“Nigerians are one of the happiest people in the world”.
Whenever I am reminded of this saying and realizing that might be what the world thinks of us and the most painful, that the president, members of house of assembly, governors, local government chairmen, councilors and other governmental ruling bodies and individuals think this exactly of the people in their constituencies.
The thought that runs through my mind in these times, I believe are similar to what Leonardo Da Vinci must have been thinking when he painted the illustrious painting of Mona Lisa. She smiles yet she sorrows all within one face.
Nigerians should be credited for what my mentor (Fela Durotoye) calls our resilience. Nigerians have perfected the art of stretching, adapting, managing and above all laughing heartily and attending churches and mosques to praise God for little mercies.
Our leaders have mistakenly misinterpreted our smiles and laughter. They do not now what lies behind the smiling lips and teary eyes and they give a soothing conclusion to themselves, it has to be happiness.
I think we remain happy because of our fears. We do not want war. We are scared we would loose more than a war is worth. Our leaders need to be aware of a fact though, Happiness is not contentment. There are unshed tears in the eyes of many, untold sorrows in the heart of millions, unattended hunger in the bellies of millions of children, death lingers at the doors of millions of families because of the lack of basic things that maintain life in the civilized world which are good roads, medical care, electricity, affordable housing, quality education, and security.
Dear leaders, that is the Heart Cry of the Heart Beat of Africa. We also smile because we hope against hope that one day you would wake up to your right responsibilities to us or leave us and leave the reign of rulership of our land to another and we still wait.
Our desires are not lofty dreams like yours, dear leaders. We are not interested in acquiring the Bentleys, Pajeros, Lexus, not in stacking away unfathomable millions of dollars in bank accounts or flying first class around the world and performing cosmetic surgeries without blinking an eyelid to the stricken poverty of the people. They are simple, we want to enjoy basic and fundamental amenities and provisions due any citizen in a civilized nation.
We hope you yield our gravely humble request or can we conclude dear leaders, that there is a possibility that you are uncivilized and so do not know or understand the needs of civilized citizens. Kindly let us know if this is the case, so we can know how best to direct our efforts in getting attendant ears to our cries because we may appear to laugh and smile, but our hearts wail in deep anguish.