The 'anyhowness' of Nigerians

 

Key points

  • A lot of Nigerians simply don't care about the type or outcome of the business they intend to engage in. The final goal for many is to make money. Once money is made, the deal is done. This is simply what I term the 'Anyhowness' of Nigerians.
  • 'Anyhowness’ is a personal (or perhaps Nigerian) grammatical conjecture which I am employing in this write up to lay emphasis on an inner nonchalant attitude that is sometimes part of the Nigerians society.

 

In late November 2013, a video of the then governor of Edo state Nigeria, Comrade Adams Oshiomole made its round on social media, where he told a woman (who was said to be a widow) selling on the road to ‘go and die’.

The governor subsequently came under serious criticism which further led to him apologizing to the woman. Going further, the governor also offered her a job, gave her a cash of 2Million Naira and recruited her to join in the campaign of discouraging trading on major roads.

While all these happened, a lot of persons didn’t exactly forgive governor Oshiomole. To them he should’ve been removed from office.

To me the outburst was legit and necessary but while we were at it we perhaps didn’t pause to think about other scenarios.

Indeed there are other consequences of trading on a major road aside from being told to “go and die” by the governor or having your wares seized.

 

Let me paint a scenario…

It is possible that blocking the road with so many wares can cause a traffic congestion. When vehicles — and people — are not moving the way they ought to, accidents can occur. Moreover someone that has an emergency can get stuck in the traffic. Either way, there can be a loss of life.

Irrespective of the many daring implications of trading on major roads, a lot of persons still failed to appreciate that what the woman did was bad. All attention and criticism was reserved for the governor, while little or nothing was said about the woman’s misconduct and flagrant disobedience of laid down laws

A lot of persons argued that the government did not provide jobs for people therefore they have to find something to do. While this point is also valid, another truth is that ‘finding something to do’ must be done in accordance with the law and in such a way that you or your neighbor will not be hurt. Otherwise armed robbers are still finding something to do you know?.

Sadly a lot of Nigerians simply don’t care about the type or outcome of the business they intend engaging in. The final goal for many is to make money. Once money is made, the deal is done. This is simply what I term the ‘Anyhowness’ of Nigerians.

 

The ‘Anyhowness’ of Nigerians; Key focus on the pharmaceutical industry.

As a person the point where the ‘anyhowness’ of Nigerians gets very unpleasing is in when unqualified people start encroaching effortlessly and unchecked into the pharmaceutical space.

Most persons hide under the motive of survival to engage in ventures that are not just punishable by the law, but that are also abhorred by nature and common sense. The people in this class firmly believe that they have a family to feed. The question should then be — who does not have a family to feed?

The pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria is such that almost everyone sees it like a land flowing with milk and honey. Most people literally want a taste of this money, so they can also properly “feed” their families.

READ ALSO – Curbing Quackery in the Nigerian Pharmaceutical sector

In every part of Nigeria, the craze to have a cut of this ‘drug money’ is what truly reinforces the ‘anyhowness’ of Nigerians. Let me take you on a quick ride with illustrations on what I mean.

 

South-East Nigeria.

In Enugu state Nigeria, when it’s 5PM in the evening, several cars park on the roadside. They open their booth and unleash various brands on herbal (and sometimes orthodox) medicines for sale.

Typical display of anyhowness in Nigeria

This is a sample of how different medicines are sold by the road side in Enugu state Nigeria as captured by a research published on fortune journals

The resultant effect of this positioning is that people going home from the days’ activities must at a point meet one of these vendors. A good proportion will definitely stop by to procure one or two, even if it’s just a ‘system flusher’.

Trust these vendors to have a solution to every complaint. There is a drug for everything including cancer. They readily sell you anything and everything. What’s their defense? The government did not provide jobs and they need to feed their family.

READ ALSO – When Should One Take Herbal Medications

But do you think this is only seen in Enugu state? Of course not, the madness is synonymous with other Eastern states and even transcends to other parts of Nigeria. Anambra and Rivers states have a unique share of this madness.

