Monday, 06 March 2017 15:35

On The Stressful Daily Lives Some Nigerians Live

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Hunger is not an uncommon source  of stress in Nigeria. Mrs, Grace Edeh, a  35-year-old mother of  three and staff of the National Examination Council, was being quizzed by the Niger state Child Right Protection Agency for burning with hot charcoal the palms of her eight- year old house-maid, accused of stealing meat from the pot.

Asked why she committed the offense which contravenes Section 26 of the Child's Right Act against maltreating children, Mrs. Edeh explained that she had ill-treated the girl out of anger as the child was fond of stealing meat from the pot of soup. She said that the girl was also caught stealing meat from the neighbor's kitchen. . Read more at:

To live in Nigeria, on the average is to walk though the valley of shadow of death. Life in my country is not just akin to shadow or silhouette of death; it is the real death.  Just as the advertisement goes  that  "Coke is the  real thing" so is stressful  life real for millions of Nigerians.  Who wants to drink Coke and who wants a stress-filled life?

Hunger is not to be confused with thirst for a beverage, such as Coke.  Coke is adulterated concoction invented with the aim of extracting wealth from the unsuspecting public. Death is onwu in Igbo language and hunger is aguo. Onwu and aguo are nothing to play with since both would strike a man dead like a bolt of lightning, though aguo is death resulting from lack of food, starvation, famine, appetite, or desire for something to chop (eat).

Nigerians often say that "a hungry man is an angry man." Could it be that Mrs. Edeh in incinerating her maid's hand black as charcoal was infuriated/ made angry when her 8-year-old maid took food from Madam's mouth? Taking food from someone's mouth is no different than wishing death on that someone. Hunger would make one do things that may be unthinkable, unimaginable, or clearly absurd.

Though the effect of stress from death and hunger is as unpleasant  as the other, food and death are not the same thing. Food is the edible or potable substance usually of animal or plant origin) and consisting of nourishing, nutritive (sometimes poisonous) components such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, essential mineral and vitamins, which (when ingested and assimilated through digestion) sustains life, generates energy, and provides growth, maintenance, and health. Not all types of food are good for human consumption

Living in today's Nigeria is living barricaded in a den with famished lions and lionesses.  You live under constant stress; you die at a younger age than people die in other parts of stress free world, and you are forgotten sooner than you die. The purpose of this piece is first, to identify some of the things that make life in a Nigerian community precarious and not worth living. A precarious life is shaky, unstable, insecure, uncertain, unsafe, unsteady  There are aspects of Nigerian life that fill the stomach with bitter bile and cut folks' lives short.

Life in Nigeria shortens the distance between the cradle and the grave yard in my beloved Nigeria. The second purpose of this essay is to suggest ways Nigerians and their governments can strive  to reduce stress at both the individual and national levels. What is stress?

Again, what is stress? Stress, according to the bulky 2129-page Webster's New International Unabridged Dictionary this writer picked up at a flea market for the cost of 5 bananas,  is the " strain, pressure, especially force exerted upon  a body that tends to strain of deform its shape." Not every stress is negative in the sense that it is bad or noxious.

Some forms of stress are beneficial because they help us to get organized in order to respond to perceived threats that enable us to have important tasks accomplished in our lives. For example, one has to strain to get out of the bed and house to go to work and earn income to feed the family.

Normal human life is undeniably stressful.  Human stress is the feeling one has when one is under pressure, strain, anxiety, constant worry, or nervous tension. It appears that the average Nigerian suffers a trauma similar to the extreme stress soldiers experience in the heat of battle. Post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) is the result of extreme hassle requiring medical and psychological interventions. Nigerian is a population in a pressure cooker constantly under pressure.

As a college professor, this writer notices that American college students face tremendous stresses related to classes they must attend that their professors have scheduled at inconvenient times. These classes often encroach upon other enjoyable activities that militate against stressors, such as dating, loafing around, or eating favorite foods at preferred rendezvous. In the case of Nigerian college students, crimes provide outlets in that it is common to reduce stress through activities of gangs of students who especially are drawn to bank robberies, kidnapping, and sales of illicit drugs.

Life in Nigeria is a long unbroken stretch of stress-riddled events. As this writer was growing up in Nigeria, older adults in the neighborhoods often said: "Oyia Lagos bu oyia ego" (Lagos sickness is sickness caused by money).  It is safe to say "Oyia ego bu oyia Nigeria" (Money problem is Nigeria's sickness).  Money is at the root of a large proportion of stresses impinging upon  and likely to cut short lives of Nigerians almost in half.

Wait just a minute! May we ask:  Is lack of money the real culprit? No! Methinks the wrongdoer is the love of money. Nigerians love money and will do anything to acquire that money, including rob each other, prostitute their bodies,  kidnap neighbors, sell body parts, or sacrifice lives of loved ones at a voodoo priest's shrines. It is pitiful.  Nigerians' stress level is heightened by one thing, and that thing is greed. Greed is gluttony, or the habit of eating like a pig, and not knowing when one has enough and when to stop. Stress affects Nigerians in more ways than one looking inward from outside, can imagine.

