Happiness: The Quest for a Redefinition

Published on 18th January 2010

Some people disagree vehemently with anyone that says anything about Nigerians, especially if the views tend to point out what is wrong with the country and her people.


Talk is not cheap because if it is, Oprah Winfrey would not be so rich, wealthy, influential and powerful. Through talking and criticizing, developed nations are prompted to look hard at what they do and make amends. For poor people however, talking is too much 'grammar' because they are hungry and want food now.


Have you ever considered the damaging nature of the Igbo saying:  'a na ekwu ekwu a na eme eme'? That is, let's be doing as we are talking? In the developed world, it is more about let's keep talking and when we are convinced about the validity of what are talking about, then we are propelled and compelled to pick up the hoe and go to work. In that talking mood, they criticize each other.


Greater good and efficient service delivery arise when people allow critical commentaries to be factored in their life strides. Nigerians tend to frown at anyone that points out what needs to be addressed and maybe help elevate the condition and enhance their collective existence. Yes, they are the happiest in the world. But guess what? New Orleanians are the happiest in US; called the Big Easy, and no matter what, Mardi Gras must go on. What did we see when Katrina hit? One of the saddest moments in the lives of the US’s happiest people. Now take it further, Haitians are considered the 'Happiest' in the western hemisphere. But look at Haiti? Does it surprise anyone that there is a fine line between poor people and happiness?


When one is poor, it may not be attributable to failed economic and financial models. It is because of failed personal leadership. Take Haitians for example, a good number of their population have been traced to people of Eastern Nigerian ancestry with more than 80% spotting a high degree of blood congruity with Igbos. What do they do in the face of adverse conditions? They cry, sing, dance and call on God. Often, who shows up? People from the 'depressed' countries.


Please inform and educate me. All the chapters and verses in the Bible, will not help those who refuse to use their hands to better their conditions. My mom used to say to me: "If I ever see you ask anyone for that which you can do or get yourself, I will cut off  your hands, that way I can take comfort in knowing you have no hands'. Take it or leave it, that stuck with me.


God is not a new phenomenon nor His worship a new invention. Understanding His wishes, takes intellectual stimulation and diagnosis to take advantage of His messages hidden in convoluted language. And such convoluted language, I am afraid, is not easy for the faint at heart, the feeble and easily distracted.


If blacks were first to be on earth, how come the new comers are running circles around them? If the by-product of longevity is wisdom, how come the Johnny Just Come fellows are making the long living ones look stupid and silly? Yes, the poor and meek/Happy shall inherit the heavens. Well, why not die now and go straight to heaven where I am told there is no pain and suffering?


We must admit that something is amiss in the way we carry on and address issues. Seeing criticism instead of considering those as being critical to unleash the potential in us or critiquing our ways to enhance our collective existence, some get bent out of shape when some question and condemn our ways. Doling out material goods to a people that refuse to see that their condition is man-made and not God's, will never help Nigerians arrive. The onus or burden to achieve lies with the Nigerian and not God.


Rich and wealthy people are happy. It is just that they do not display such the way poor people do. When Happiness can be deposited, cashed and becomes a factor weighted in economic development, please call on me and I shall join you in singing Kumba Ya.


If anyone believes they are Happier in Nigeria, they need not live one day in US, UK and or any where else. If they remain outside but believe the way to serve and help, is go home often to give hand outs and show face, then they are not placing value on happiness but chasing material goods to help them keep deceiving poor people as to what matters. When one gets involved in the front end of business development, which is where the intellectual challenges are handled, they know that the back end, is a given. The poor people are not involved in the front end, because they are too happy but intellectually challenges.


Prove me wrong. But there again, I know what side of my bread is well buttered and will remain so. Until next time, we have decisions to make.



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