Many people think Abuja is the “gelato” capital of Nigeria, where all we do is enjoy, flex and spend money like “tomorrow no dey.” I mean, people who don’t live in Abuja generally see Abuja as Nigeria’s London. A place where money flows like water, where everyone lives like a king. Now, I legit understand what people in the abroad, who have people in Nigeria constantly harassing them for money, go through.
When you live in Abuja, here are some of the things you go through:
1. Because you live in Abuja, which qualifies as Nigeria’s London, you are under pressure from family and friends. Friends will be like, “Abeg, I hear say civil defence dey recruit and na for Abuja dem dey do am. You fit link me up?” Nysc posting too, they are asking you to call someone.
2. Extended family members begin to harass you for their needs. Their phone got lost and they need a replacement; water spoilt their phone; the roof is leaking—you hear all sorts of ridiculous stuff. All your extended cousins begin to call you frequently without necessarily saying anything, but you know where they are going. Every time it is, “Aunty, I just say make I hear your voice,” which is the Nigerian version of “Anything for the boys?”Or “Find me something abeg.”
3. Everyone suddenly wants to associate with you. Friends of friends, children of your parent’s friends, etc., in case you can connect them.
4. They ask you when you are coming home every time so much that you become afraid of travelling for Christmas. They will use their eyes to judge you, to search your body and bags whether there are truly signs of Abuja gelato on you.
5. They guilt trip you with words like, “You have forgotten me abi?” immediately you pick their calls, or they blackmail you that you’ve suddenly become so busy that you can’t pick their calls again.
6. They bug you for kilishi everytime you announce you are coming home. ??
Everyone believes that if you can live in Abuja successfully for years, then you must have really arrived. They know it is a very expensive city to live in. Tales about Abuja we’ve been hearing since childhood does not help matters too. How the streets of Abuja are smooth and well tarred. How there are no buses except cabs that would only carry you (drop). How food and housing is expensive.
Again, because the seat of government is in Abuja, they automatically assume that before money gets to other places, it must have flown on the streets of Abuja.
Some even call to find out about Buhari and if you are seeing him regularly. Everybody addresses you as “Eyin eeyan Buhari” (Buhari’s people).
Now I understand your struggles and pain over our Naija people who won’t let you rest with their “Give me, help me,” because they think you have it all together. They think money flows on the streets abroad.
As long as you are an Abroadian or Abuja resident and you claim to be broke, they will pick offence. They can never believe you. How can you be broke? You are just stingy.
Nobody has ever called me in six years to ask if they should send even as little as dodo ikire (it’s a delicacy made in my village; if you know, you know) or elubo isu to me. All they can do is ask for one favour or the other.
Dear Fellow Nigerians,
If you didn’t know before, know this today. Abuja is not a gelato city. We don’t have it all together. We work hard. We save every penny and spend it on house rent, food and school fees. We are all in this together. We are even more broke than some of you. Yeah, we enjoy the special eyes you use to look at us because of the status of living in the nation’s capital. But that’s truly where it ends. Everyone in today’s Nigeria is poor, except politicians.
Who can relate?