This Nigerian trader at Lagos owns seven mansions at Abuja, Lagos, Awka , and in his home village. His home in the village is a mega mansion that he visits for just a week throughout the year. He has several large vehicles parked at each mansion.  He helps no one, pays no school fees for relatives, and contributes nothing to the community. The only contribution he makes to the world is the fare she pays for commercial fights to Dubai, Disney World, and London with his wife accompanied by children and a baby sitter.

Stress is evident when we are addicted to the pursuit of wealth and luxurious living. The more material things we acquire the more we remain unhappy and unsatisfied. The need to live large beyond reasonableness seems to be wired to our brains. It is always showmanship or competition with the Joneses to see who has more to waste.  Stories are told of Nigerians who have been overseas to witness Americans throw out cooked food. These overseas Nigerians send their maids out to throw foods such as rice, beans, chicken, and beef so neighbors would see and exclaim: "Ehe, they throw away food just as people do in America. Chei!"

We waste things and cannot manage resources well. We waste just to show neighbors that we have arrived from previous houses of poverty. For an example, Nigerian politicians are stressed to the extent they acquire the habit of stealing wealth by all means necessary even to the extent of wasting  it. These politicians steal not because they are hungry. They steal to impress girlfriends they are harboring in every Nigerian city and overseas cities, such as Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, London, Washington DC, Johannesburg, or Ottawa.

When a typical Nigerian politician gets in Vono bed with a wife he hardly spends time with or with a baby (prostitute) and because he  cannot fuck, he makes up for his deficiency with stolen loots. He cannot fuck. As his fucklessness  begins to  multiply,  he suffers added stress from multiple failed organisms. He cannot perform the sexual act for many reasons.

One, the politician is obese and out of shape and breath.  Two, he has diabetes, high blood pressure and an assortment of other health problems which renders fucking an impossible task and could kill him if he fucks harder than normal or uses more Viagra than needed. His family doctor could have easily discovered his illnesses and treated them iff (if and only if)  the unsuccessful fucker has  kept up with his regular medical check-ups. He dies in bed while fucking.

We make too many unnecessary commitments that make life stressful. A commitment is a promise, pledge, vow, obligation, assurance, binder, dedication, or loyalty.  We all have many commitments in our life, including commitments related to work, to our kids, and spouses,  to things we do at home and religious places of worship, other family, civic, side work, secrete societies, hobbies, online activities and more. These commitments come with tremendous amounts of stress.  For an example, a frivolous commitment leads  politicians to steal from the public treasury to purchase and furnish houses for a bevy of akwunakwuna ( prostitutes).

Other Stresses also come when we are too controlling of every face of Nigerian life. The poor Nigerian who named his dog Buhari was promptly arrested by overzealous security personnel, and while he was in detention, some defenders of Buhari burglarized his residence just to kill the dog named Buhari.

Our desire to be all controlling, makes any Nigerian with a measure of power want to be the Master of this Universe, the Chief Money Grabber or First Lady, Head of the Chief Nation of Africa. Trying to control situations and people can be so stressful it kills the body, and only serves to increase our anxiety. We have to learn to let go, and accept the way other people do things, and accept what happens in different situations.

The only thing one can control is oneself. We ought to work on controlling self before we can consider trying to control the world.  Also, we ought to learn to separate us  from tasks  that should be better delegated to others. A major step towards eliminating stress is learning to let go of our need to control others, or to dictate how things ought to be done.

Stress is seen in the way we loathe or hate helping others.Helping others, whether volunteering for a charity organization or just making an  effort to be compassionate towards people you meet, not only gives you a very good feeling,  it somehow lowers our stress level. Of course, this doesn't work if you try to control others, or help others in a very rushed and frenetic way. Let's learn to take it easy, enjoy yourself, and let things happen, as you work to make the lives of others better.

We are under stress when we  ignore  to eat healthy or fail at regular exercise: Good eating goes hand-in-hand with exercise to prevent stress. We ought to avoid being addicted to greasy food, that puts us in worse mood and contributes to stress levels immediately. Ample evidence is seeping out that coconut oil can and does lower one's chances of suffering AD or Alzheimer's disease

Ingratitude is evidence of being under extreme stress. It is amazing how we are an ungrateful people.   Developing an attitude of gratitude will help us to think positive, eliminate negative thinking from our life, and thereby reduce stress. Learning  to be grateful for what you have, for the people in your life, and see it as a gift from God. With this sort of outlook on life, stress will go down and happiness will go up.

We ought to cease being an undeniably difficult people. We are difficult when we disobey properly enacted laws that govern out conduct, when we disrespect,   insult or disobey persons over us, or when we engage in activities that make community life impossible. For examples, robbery of banks and other persons' homes, or kidnapping neighbors for ransoms increase the flow of adrenalin in our bodies and increase our stress levels.

We are procrastinators and disorganized   We're all so disorganized to the extent that even if we've managed to be organized something, and created a great system for keeping it that way, things tend to move towards chaos over time. But disorganization stresses us out, in terms of visual clutter, and in making it difficult to find stuff we need. .

We ought to manage our time well, be orderly, and respectful of all people.

Finally but not the least,  we ought to take pride in our country, speak the truth, especially where other Nigerians are being maltreated.

By Dr. James C. Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.