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AnuOluwapo Adelakun: Who Neighbour Don Epp?

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dreamstime_m_793818Keep it simple and uncomplicated. Mind your business. Erase every childhood memory of you playing football and ten ten with your neighbors. Remember ye not the times you would keep to your mother’s instruction that you shouldn’t step out of the house while she was away shopping at the market or attending one of her women meetings because your neighbor was that guardian angel who compiled your encyclopedia-sized misdeeds and tabled them before your mother when she got back.

You probably hated that time when the fire station just down the road ran out of water (they really never had water anyway) and  all your neighbors turned into firemen put out the fire that almost burnt your house to the tiniest spec of ashes after you left a burning candle beside the curtains Or the other time when someone down the street called the police who came to rescue your family from visiting armed robbers.

You must scoff each time you remember those days when your neighbors dropped by to comfort you or rejoice with you, depending on what had happened. Those times also when someone on the street traveled abroad and came back with T-shirts and chocolates for you and your siblings. You knew and greeted almost every uncle, aunty, mummy , daddy and even grandparents on the street. You were born by one but raised by all.

What were your parents thinking each time they dropped by a neighbor’s house? It was an absolute pain in your neck! The Dads watched Frank Olize and nagged about how politicians were looting oil money while the mothers talked about a spectrum of issues such as their work, lesson teachers who were molesting children, the wife of the president of the landlord’s association who had picked aso-ebi for her upcoming birthday, the price of frozen chicken, the latest rat poison in town… blah blah blah!

But who neighbor epp?

This is the 21st century you say. Every man to himself.

Isn’t it amazing how most people worry these days about having neighbors who disturb them not minding that they could also be disturbing their neighbors. In the era of generators for instance, it’s either one is dealing with a noisy or smokey generator which doesn’t necessarily have to belong to one. Who neighbor epp?

We build fences, tall ones and keep our neighbors behind them and then curse at the thought of how they would rather post pictures of your burning house on Instagram rather than help you out.

I know there were/are a lot of disadvantages of our ‘former Nigerian communal living’ but I think people have taken the piss when it comes to minding their businesses in various neighborhoods. One can be dying and everyone turns the other way. Is it really the government that doesn’t have value for human lives or we, the people?

Just thinking out loud.

Photo Credit: Jason Stitt | Dreamstime.com

AnuOluwapo Adelakun is a Women & Girls rights advocate, Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker working on issues affecting marginalized girls and women in Nigeria. She's a UNICEF Voices of Youth alumni, Carrington Youth Fellow of the US Consulate in Nigeria, US Consul General Award Recipient, UN WOMEN/Empower Women Global Champion for Change and UK Chevening Alumna. She's also an ardent reader of African literature and an unrepentant fan of the BBC series 'Call the Midwife'.

7 Comments

  1. Mz_Danielz

    August 8, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I don’t know if Nigerians have stopped minding their business oh. Methinks we’d gossip, condemn and judge rather than help but even this thinking might not be totally true. I still have a sense of neighborhood in my world oh and when I lost my dad, the love and support was awesome and almost everyone lives in their own home alone with large walls. I guess everyone will tell their own story

  2. MurderSheWrote

    August 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Was thinking about this out loud to my mom days ago! It’s so bad in Abuja it’s almost a sin to even look at your neighbor in the eye lol. I believe those days of “so called communal-community living” are long gone as in gone with the 90s. Everyone is cautious. Everyone is facing their own mountain which makes me unexpectedly agree with ur question, “Who neighbor don epp”?

  3. Spunky

    August 8, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I lived in a highbrow vicinity for two years andI never knew the neighbors. Everyone was on their own. You dare not knock on their gate even when you hear them scream at the top of their lungs. It was a different experience when I relocated to a-not-too -tushed neighborhood. From the minute I settled in, my new neighbors welcomed me with bean balls(Akara). I had a good time relating and sharing experience with those folks…the constant banter no be here. Lol! I feel it’s a thing of pride. Nigerians can Sabi buggaaaa!!!

    • Oma

      August 8, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Yup, it is definitely a class thing. ‘Communal living’ in Mushin is not the same as it is in Ikoyi..

  4. Homa

    August 9, 2016 at 12:03 am

    This is a vital topic,Sometimes I really dont get it.u c ppl dat live next gate or next compound cant even relate with each other or at least greet,”its a prayer like Anu calls it “goodmorning”and even wen praying for them by saying goodmorning in their ignorance its a normal thing.
    it really doesnt pay to snob

  5. Bryte Chinule

    August 9, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Hehehehe! This caught me bolting.
    Truth is, we’ll never achieve anything greater except we achieve it together, it’s called the power of community. That’s d more reason why politicians can play and mess with us and we can’t do jack, because only a community withstands pressure not individually isolated whinnings.

    For those who think they’ve attained a class that relocates their neighbourhood to space – Eku ise.

  6. DAME

    August 9, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Abuja’s case is the worstest (permit me) i live in an estate with very short fences YET i do not know my neigbors save for the hOuse beside me who are family friends from Lagos way back…apart from that…5 years, no relationship whatsoever

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