How are you?
Exactly a week from today, Nigerians will go to the polls to decide who will be their president for the next 4 (maybe 8) years.
No, this is not a post about politics. I will not try to convince you to vote for any party, nor will I try to argue the merits or demerits of any of the front-running candidates. Those close to me know where I stand on the subject.
My concern is more about how we are coping with the heightened stress accompanying this period. When you layer on all the other things going on in the country at this time — the real or imagined scarcity of petrol; the very real, but certainly engineered scarcity of cash; the possibly politically sponsored eruptions of violence in pockets across the country — it adds up to quite a lot. And we haven’t even gotten to the personal, health, relationship, and other problems!
So, I must pause to ask…how are you?
I ask this knowing full well that it is not within my power to fix these issues. In truth, nobody between the ground and the sky can do much about the prevailing circumstances. This is a time for all to lean into a community a bit more. It’s time to cash in some of those support chips you’ve been stacking, or pay up, as the case may be.
It’s super easy to look for all the various points of difference, especially at a time like this, but it really doesn’t do anybody any good. It is also easy to give in to the overwhelming feeling of scarcity that makes us get all we can and can all we get. Survival instinct? Maybe. Helpful in the long run? No sir.
Is there a ‘best person’ to rule Nigeria for the next 4 years? I don’t know.
Is there a party that will reverse all our social and economic woes? I don’t know.
I am deliberately refusing the role of closet critic and armchair analyst. Above and beyond the line of civic duty and participation, I think I would rather spend my time and energy at this time supporting (and being supported by) others.
Little acts of generosity are in high demand this season. Things like checking up on people. Sharing what little cash you might have (because that’s the only way we can genuinely be different from the hoarders we all loathe at the moment). Helping with tasks. Having conversations. These are not very hard to do.
And the trick is, the more of us doing it, the further it goes, and the easier it gets.
So, let me ask again…how are you?