Life Expectancy: How Long Do You Hope to Live in Nigeria?

You want to live to be 70 and 80? Oh…Ok. That is the Nigerian dream. But guess what? You are not likely to. There is a conspiracy to kill you and more enemies are vowing to help them kill you.
We often hear and read about life expectancy. In many countries it is improving. People can expect to live seventy. Officially, the life expectancy figure for my country in just over forty. In rotten terms, your country assures you that you may live to be forty. After that, you are on your own. Whatever you can add to it is your bonus.
Still, I know that forty-two may be the official figure but even that is a lie. You do not have to study statistics to know that it is not true. Truth is that if you live here, you will know that there are too many things waiting to kill you. There are too many things willing to kill us that are the outcome of someone’s negligence. There are countless avoidable situations that kill us which are the sheer outcome of people playing mind games with your safety. Here, we are already depleted by the struggle to find just food. When the rest of the struggles join in, the story becomes different. We struggle so much that it becomes a part of us. That is why we charge into an eighteen-seater bus, just nine or ten of us. We struggle to get water, to get electricity; for kerosene and petrol. We struggle to get into the bus and struggle to get out. We struggle to pay money into our bank accounts and struggle to get it out. We struggle to buy a second hand car, struggle to keep it running, struggle to find a place to park it safely at night and struggle to pay off the loan that bought the car in the first place.
We struggle to get the children into good schools, struggle to meet the fees, struggle to pass examinations and then struggle to pass post-UME. We would then struggle through school and struggle to survive National Service and then begin the main struggle to get a job. These days, the children think the only place to get good education is in the private universities. They believe you have to put them there and struggle to pay. That is the only way to show them you love them.
We struggle to find a life partner, struggle to satisfy parents and siblings and struggle to get a male child. Then we struggle to pay off the bills of the wedding that held thirteen months behind, and struggle to meet the rents – three years in advance. It was two until your landlord saw your display at your wedding. You struggle to buy a piece of land and struggle to pay the surveyor and struggle through many nights thinking how you will get the building project off the ground. By that I mean buying the first 100 blocks.
These are personal struggles and are by far the more controllable ones because if you do not want to marry big, you either cut the expenses and risk losing the girl or you keep going and end up where people before you ended up. You are perfectly at liberty to do as you please.
The heavyweights are here. They are those factors that have determined that the life expectancy of just forty-two would be your greatest achievement. They are ready and able to dispatch you to the place where everything is everlasting. Here is one part of the long list of factors that determine your life expectancy. Or better still, here are a few tips to help you avoid dying before 42. You have to be supernatural to follow some of them.
• Avoid police. Do not even befriend them. Stay far from checkpoints and don’t argue when they talk. When he grabs your property even when he is off duty, just buy another one. The list of people they have killed is endless.
• Keep inspecting your rented house. Once you see signs of weakness, move to another house and abandon your 3year rent that you paid last month. I don’t know where you will move to or how you will pay the rent, but just move.
• Beg your family not to get ill. If they refuse to listen, each time they are ill, you too are ill. The deplorable conditions in the hospitals and the horrible practices in our health sector might in fact kill you.
• Be careful about travel. Matter of fact, do not even travel at all. The roads are killers and the drivers are no different. And there is something called one chance. It means 17 criminals posing as passengers in an 18-seater bus. You are the odd man out, lured into the bus because you can’t wait to get going. It’s fifty-fifty that you won’t come out of the experience.
• There are the ritual killers. We still believe that killing other people could prolong our lives or fetch us money or success. Don’t argue this one. By the way, the ancient practice of burying monarchs with other human beings (to accompany them on their journey beyond) is still very much in place. So when you hear a traditional ruler is ill, watch yourself and watch your kids.
• There are the containers that are transported on our roads daily. These huge monsters are not tied down to the trailers that bear them. One lurch on the road and it slides off and compresses buses and cars. How many times has it happened before? Several times. Is anyone doing a thing about them? Hell no!
• Petrol tankers have caught fire so many times and burnt people beyond recognition. So when you drive, do not follow a tanker and don’t let him stay behind you. how you do that is your headache.
• If you live or work in a university environment (and matter of fact, any tertiary institution), you have to develop a sensitivity to trouble. Cult wars happen all the time and stray bullets do not have sense. And then, may God give you wisdom not to argue with a gun-totting big boy
• Armed Robbery….need I say anything about this?
• Soldier boys. They come to town at the slightest provocation and beat the hell out of us. Do you remember Uzoma Okere? They are still in court. Naval ratings beat her on behalf of their oga. She did not make way for him on the road. Some big Nigerians have their own detention facilities in their houses.
• NEPA …there is no end to their tales. Wires fall on the road during rain and people start roasting.
• Politicians. When they clash, we all have to run. Please do not wait. They are accountable only to themselves and even if they kill us in broad daylight, nothing will happen. During elections, they campaign with their guns. Pray that God will not let you be in the area they will hold their next battle.
• OPC, MOSSOB, MEND, BOKO HARAM, EGBESU BOYS, BAKASSI BOYS… these are the popular ones. They are private armies doing whatever they like
Before I continue this list, let me add that we believe that there are a lot of people who die in Nigeria because of the diabolical machinations of other people. Some die, presumably from ‘magun’. Ask the Yoruba man what that is. Others by food poisoning, arson, pollution, medical errors, witchcraft, acid baths, fights over women, for reasons of inheritances etc.
Let me ask you again, how long does a man live in Nigeria? If you get the message, then there is no need for me to continue. I do not write this to berate Nigeria. I write this so you can be more careful and so you can make it to 90 and 100


1 Comment

  1. Dave Emmy Okoye said,

    Life expectancy in Nigeria is 42 on probability. The wave activity of cultism in nigerian tertiary institutions; the drug battle of ”catels”, madness from Indian Hemps, marijuana to say, and the unhealthy rivalvry of ”Oga and Nwa boys”
    Nigeria we hail Thee!!!

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