 

Lagos State, South West Nigeria.

Everyone knows Lagos as the crazy capital of Nigeria. Indeed the ‘anyhowness’ of Nigerians truly manifest here.

With a population of over 14 million people (as reported by the World Population review) one can be rest assured that a lot will be going on here. The pharmaceutical sector has a large share in this ‘anyhowness’.

Typically speaking, lots of shops and kiosks where provisions and stationeries are sold in Lagos are also low key medicine stores. Any medicine you can think of is properly sandwiched between creams, soaps and biscuits.

A trip to a place like Obalende or Ojuelegba under bridge will also reveal another form of madness to you. People ‘legally’ sell medicines in traveling bags; literally any drug.

The funny thing is that these are orthodox medicines and you can buy just one tablet of antibiotic or pain killer. Who cares about antibiotic resistance here or whether you’re combining same drug of different brands?

The 'anyhowness of Nigerians in 3D

Typical picture showing what happens in Obalende under bridge, Lagos Nigeria. These are some of the issues.

 

Should I talk about women who hawk medicines (orthodox and herbal) across the streets in Lagos and even other Western states? What about those that set tables at night at various bus stops to sell medicines?

This like you can guess is predominant in Lagos, especially on the mainland. Most Western states have similar structure or even worse. Sincerely these are some of the issues.

 

Northern parts of Nigeria.

The Northern part of the country is still not left out in the madness. They just like any other part have their own fair share of the ‘anyhowness’ of Nigerians

Stories about local healers who go around doing cataract surgeries are predominant in the North. Patent medical dealers are demi medical gods who carry out any procedure you can imagine in their premises.

The stories are sickening and sometimes better not told. Sadly government and regulatory authorities seem to either be unaware of some of these activities or are not motivated to do anything about them yet.

 

Online influencers and content creators.

Instagram skit makers with their vast followers also want to put food on their own table. They want to drive the latest Benz and go for holidays in Dubai. To do this, they won’t mind further affirming the ‘anyhowness’ of Nigerians by taking any gig irrespective of the ethical constraints surrounding it.

This is why Nigerian Instagram and Facebook feeds are filled with adverts of penis and hip enlargement, as well those of instant flat tummy tea from these influencers. How these activities make sense to anyone is beyond my comprehension.

If you as much raise a question, hell will be let loose on you with the “I am-just-trying-to-put-food-on-the-table” mantra. But who does not really want to put food on his own table? Why must your own method of putting food on the table aim at bending the law? Why are you fighting hard to rob other people just to put food on your own table?

Make it make sense please!!!

As silly as the excuses for engaging in illegal trading and marketing of pharmaceutical products are, one thing those that engage in it fail to understand is that there is no difference between them and bandits or criminals.

The tiny difference is only that criminals have guns and they don’t have. Otherwise they are both capable of killing people and killing them in large numbers. They also obtain money via dubious means, same pattern with criminals.

Well, we know Nigeria is an ‘anyhow’ place but we also know that Nigeria is capable of evolving into anything. Therefore, I just want to beg in advance that if any day comes when a new Dora Akunyili rises, please don’t come to social media to cry foul when a clamp down begins.

READ ALSO – How To Differentiate Between A Chemist and A Pharmacy

You know better now. Stop engaging in illicit trade (especially with pharmaceuticals) because you want to survive. If everyone is left to operate like that, there would’ve been no space for you to exist in the first place.

Finally, dear twitter strong opinion holders, Facebook influencers and Instagram big people, now is the time to join the campaign against quackery. Bringing up the sentiment of  “did you provide jobs” later on will really be an unintelligent thing to say. Join the crusade now and discourage people from illicit trading and marketing of pharmaceuticals.

 

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About Ishima

Ishima™ is a Pharmacist with special interests in the management of chronic illnesses, gender studies, mental health and psychotherapy. He is the convener of #SaveTheBoyChildMovement which is geared at repositioning the place of men in the society and redefining masculinity . He is a writer, a crazy poet and a firm believer in making the world a better place.

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