sunk on the seat in heartbreak as I lamented for violating the age-long principle of, shine ya eye well well. I had violated this principle from the Book of Elders – Nigerian Guide and paid dearly with my phone. The rule was simple; never be so overwhelmed with grabbing an opportunity that you become an opportunity. Hence, be alert at all times and on all sides.

To be continued…


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13 Responses

  1. I can relate o 😂😂😂. Being a Nigerian should count as a skill on our CV sef. But through all the good, the bad, and ugly days, love being Nigerian.

    Kudos to you Desert.

  2. I can relate o 😂😂😂. Being a Nigerian should count as a skill on our CV sef. But through all the good, the bad, and ugly days, We love being a Nigerian.

    Kudos to you Desert.

  3. “Never be so overwhelmed with an opportunity that you become an opportunity.” I’ve never thought of “shine ya eye well well” in this light. I just knew it was necessary for survival 😂.

    Well written bruv!

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