May Day “Shuffering and Shmiling” by Jide Salu.


The endurance of an average Nigerian is a tale of legend.  

Personally, I believe its a virtue to have endurance. However, it’s pathetic to have the talent as a nation the ability to endure the effects of wrong activities  and elevate these absolute ridiculous activities, and turn them or make them into cultural idiosyncrasies. That is the status bad, cringe bearing activities have been elevated to in Nigeria.

Take for instance reports that have it that some Nigerians arrive at petrol stations at 4am to buy petrol, only to depart at 4pm, after 12 long wasteful hours. Now that is endurance. Isn’t it?  However, how productive is that activity to the nation on a grand scale?

That 12 hour activity hasn’t added any point to Nigeria’s GDP. (The gross domestic product (GDP) measures of national income and output for a given country’s economy.)  For ‘crying out loud’, the Nigerian was on a QUEUE for 12 hours to buy litres of fuel! This is the endurance an average Nigerian is made up.

Don’t get me wrong, a majority of Nigerians are hurt by the situation in the country. Yes they are SUFFERING (Shuffering), however, it doesn’t stop them from trivialising it with lampoons that immediately demotes the seriousness of the issue which goes viral to generate laughter across the nation. Now that is SMILING (Shmiling).  This was how the pioneer of Afro-beats, the  legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti described it 39 long years ago. Yes,  thirty-nine years ago. He called it “Shuffering and Shmiling” . and nothing has changed. The only thing that has changed, to be fair – is the quantity that is looted from public coffers. It’s an insult to loot in millions in 2016. That may have ben alright in the 70s. That is the sad reality of Nigeria in 2016.

This is indeed my frustration with Nigeria as a nation. A nation of human and natural resources that will make  a combination of China, England and America beam in envy.

It makes me sick when I observe the sort of Nigerians that present themselves for elective positions. It makes me sadder to observe how convenient it is for Nigerians to receive money to vote.  I cringe when I watch these elected leaders react to situations of discomfort to millions of Nigerians. They simply have to clue. I smile when I read of religious leaders interact with politicians and I cry when I see how Nigerians on social media take sides of  politicians that have a history of looting. 

On this May Day. Nothing will change. The president elect will offer assurances and Nigerians will ignore because they are busy travelling in their droves to villages. Nigerians will  party. Haven’t you imagined for a minute that parties in Nigeria haven’t stopped. It is the number of gifts and dollars sprayed that has been adjusted. The“Shuffering and Shmiling” continues.

I join the President in wishing Nigeria a Happy May Day.

Jide Salu 


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