The hustler’s spirit is slowly taking over Nigeria. We have become a curious mass of entrepreneurs; selling everything under the sun from artificial hair to lingerie down to abacha and land. Everyone has something to sell in Nigeria. It does not matter their day jobs. In fact, nobody is content with what they are doing or what they have. We are a nation on the street; selling and buying things and ourselves. Endlessly.
There is a growing sense of desperation in the land. Everyone is in a hurry. From the ruling class down to the keke driver. But the destination doesn’t always seem clear. Everyone thinks that once they have money, their problems would be over. Well…it’s true that money solves problems, but not all.
“The only problems money can solve are money problems “ says American journalist, Mignon McLaughlin. The hustling spirit is ravaging our campuses, breeding millions of Yahoo boys and girls, mercantile lecturers, and streetwise students who spend more time picking up Waybills in bus stations than they do in classrooms. Almost every undergraduate is selling one thing or the other; a huge distraction from the original purpose of being in school.
The focus and rigor they would have invested in research and personal development have been diverted to hawking stuff online and rushing to motor parks to pick up waybills. How can this lead to a generation that is properly prepared to compete in a fast changing world?
The hustler’s spirit is behind the growing menace of ritual killings for voodoo money. We may recall the recent viral video of young boys hacking their female victims to pieces in a dark quest for money. Imagine the audacity of recording a murder scene on video and brazenly sharing it online because there will be no consequence?
How much time do we have before that bizarre display becomes our daily fare? The only consequences we see are big boys rolling in heavy automobiles and flaunting wealth that has no clear sources. It is the hustler spirit. Everyone is on the grind.
Even the unborn baby wants to make money before his first birthday. And that is how, from a once deliberate and proud people, we have become a nation of beggars because it is no more cool to wait for things to happen in their time. Everyone is looking for a shortcut.
That is why from the customs and immigration desks at our international airports through the police and army checkpoints on our tattered roads, down to social media platforms, Nigerians have become poorly disguised beggars. The euphemism for online begging is “giveaways.”
People who come into overnight wealth announce it online with giveaways. And fawning youngsters queue with begging bowls online for a slice. Pride is a rare possession among us these days.
Everyone is on the take! We are an acqueiscing society. We look away when bad things happen. But an acquiescing society usually dies. Suddenly.
James write from Awka