Continuing the discussion from Win ₦100k : Tell Us Your Naija Story - #ThisisNigeria:
THIS IS NIGERIA; OUR LAND OF RESILIENCE
Strength comes in different variations. It could manifest in Hulk-Like apparitions as a mighty wind or a huge and bulky human frame or it could make an appearance in a silently consistent and little unexpected package. Irrespective of how it is packages, strength always shows forth.
This was my impression after contact with Kamsiyochukwu. I was captivated by his genuinely bright smile which did not dim despite evidence of sun-beaten skin and world – weary eyes. His unique name also added to the allure.
I came in contact with him at the famous Yaba market in Akoka axis of Lagos. In digressing, this is a market popular for its heavy presence of Igbo boys who are aggressive both in their desire to succeed and means of advertising. Hence, it is not surprising to hear them saying “Sister! Fine Geh! My colour, buy yah fine jeans” or “I go sell better for you oh” all the while holding unto you with one hand and using the other to showcase their wares. Amongst this bustle and hustle sat the subject of this story.
Calm, looking almost aloof yet one look into His eyes would erase without any doubt his keen awareness of his surroundings. I was interested in purchasing a pair of loafers which he happened to sell and so I walked into his store.
Again, I was struck by the systematic way in which he arranged his wares, sorting each one by colour, design and label name. Without further ado, I began my perusal, found an item I liked and turned to finish my transaction when for the first time, I noticed the scar right up his left cheek.
In an unusually curious manner, I asked him what led to his scar and for a brief moment, tears gathered in his eyes. “A man has got to be a man” I thought and was startled when he began his story. In a nutshell, his family had been living in North-Central Part of Nigeria, Plateau State to be precise. For a family of four persons, they had lived a comfortable life. His father was a farmer, his mother occasionally helped on the farm while selling at the market and he and his younger sister attended the local school. When the issue of Herdsmen Crisis began, they had no idea that they would be affected. However, one weekend, he had woken up and accompanied his father to the farm as was usual practice without knowledge of the calamity awaiting them. They were struck right on their farm, a bloodied farmland, the blood flowing from the severed body of his father and his slashed cheek was all he could remember.
Without warning, he was forced to take on responsibilities which would make even able-bodied men crumble and so, with contributions from neighbours and friends, he moved with his mother and sister to Lagos and began trading.
I had come to the market to get a material item but I left that day with more than I bargained for. I was left to ponder on the resilient spirit of the average Nigerian. The general “Spirit of Hustle” which may be enforced by the knowledge of many dependent family members, the need to “have swag or slay” or just a simple desire to create a comfortable niche for yourself. Whatever the reason, I had been made to re-appreciate the resilience and silent strength embedded in the Nigerian Spirit, a trademark which distinguishes us from other countries.