What Is The Nigerian Dream?

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If you came here looking for some sappy platitude about how Nigeria can become a great nation or a variation of MLK Jr’s “I have a dream” speech with a Nigerian tilt then I am sorry you have hopped on the wrong blog post. Somewhere between my disappointment at the Zimmerman verdict and this interview given by Chimamanda Adichie while reading Max Siollun’s book on Nigerian politics during the Buhari and Babangida regimes, I thought up this post.

A nation is often a product of its dreams. The American dream despite being difficult to attain for a lot of people still provides something to aspire to and based on my little knowledge the American dream is a dream that every American can become what they aspire to become and that if anyone works hard enough he can achieve these dreams through sheer will, perseverance and a level of creativity. This is a recurring theme in Hollywood movies with an inspirational tilt or even action movies where the little guy triumphs over the big guy despite the odds due to the sheer power of determination. What is the Nigerian dream? What does the average Nigerian aspire to? If a nation is as good as its dreams then perhaps the Nigerian dream might be a tad bit dysfunctional. What follows is my characterization of what I feel is the Nigerian dream and some responses I got on twitter.

The Nigerian dream is a dream borne out of the sheer exasperation of the Fela sung “suffering and smiling” syndrome. It is seeking to have basic amenities that people in developed countries take for granted, it is taking a poop and not having to hope that there is water to flush the toilet. It is a 50 cent album title made manifest. It is the spirit of get rich or die trying. The Nigerian dream consists of trying to make wealth whether by hook or by crook. The pursuit of “hammering” you see is the beginning of wisdom. You see everybody wants wealth but the Nigerian dream consists of wanting to have wealth not only for oneself but for one’s children up to the 4th generation as well as have money for your extended family, village and ethnic group. That’s quite a lot to aspire too and is the common trigger for corruption. The Nigerian dream means that you can sponsor your extended family members to go to school so they too can be in a position where one day you can apply the science of nepotism to put them in your workplace.

The Nigerian dream is to become a big man or woman, that sort of mini deity that exists in the Nigerian populace. The big man and woman in addition to having wealth has the influence and power that goes with the wealth, he/she might not be the president, a governor or senator but has the ability to get in touch with those in such positions and is able to get concessions and obtain juicy contracts, job positions and other forms of patronage obtainable in Nigeria. The mega Nigerian dream is to own an Oil bloc and sit around while that sweet revenue flows in. Shoutout to the TY Danjuma’s of this country and Alakija or the Dangotes and Adenugas.

The Nigerian dream is to be able to say “Do you know who I am?!!!” or “Don’t worry let me call my boys!!!” or “I will deal with you!!!” and watch people instantly squirm and acquiesce to your every demand while others observing look upon you with awe and envy. Ooh what an important person you must be. This dream is a dream of being able to talk down to those you perceive to not be of your class. It is the dream to speak in foreign accents and constantly remind people that you have been abroad. It is the dream of constantly finding fault with everything that goes on in Nigeria and analyzing it using big big words while proffering no solution.

The Nigerian dream is having an overbloated sense of national pride despite the fact that our nation has really achieved nothing when compared to its wealth. It is the loudness, it is the boldness, it is the sanctimonious and hypocritical behaviours, it is the opinionated and prejudiced views, it is the diversity of ideas, dreams and vanities that makes us who we are as a nation.

I guess the Nigerian dream is to go from being a plantain boy to become a big boy. lol. What is the Nigerian dream to you?


10 thoughts on “What Is The Nigerian Dream?

    worshipandswag said:
    July 21, 2013 at 3:17 am

    Hahahaha! Overbloated sense of pride? Check! Loudness? Check! The whole article? Check! The Nigerian dream for me changes every season. Please bear with me, you have to dress appropriately for the weather, you know.

    Now, the Nigerian dream is a world without Boko Haram and its sponsors; those who masquerade as concerned leaders while they wave blood-stained hands at people under the guise of heart-felt salutations and love for the masses.

    – The Nigerian dream is one where every Nigerian youth will stop screaming bloody murder when a politician fails to honor his/her promise, meanwhile 6 months ago they couldn’t receive enough bribe to recruit “boys” to make sure this dude/dudette has more votes in the ballot boxes.

    – A land where every dreamer is free to dream without fear of an uprising against unborn ideas from those who fear relinquishing their ill-gotten powers.

    – A land when a plantain seller can confidently recite her constitutional rights to an abusive and bribe-hungry police officer, leaving the latter with his pants down his knees because OMG the plantain seller is right and he might as well start sending resumes out before word of his behavior gets out!

    My prince, this Nigerian dream is one where we can both go to bed with our eyes closed without having to worry about someone defiling our 9yr old daughter because supposedly she is of marriageable age.

    This dream ain’t even about me nomore, is it? Hopefully I get enough balls to face those dirty, smelly peddlers of corruption one day and pummel them puny brains with my lady-like fists! *long story* lol 😀

      Sir Farouk responded:
      July 22, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Hahahaha thanks for the checks of approval :). I agree that the Nigerian dream changes with every season but isnt that a problem in itself. We are consistently changing our nation’s dream without a overlapping theme. That said, I think the things you mentioned are among the contemporary Nigerian dream. Lol @ pummel them, when did you become so violent? What happened to my gentle sister in the lord? WWJD my dear WWJD

    Taiwo J Orilogbon (@logbon72) said:
    July 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Hmm… what’s your disappointment with Chimanmandah’s Interview? That said, my Nigerian dream is a Nigeria in which our leaders are conscious of the fact that they are accountable to a people and the people can also hold the leaders accountable. Shikenah

      Sir Farouk responded:
      July 29, 2013 at 8:56 am

      I was disappointed because I came out from reading that interview not feeling terribly encouraged as a writer and I had looked up to her. I understand that she is entitled to her opinion but it came out wrong.I agree we need more accountability in Nigeria.

        Taiwo J Orilogbon (@logbon72) said:
        July 29, 2013 at 4:27 pm

        Oh, i see you’re referring to the Caine Prize issue. She’s just as blunt as her books, I guess.

          Sir Farouk responded:
          August 1, 2013 at 10:14 am

          I guess so. I love her books but the way she said it as if it vexed her that the person asked her about Caine prize

    Toyin inniss said:
    July 30, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Well said, or rather written. Every once in a while someone has to mention the elephant in the room, no matter how akward it feels. The Nigerian dream became a night mare, but we are still living it. Its diffucult to fight the enemy when the enemy is with you, when the enemy is you.

      Sir Farouk responded:
      August 2, 2013 at 2:17 am

      You are right, I fear Nigerians are their own worst enemies at times.

    ekeleonuh said:
    August 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I love this post.. I actually got into a facebook fit with a friend whose attitude this paragraph best describes “The Nigerian dream is having an overbloated sense of national pride despite the fact that our nation has really achieved nothing when compared to its wealth. It is the loudness, it is the boldness, it is the sanctimonious and hypocritical behaviours, it is the opinionated and prejudiced views…” I asked him “what is the nigerian dream”. After saying a lot of crap, he ended by saying, “or better still sir goggle it…”. I went ahead to google it not to get ahead of myself and be sure there is none, or it there is any so I may know what it is that my ignorant friend so belived in, alas your post came out on my search query. Thank you for this post…I will make my phanatic friend read it.

      Sir Farouk responded:
      August 12, 2013 at 2:41 am

      Thank you for commenting. I bet when he told you to google it he didnt know you would actually find something. lol.

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