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Pulse Opinion The culture of silence in Nigeria

Yes, the protest held. Yes, many Nigerians were involved but that is as far as they would go, lumped into the whole, becoming faceless in their misguided solidarity.

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The chatter in the bus was as fluid as the rickety sway of the rust bucket we were all squashed in and even more pointless.

It was easy to zone out, reducing the voices to a distant buzzing sound.

Then the driver begins to holla at a truck driver in front of him, forcing many to focus on the words spewing out of his mouth.

ALSO READ: I am careful with what I take part in - Femi Kuti speaks on protest

Danfo bus loaded with passengers play

Danfo bus loaded with passengers



The driver of the truck loaded with sand, had forgotten to secure the back of the truck, making it a potential accident waiting to happen.

At first, the bus driver directed his ire at the LASTMA officials we all saw release the truck after some Naira notes slide seamlessly into a pocket.

It was easy to see the accident happening, the hook coming unhinged, the car following closely behind ramming into a wall of sand that seems to have appeared out of nowhere, and so on.

The driver seemed so upset by the absurdity of it all, especially in a place like Nigeria, where we thrive in silence. In vernacular, ‘cane our line’, as far as the issue doesn’t affect us individually.

LASTMA official taking bribe play

LASTMA official taking bribe



The truck was one of five topics the driver had tried to effect a change over and as generic as it sounded, he was doing his little to make his world better.

Of course, he had to be over 50 and was showing the signs of age, for example, unnecessary, excessive talking.

Just before the feeling of warmth that someone still cared, could spread throughout our bodies, a man from behind the bus goes, ‘Wetin concern you sef?’

Of course, it was unnerving for a Nigerian to see another fighting for what is right.

Just the same way, women, mothers in a bus, advised a young woman to ignore a disturbed man masturbating against her butt in another bus, on another busy day in Lagos state.

A large portion of Nigerians are depressed and do not even realize it, and the ones that do, prefer to ignore it, a tradition made worse by our choice of silence over public derision.

We would rather blend in than stick out like a sour thumb, would rather die in silence than be disliked for being outspoken.


It’s hardly a surprise that Nigeria is barely a step from where she was during her independence in 1960. As the saying goes, a closed mouth is a closed destiny.

Although some have tried to be different, to stand up for what is right, their voices have quickly been silenced by those around them who would rather avoid any confrontations with the powers that be.

2face Idibia play

2face Idibia cancels nationwide protest



Take 2Face Idibia for example. He is no Fela Kuti, (although Twitter users seem to believe they have a lot in common but for courage) but he made a move and although he caved in all too quickly, the very ones he had been fighting for, were the first to throw stones.

ALSO READ: True story behind music star's cancelled protest

2face protest play

2face protest



If this is to be expected of Nigerians, then there is, even more, incentive to feed the silence until it swallows us whole.

Yes, the protest held. Yes, many Nigerians were involved but that is as far as they would go. All lumped into the whole, becoming faceless in their misguided solidarity.

Until we begin to speak up for what is right, Nigeria will continue to wallow in self-pity buried in self-righteousness.

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