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Monday, November 29, 2021

Between the ‘resident’ and the ‘diaspora’

Bayo Fasuwon

There was an interesting conversation eavesdropped by yours truly. The discourse involved a resident Nigerian and diaspora Nigerian who came for a visit. While one was not privy to what had happened in the past few days, but it is decipherable from the conversation. They had wanted to eat at a restaurant. While the resident Nigerian had asked for Shawarma, the Diaspora had opted for Amala and Gbegiri soup.
That caught my attention. The resident seeks for foreign delicacy while the Diaspora sought for local meals. It became a funny scenario as one pondered that the occurrence is a reflection of the characteristics of locals (both leadership and followership). In order to look sophisticated, modernized and foreign, we destroy our local markets. We seek for foreign foods, clothing, hairstyles, music, accents, and perceptions.
Our local industries produce goods that are jettisoned, though affordable and we boost foreign companies who produce costly goods that are of no benefit to us in the long run (are you thinking of Diezani’s brassieres?). We are brainwashed to think that all that is white (foreign) is right for us. By these consumptions of alien goods, it is no wonder that we have also invited ‘foreign’ diseases into our body system. Rather than patronize affordable made in Nigeria goods, we run after fairly-used (discarded) imported goods and still pay higher prices for them. So, Nigeria becomes a dumping ground for the wastes of the West. The usual complaint is that locally produced goods are inferior. We forget to note that even the State and the policies of administration promote inferiority of both products and mankind in Nigeria. Also, we neglect to accept the fact that improvements in products is often times the functions of customer reviews. When locally made goods are not patronized, their shortcomings would remain unknown while the door of improvements remain shut.
One could vividly recall when TECNO made its way into the Nigeria market. Many patronized it, given its cheapness. However, there were complaints about the phone’s durability, features and look. These feedbacks however did not stop the patronage. The continued patronage and the feedbacks ensured that the organisation kept its head above the waters. However, by working on the feedback, the organisation remained one of the best in the world when it comes to the Telcom industry.
Techno phones are fast becoming prestigious phones to hold in Nigeria today. Many Nigerians were left at the receiving end, biting their fingers in regret when a renowned automobile industry had to recall their products due to faults detected in the design. Alas, many who had bought the ‘Tokunbo’ fairly used version could not afford to transport it back leaving them with a life threatening permanent and recycling liability. What if enabling environments for automobile manufactures of economical cars, were created and sustained in Nigeria?
Away from the food derived exposition, the Diaspora was taken aback when the Resident prayed before eating the food. It seemed the former could hide it no more. In a tone that exposed his suppressed annoyance, he queried why his host had to pray over everything.
Specifically, he pointed out the fact that the host prays before and after sleep; prays concerning food, electricity, kidnappers, road accidents, Police brutalities, favours from bosses, sanctification of food, water and clothing; binds the devil at all times and sends Angels on assignment to do the works of men. The latter however laughed and explained that the Bible enjoins all to ‘pray without ceasing’.
He also told his friend that this is Nigeria, where without the intervention of God, nothing can be rightly done. The Diaspora could not believe that his friend needed to call on God for bad roads, dilapidated classrooms, good governance, security, employment, food and even the respect of people’s human rights. He explained that ‘over there’, they do not pray over what government ought to do.
He insisted that the failure of governance does not convey on us the authority to trouble God. Over there, government is always on the lookout to identify areas of need and meet them. In few occasions, where Government remains unaware about the peoples’ predicaments, they would call attention of government who responds immediately.
According to him, one does not need to beg government to do their jobs. When government performs its duty, it enables the people perform their duties, and that makes the society develop at a faster rate and pace. The Diaspora insisted that an irresponsible, irresponsive and unpatriotic government should not expect responsibilities, responsiveness and patriotism from the citizens, He reiterated that it is what Government sows into the lives of the citizens that it would reap at the end of the day. He was vehement in his submissions and categorically insisted that most of the diseases for which many seek for divine intervention could be handled successfully by a good health system.
The focus was on the Resident. One expected an articulated response, but he only belched, helped himself from the fruit juice on the table, belched, excused himself and asked his guest, “don’t you ‘abroadians (sic) pray?”. The Diaspora replied that they do. Yours truly wondered what they prayed about, and the Resident enquired too.
The Diaspora replied that they do pray for those in government not to make mistakes that would destroy ‘their’ country; pray against terrorist attacks; pray that God would continue to bless the country and the people; eliminate natural disasters’, let there be peace in the world; let the gospel of Jesus Christ reach the lost; family unification; democratic government all over the world; no world war 3; good money and of course that government should reduce taxes.
The Resident laughed and clapped his hands too, thus making the Diaspora a little embarrassed. But the former calmed him down and explained that such prayers are second level prayers. He explained, that Nigeria needs the pre-level prayers right now, and that was the reason we have to pray about almost everything in order to survive. Prayers has become fundamental for getting the simplest of things done because life has become ‘solitary, nasty, brutish and short’. The quest of anyone living in the country now is survival. He explained that that is one of the reasons Nigerians would prefer Guilder Ultimate Search to Big Brother Naija. There is no big brother anywhere now, it has become a matter of ‘jaforie’, fight for yourself.
“Then fight for your rights, do a peaceful protest, let the whole see it. Your government must be made to perform their duties to the citizens. They must provide welfare and basic facilities that would promote good living, booming businesses and respect for the dignity of persons”.
The Resident laughed and explained that some peaceful participants in the #ENDSARS are still in jail without trial, some are missing without trace; some activists are under detention and even University dons are too hungry now to fire up the knowledge base of the students into the Aluta spirit.
As for the youths, they have left the countries in the Intensive Care Unit in a 70:30 ration of survival, to pursue their own personal success, in a bid to ‘blow’. He concluded Nigeria has become, ‘everyman for himself and God be for us all’. Food consumed, money paid, and being ready to mingle with the crowds on the street, the Resident enthused, “Shall we pray?”

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