OpinionOPINION: My Name Is Nigeria

OPINION: My Name Is Nigeria

November 20, (THEWILL) – I can’t hide myself

I don’t expect you to understand

I just hope I can explain

What it’s like to be a man

It’s a lonely road

And they don’t care ’bout what you know

It’s not ’bout how you feel

But what you provide inside that home

Yeah, I know this life can really beat you down, uh

You wanna scream but you won’t make a sound, uh

Got so much weight that you’ve been holdin’

But won’t show any emotion, as a man, that goes unspoken

That we can’t cry when life gets hard

Unconditional love for women, children and dogs

We know that we just have to play our parts

And don’t nobody give a damn about our broken hearts, yeah

As a man, we gotta pave our way

Our only function is to work and slave

There’s no respect for you if you ain’t paid

You’re disregarded as a human and you can’t complain

And if you ever make it up and actually reach that place

And find a woman that you love and give her your last name

You’ll feel the things that you provide are only why she stays

And when you try to explain, you’ll say

I can’t hide myself

I don’t expect you to understand

I just hope I can explain

What it’s like to be a man (what it’s like to be a man)

It’s a lonely road (it’s a lonely road)

And they don’t care ’bout what you know (care ’bout what you know)

It’s not ’bout how you feel

But what you provide inside that home

Don’t give up, keep fightin’

As a man, our son is our horizon

And our fathers’ actions play a role and we end up like him

So they can’t let us see them hurt

‘Cause we’ll embody what we do and start a generational curse

No wonder most men are so depressed

All the things that they can’t express

They go to war, get thrown on the shelf

Then go back to war with their mental health

Then grab that bottle and ask for help

Try to pull themselves out of hell

Then fall back down and then realize

That they gon’ have to do it themselves

It’s the circle of life, as a man, you provide

They don’t know what you’re worth ’til the day that you die

And that’s when they start cryin’

Then move on to a man to confide in

That’s why we feel

We can’t hide ourselves

We don’t expect you to understand

We just hope we can explain

What it’s like to be a man (what it’s like to be a man)

It’s a lonely road (it’s a lonely road)

And you don’t care ’bout what we know (care ’bout what we know)

It’s not ’bout how we feel

But what we provide inside that home (inside that home)

That home

It’s not ’bout how we feel

But what we provide inside that home (inside that home)

_Songwriters: Alex Nour / Daniel Nwosu Jr._

_To Be A Man lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC_

I’m writing this on the heels of a really discouraging conversation. A friend I love has lost his faith in God — in His love, in His Word, in His existence.

His arrival at this place wasn’t sudden. It involved a journey of both of us watching the things he held precious get taken away. This loss includes watching what he thought his life was going to be, giving way over the years to what his life has become. As I listened to him, and as I ponder it now, I have nothing but empathy and sadness for him. To be honest, I’m cheating an eye upward — an accusatory side-glance to Heaven:

God, where were You? God, where are You?

I’m searching for a metaphor for what I’m feeling. I started with the picture of me standing by my friend’s hospital bed, hearing the beeping of the machines that are keeping him on life support. But that metaphor doesn’t go far enough. There’s still a bit too much hope in a situation like that. Really, it feels like I’m standing at my friend’s graveside. Past the point of hope.

A lot of people who come through the doors of the church and the mosque carry dire stories in their hearts, often sealed in a chamber just under the surface. They might be like me — carrying the burden of the spiritual death of a loved one. Or they might be carrying their own deadness or the grief of a dead situation. Either way, it’s a feeling of utter hopelessness. It’s not 99 percent despair and 1 percent hope. It’s not life support. It’s death.

Sometimes we must strain through tears to remember that God works with dead things. The question is, am I dead?

The challenges and hardships faced by individuals can be diverse and multifaceted. It’s important to note that experiences vary widely among different people based on factors such as socioeconomic status, region, and personal circumstances.

I suffer economic challenges: Unemployment and underemployment are significant issues, leading to financial instability. Fluctuating economic conditions and inflation impact the cost of living, making it difficult to meet basic needs.

I suffer security concerns: these security challenges, including insurgency, terrorism, and communal conflicts, affect my safety and well-being.

I suffer from a healthcare deficit: with limited access to quality healthcare services in certain areas, it is not voodoo to see how I battle health challenges. Outbreaks of diseases, such as the occasional prevalence of infectious diseases, also pose health risks to what is left of my life.

It is intentional as I am denied access to quality education and opportunities for skill development, thus hindering my personal and professional growth.

I should just pretend about corruption: at various levels, it contributes to inequalities and hinders progress.

I suffer from gender expectations: Societal expectations and traditional gender roles place pressures on me to fulfil specific roles, impacting my mental health and well-being.

There are serious infrastructure deficiencies, and deficits like inadequate power supply, poor road networks, and limited access to clean water can affect daily life and economic activities. I suffer from this!

Political unrest, instability and governance issues can impact the overall stability and development of my life.

My name is Nigeria, I am Nigeria, I am not APC, PDP, or LP, I possess no faith, and yet fate is dealing with me.

It’s crucial to address these challenges collectively through collaborative efforts involving government, civil society, and the

private sector. By working towards economic empowerment, and improved education, healthcare, and security, there is potential for positive change in the lives of Nigerians. Additionally, promoting equality, inclusivity, and good governance can contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous future for the country. May Nigeria Win!

***Prince Charles Dickson PhD, Team Lead, The Tattaaunawa Roundtable Initiative (TRICentre)*

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