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 World Happiness Report: Truly we‘re unhappy, Nigerians tell Buhari

World Happiness Report: Truly we‘re unhappy, Nigerians tell Buhari


Some Nigerians are unhappy that living standards have plunged into the valleys. 

They admitted that things are increasingly taking an unbelievable turn for the worse. And as it were, only a few people can now cope with the current swing of things.

The people’s reactions are coming on the heels of the latest World Happiness Report,  which claimed that Nigerians are now unhappier than they were in 2021. 

The report also noted that in African, Nigerians have now become such unhappy lot, despite being hugely blessed by providence with abundant human and natural resources.  

Some Nigerians spoken to by Sunday Sun admitted that the World Happiness Report is downright factual, affirming that things have never been this bad for everyone.   

According to the report released on March 18, Nigeria was ranked 118th among the 146 nations the recent survey covered. 

This year’s performance showed that Nigerians were happier last year when the country finished at the 116th position.    

According to Sunday Sun investigation, many Nigerians are gravely sad and sulking. A great multitude is experiencing hard time and downtime. When you get close to them, sadness and despondence are easily deciphered. These are their current vulnerable sides. Often, people erupt with either aggression or depression. These also find echo in their moods and voices.      

As it appears, from the creeks of the Niger Delta to the fringes of the Sahel Savannah, Nigerians keep growing intensely weary and hungry. People are getting tired with life – tired because they don’t have food to eat, tired because there is no money to spend. Those who still find the energy to soldier on sadly watch helplessly as soar away inflation snatches everything they labour for all in one breath.

The absence of power supply and petroleum products that would have enhanced life and businesses now remain a huge drawback. That aside, insecurity continues to threaten; terror is spreading; life is becoming too cheap by the day. No one seems safe anymore. Pain, sorrow and anguish seem to have the upper hand; they are splashed on every face for the next person to see. The times appear to eclipse hope for the future.       

The World Happiness Report declaration that Nigerians are unhappier now than they were last year seems to underline the grime situation the people now face.  

At the moment, the reality suggests that the citizenry are fast slipping into poverty hour after hour. Thus, many are unhappy. Yet, there seems to be no end to the looming doom that might follow.   

The World Happiness Report is marking its 10th year anniversary this year.

According to one of its editors, Jeffrey Sachs, the body is a “worldwide determination to find the path to greater global well-being.” And that came following a UN General Assembly resolution 10 years ago.

While trying to explain the essence of his organisation, Sachs said that “now, at a time of pandemic and war, we need such an effort more than ever.

“And the lesson of the World Happiness Report over the years is that social support, generosity to one another, and honesty in government are crucial for well-being.” 

Our correspondent learnt that organisation  focuses on key indices such as a country’s GDP, healthy and life expectancy, low corruption and high social trust, support for the people in times of trouble, generosity in a community, and freedom of the people to make important decisions in matters that affect them.  

It was further learnt that the global survey tried to gauge how people living in close to 150 countries see their own lives. Data obtained are said to serve as a reflection of how happy a country truly is.

The report tries “to assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average of data over a three-year period.”

This year, Finland for the fifth consecutive time emerged the world’s happiest country. Its neighbours, Denmark, and Iceland followed in that order.

Afghanistan occupied the rear as the unhappiest country in the world, followed by Lebanon.

Back in Africa, the report suggested that the fortunes of Nigerians keep getting worse; the country ranked below 20 other nations on the continent.   

Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation, ranked the happiest in Africa, placing 52nd overall in the world. Other African countries that followed were Libya in the 86th position, Ivory Coast (88), Cameroon (89), Senegal(90), South Africa (91), Gambia (93) Ghana (93) , Niger (94), Algeria (96), Gambia (96), Liberia (97), Benin (97), Congo (99), Morocco (100), Guinea (100) Mozambique (101), and Cameroon (102), and Burkina Faso (111).

