It Is Well - The statement Nigerians make when they find themselves helpless, or just looking for ways to escape responsibilities, or find excuse for laziness or inactivity.
First let us establish where this statement that has now become a virus in our Nigerian vocabulary, came from.
It all started when the son of a Shunemite woman, whom Elisha was the prophet behind his existence, died. On seeing that her son had died, she did not say anything, but started riding straight to prophet’s abode. Whenever anyone asked her what was wrong with her, seeing she looked so agitated, she always said All is well.
It was none other than Horatio Gates Spafford who brought this ‘It is well’ phrase mainstream, when he wrote the famous hymn, ‘It is well with my soul’, after losing all his children in a shipwreck. He wrote the hymn when he passed the spot his children died, on the way to meet his wife who had survived the wreck.
The Shunemite woman used this sentence to keep herself from speaking negatively about her situation, despite the fact that everything she saw around her told her it was over. Horatio Gates Spafford used it as a source of encouragement, after suffering what can be called a major loss in this life, believing that all things work together for his good, in the end.
It is thus funny when we use this phrase as an excuse for our laziness, and our preference to do nothing about our situation, a phenomenon which can be particularly attributed to this generation of Nigerians.
When our government collects taxes, yet we sit down and provide all the amenities we already paid for, for ourselves, we lie down on our bed, and say, it is well. We must remember that before the Chibok Girls were kidnapped, Boko Haram had gone to a secondary school, and gunned down about 40 boys. What did we do? We smiled and said it is well. Politicians are robbing us clean, taking our commonwealth, and stocking it up for their children. But as long as we can be friends with those children, and receive our own share, then it is well. Even if we cannot receive our share, it is still well. At least, we can still afford to put food on our table.
People like Femi Otedola and Farouk Lawan can openly steal, slap over 170 million Nigerians in the face, walk freely in the land, knowing nothing will happen, because it is well. Let him cruise his gigantic black and silver boat jare, it is well. At least, I can still drive my 1992 camry.
Frankly speaking? Is it well with me in the midst of the storm? Yes, it is. Is it well with me when I lose everything that matters with me? Yes it is. But…
Let’s be objective a bit, when the Shunemite woman said it is well, what was she doing? She was on her way to meet the prophet, to tell him to find a solution to her dead son, because she never asked him for a son in the first place. Now that he gave her a son, why should he not live a full life? She did not sit by the bedside of the dead son, wailing “All is well.” Her “All is well” was backed up with corresponding actions. She was not lazy, she put her actions where her mouth was.
Should we say it is well when it comes to Nigeria? Well, I will not answer the question for you. But one thing I will say is this. If you ever say it is well, make sure you are actually doing something to make it well, because the people that are making it unwell are doing something. They are planning, strategizing, and putting things together to make sure it would not be well with Nigeria. This is not the time for us to fold our hands, run to church and pray for personal breakthroughs and the latest range rover. If we keep up with that, one day, there might be no bridge for us to drive that range rover on. Of what use is prosperity in the midst of chaos?
The problem with our generation is that we have become complacent, more selfish as the day goes, and social media has not even made it better. It is easier for us to sit down, snap pictures, create hash tags which the people that matter would never see, than actually do something, because that is what is in vogue now. After all celebs all over the world are doing it, why don’t we?
It is now cooler to design DPs, and upload than to go out to do something, the DP being a reaction to something that had already taken place, and not proactivity to prevent something from taking place.
Let me shock you, the people causing the chaos are not doing it via social media. They are not using hash tags or humorous DPs. They are actually in the real world doing things. Why on earth do we think we are going to be able to spark change by being social media parrots?
What the social media does is that it creates awareness, it sheds light on issues that would have been otherwise obscure.
The question is after the awareness-creation, what next? After you have gained knowledge, how have you applied it? How have you solved the problem social media exposed to you?
This social media rants, while excessively loud, is not exactly effective, because it has become akin to preachers preaching to the choir, while the sinners lay waste in whore houses. So it gives us the illusion that we are actually doing something, when all we are doing is spitting e-saliva all over the place, while our country runs down.
This it is well culture we have imbibed in so many aspects of our lives is what has followed us to the way we deal with many things in our country.
Husband batters wife. Parents say “you must not leave him. We went through it. Stay there, it is well.”
Uncle rapes niece. Family says “we can’t report this o. it will bring disgrace to the family. Let’s bury it. It is well.”
Yes, we know it is well. You don’t need to tell me, my bible already told me. The question is, what are we going to do about what it is well about? Are we going to save our daughter from dying in the hands of her lion-in-form-of-a-man husband? Are we going to help our niece recover from her traumatic experience, and teach her to learn to trust again? Are we going to rise up and save our country from going down in runs? What exactly are we going to do?
We have become the ‘it is well’ generation. Passively sailing through life, waiting to be victims of circumstances, soaking up whatever sucking thing life throws at us, like a mattress that can never have enough, and yet never getting to saturation point.
The question is when we will stop saying ‘it is well’, and do something about it? When will something gruelling happen, and I won’t see a response on Facebook saying “it is because we have sinned in Nigeria, and should learn to live holy?”
When will we understand that we actually have the right to question our government? We appointed them, and so we can talk to them. This is not the military regime, so let’s drop the mentality of not being able to ask questions. Don’t be over-religious, and afraid to question the government, saying we cannot rebel against the authority God placed over us. Questioning a democratically-elected government, and making them accountable is not rebellion, it is your responsibility. Anything else is laziness. After all, these are your resources, and you appointed them to oversee its use. Let’s not hide our irresponsibility behind religion.
If we fold our hands, and sit at home, saying “it is well.” One day, you might step out of what used to be the four walls of your house, and ask yourself “is it really well?”
So, I welcome you to the “it is well” generation, the generation where intelligent Nigerians have resorted to replacing common sense and proactivity with inertia, in order to mask their laziness and mere lack of willingness to do something about their situation, as long as it doesn’t affect them directly.
After all said, it is well, my brothers and sisters.
N.B: The funniest thing is I wrote an 'It is well' post two years ago. I said some things then, and pointed out our reactiveness. Now, it is worse. I hope I won't have to write something like this again two years from now. You can check the post out here.