There is No Honest Person in Nigeria -Onyeka Nwelue

I am writing this from my hotel room in Athens. I woke up this morning and felt I should write this. It’s not something I like doing; I...

I am writing this from my hotel room in Athens. I woke up this morning and felt I should write this. It’s not something I like doing; I don’t like telling people what is best for them. No, I actually thought I should talk about hope, patriotism and disguise. We have reached that point in our lives when we should wake up and realise that there is no single honest or genuine person in the world. Everyone reading this right now will be saying, ‘But I am honest.’ You are not. You just believe in what you think is right or wrong. For you. When your heart tells you.

Each time I rant about my hate for the situation of Nigeria on my Facebook, people remind me it’s my home. I know. Unfortunately, I am floating. I feel I don’t belong anywhere. There is no justification to the crimes I’ve committed, guts I gored trying to stand tall and find my feet in the world. It’s just how I grew up. I grew up seeking for everyone’s validation, desperate enough to be famous and successful. I am not sure it happened, but I am completely satisfied with the little I have now, but if more comes my way, I will take.

Nigeria is a country full of self-righteous nitwits. Everyone is so holy that no one else is holy. Everyone in Nigeria has an opinion. The same Nigerian patriot who thinks the politicians are destroying the nation are sending their kids far off to universities abroad and helping the best of their nationals stay away to not contribute to the growth of the society. The same Nigerian patriot is the one that owes his employers; the same Nigerian patriot is the one that lies to young people, promises them heaven and earth so they can be used to achieve their aspirations; the same Nigerian patriot can die trying so hard to save money for his unborn children and coming generations. He acquires wealth just to remain respected and on top. He will be the one that will go around telling poor people not to think so much about money, because money is not wealth and that if they chase after money so much, they will lose their focus in life. How does that happen? Who says money is not the most important thing in life? Even families know that without money, they can never be happy.

Everyone has turned into a role model and the social media has provided a platform where everyone can air their opinion no matter how shallow it sounds. We don’t have to blame them; we have to blame those who have mystified themselves. Many of us have actually sold solid lies to the world, painting ourselves differently, making people believe we are demi-gods. But it was on this journey to understand how we can develop ourselves and become what we want that I discovered that the surface of anything is but deceit. Nigeria is full of selfish nitwits who just want to remain happy themselves. We cannot digest all the lies, but we believe them and keep harping on them. Everyone of us is filthy, but we will never agree. We are quick at pointing out the wrongs of others. We are filthy, but we can never perceive our bad smell.

The politicians tell us that they are chosen by the people. The people are invisible. Celebrities look for what can keep them relevant in the society. They come up with something and call themselves activists. They organise talk-shows and market themselves. However, everyone wants money to buy new clothes and shoes and even eat properly. This is not to say they are not doing well, but the point of this entire talk is to clear the notion that there is an honest person.

Mr. Farouk Lawan was perceived as Nigeria’s Messiah until Mr. Femi Otedola decided to show the Real Farouk to Nigerians. We were surprised and at once, amused. We had thought that finally, there was someone ready to liberate us. It was good that what happened happened. Many of us haven’t learnt yet. And what we should learn is to never let anyone define who they are to us. We should have definition of everyone. We should not let people’s tongues wag, looking for connotations to make them appear beautiful.

I argue with people and they give me list of people who ‘changed’ Nigeria and ask, ‘What did they change?’ My father changed Nigeria too by giving Nigeria an evil child. I am the evil child and he that is holier than me shall have his posterior glued in hellfire. We cannot continue to condemn others while we live very filthy lives. We can only live our lives and chase after money when we can so we can take care of ourselves and not beg the world to donate money when our kidneys go bad. We should stop living poor, yet groveling at the feet of rich people when we need financial help. We need to grow out of the illusion that anyone genuinely cares about us.

Onyeka Nwelue is a Nigerian writer. He just won a 2013 Prince Claus Travel Grant to travel to East Africa. He is also the President of La Cave Musik (, a record label based in Paris, France.


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