Life as a Nigerian can get really tough, especially when you find yourself outside the top
societal strata of wealth and privilege.
For those who were born into opulence, one could argue that life is easy, save for some
who have to first go through some form of artificial hardship deliberately installed by their
parents with the intention of humbling them.
For others, it’s a tempestuous journey which requires you to scale unending hurdles with no
clear end in sight.
If you’ve ever played the computer game called “Temple Run”, you might grasp this analogy
better. Basically, in Temple Run, you get to pick different characters, each with varying
strengths and weaknesses. Then comes the main adventure which features a perilous course
the chosen character has to ply.
At different points along the way, your character gets to avoid as much hurdles as it gets to
rack up bonuses and special powers which play a huge effect on the overall game point. In the
end, well, there’s no end, it’s just a game where the best player is determined by who survives
longest and earns the most accolades.
You get to die though. All characters die. Horrible deaths too if I must add. And that’s that.
For the elite group whose parents don’t put them through life tests, just imagine a game of
football where you get to play against another team, only that the game has been set to the
easiest level. So, you get to score as many goals as you want within a speculated period of
time ranging from 5 to 30 minutes.
The longer the time, the more goals you're likely to score.
Now, each time I set out to hustle, I come across tons of young people like myself who in spite
of the economic travails have decided to earn an extra naira by all means. This we do, not
because it’s compulsory, but we know the alternative to hard work is a recipe for all-round
stagnation and impending penury.
I see labourers with their tools, office people with their bags and suits, and traders with their
We meet everywhere. At bus stops when it’s time to head out or back in, at canteens when it’s
time to refuel, at retail stalls when biscuits and snacks are the only options that come to mind,
all of us with a common identity – the desire to make it in life.
We casually exchange pleasantries as well. And for those too tired or shy, we just nod, as
though to say “I see you. Respect.” Then we move on, sometimes never to set eyes on one
Instances and happenstances.
So we work our brains out in order to earn the next paycheck. Because well, no food for a lazy
man. And because our children deserve to enjoy all of the things we enjoyed and more.
One thing hovers above the hustle though, and it’s the realization that in order to finally break
out of the lower or middle class categories, we need the ideal combination of hard work and
opportunity - the two determinants of everything good, asides God’s grace which is available
Hence, we could be hardworking and still never get the opportunity to launch. And we could
bungle a golden opportunity to launch if we don’t input the sufficient degree of hard work.
So, we seek that balance. That gallant combination.
Then, we move, because we know the difference between making movement and making
progress, between staying on the surface level and riding on a wavy level, between making
basic money and having bastard money.
Go find that balance, but don't die finding it. Enjoy life along the way, so it is never said that you were never really here.