With the fast paced spread of gossip amongst Nigerians it’s almost impossible for any gist to go unheard. At the mouth of verbal “newsletters” one thing is for sure, you’ll hear about your neighbors issues, your colleague’s divorce, your cousin’s cheating mate, or a recent financial dispute amongst family members living back home. Amongst all, you can guarantee that family, neighbors, people near or far and even tourists back home will hear about the financial success of a mother’s child in America, Europe, or anywhere else around the world. The accomplishments of the financially successful individual would no doubt bring a family happiness, pride, and of course the enjoyment of spending, while it brings others bitterness and resentment.
It is obvious there are plenty Nigerians who do well for themselves and their families. Many have an honest living as doctors, nurses, business men and women, and earn degrees from distinguished universities. Their children generally follow in their footsteps; do well in school, then take up legitimate professions earning money well enough to live comfortably and beyond. This however does not settle well with Nigerians who can only wish to have half of what the accomplished do. It’s almost as if jealousy runs in the DNA of Nigerians. They hate to see and hear about how well someone else is doing especially if they grew up with them, knew of them through a friend, may have went to school with them, or through some other connection. What follows are false and wicked circulating rumors. For example, people may say it was “fraudulent” business that got them into their desirable positions, or dishonest practices that helped to advance their positions and earn them more money.
A friend of mine spoke to me about the vicious rumors spread about her mother who is the successful parent to 9 children all living abroad, the owner of a day school for children in kindergarten to high school, and the director of an educational program in Nigeria. Before these blessings, she used to earn money for her family by selling foodstuffs to those in the community with the help of her children. Eventually, the money came. Her school had become fully established then people started accusing her of killing her own mother as a sacrifice to get where she is. Can you imagine? What an envious spirit, so much so that such wickedness is spoken. To further stress the issue, my aunt was recently able to buy a 5 bedroom house in Los Angeles. She spent years living in a rough neighborhood in LA in a cramped apartment with her two toddler children and husband while working and saving to buy a home. She regularly received visits from her Nigerian girlfriends all of whom lived in the same rough neighborhood. However, soon after moving, her friends stopped visiting her. They stopped coming because it frustrated and upset them that they weren’t the ones in her position. Their jealousy caused a friendship to be terminated over common life changes. Misery doesn’t always need company after all!
Jealousy does not get disguised in competition. It is no secret Nigerians love to show off when they go out; from the fashionable clothes to the cars. Mission accomplished, people noticed it. However, for the next parade, prepare to be outshined by someone who has spent way beyond their means just to try and appear they are doing better than you. Rather than to genuinely be happy or motivated by those doing well for themselves, families, and others, you can count on jealous and envious people to stir up wicked lies, conflict and harm. And to those, if you want to have money, and buy big house, have gateman and S Class Mercedes Benz no one is stopping you. Quit being frustrated by the success of others while your own dreams have not manifested. As they say, “Don’t jealous me.”
As a citizen of the real world, of course this is not to categorize all Nigerians as jealous persons. It is only to show that there are many who are. Also my focus will always be on Africans, not Latin Americans, Caribbean’s, etc. Yes there are those from every country that can identify with many of the topics discussed but to gist about them is of no relevance.
By: Ashley I. Okonkwo
Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/africahaveyoursay/2010/09/is-it-the-right-time-to-invest.shtml