Validating the report, a university teacher who preferred to be anonymous told our correspondent that “no doubt, this is a season of anomie, and a season of the absurd in Nigeria.”

Then he asked: “Do you not see frustration everywhere you go? Or will those who still live in denial say this is not real?

“Everywhere in this country, you see sadness written in people’s faces? You also feel it etched in their psyche. For some people, that goes into their subconscious mind. People are currently despondent; some are coming down with depression. In some instances, suicide follows while those who rule us have a field day.”

He warned that: “Everyone is buffeted on all sides by the harsh economic reality of ‘our time. That is the truth this President Muhammadu Buhari government has refused to acknowledge.”

He regretted that the handlers of the president are shielding him from the truth of the matter, while pretending that things are well with Nigerians, whereas that is the opposite.

Waxing philosophical, he stated: “What President Buhari has not done, what he has refused to do, and what he does not know to do are the key things that have kept all of us down, and where we are at the moment.”     

Meanwhile at the Catholic morning Mass in Lagos last Sunday, the worshippers clearly showed how sad they are – that indeed, a vast majority of the people are silently   reeling in pain.  

After the ritual introductory rites, the officiating priest after greeting the congregation proceeded to ask: “Are you happy? The “yes” response he got from the congregants – about 3,000 in number – was muffled. Not satisfied, he repeated the same question. This time around, the answer he got was marginally better.

Not satisfied, the priest went on to let the people know the essence of being happy in God’s house. Then he asked again: “Are you happy?” expecting a deafening roar. But again, the response though clearly better than the first two, remained disappointing. It was nowhere close to what could have come from a happy congregation of 100 worshipers.  Then he rested the matter, and moved on.  

When our correspondent in an encounter, asked a commercial motorcycle rider, Zaharadeen if he was happy, his response was startling. 

“I’m not,” he declared emphatically, and could not keep his voice low, adding “pray who is happy in Nigeria of today?

“I travelled all the way to Lagos from Kano to do this job. I’m not happy doing this, but I must survive before anything else.

“I was studying Animal Husbandry in one of the tertiary institutions in Kano State. At a point when there was no money for me to continue, I had to drop out. Then a friend of mine told me I could make some money in Lagos riding a commercial motorcycle. That is why I’m here.

“By the time I have gathered, fairly enough money, I shall return home to continue my studies from where I left off.”

In another encounter, another okada rider, Musa Azeez, lamented the condition in the country.

“This present administration has taken away our sleep. 

“Things are tough here beyond measure. This is where we find ourselves.”

When our correspondent asked a woman, Iya Iyabo, who is selling fruits by the roadside in Ijesha along the Oshodi-Mile 2 expressway, Lagos, first, her countenance changed. 

She was surprised anyone in his right senses could be asking if she was happy.

“Your question sounds every inch odd.

“However, we have to be happy because we are alive. But to say someone like me is happy on account of the hardship in the in the country now is akin to deceit. Maybe those of them who are politicians are. But not those of us currently feeling the pinch of their misrule. Truth be told, no one is happy.”

Not done, she asked: “Are we happy because the price of garri is coming down? Or because rent is no more on the rise?

“When you consider the prices of food stuff alone, you rather get frightened than being happy.”

A trader, Okey, who deals in imported used spare parts, told our correspondent that when Fela sang that Nigerians were suffering and smiling, no one knew he was only being prophetic.

“Now, the Buhari government has come to fulfill that prophecy.

“As a businessman, when you consider the exchange rate, your heart skips its beating. 

“You return home to rest, there is no power supply. There is no fuel, no diesel to power you generator.

“We are even hearing now that banks have begun cutting down on their business hours – all because they cannot afford to buy diesel at its current price. This is incredible!

“Pray, what indeed, gives joy in this country now when you have to provide everything for yourself? Yet, we have sets of people masquerading as government.

“You don’t have water to drink; you cannot even power your generator and pump water from the borehole you dug. Oh, what a country!” he said.

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