– by Tayo Faloye

It’s a pseudo life on social media especially Facebook. Activities on it are most times detached from reality. Before you wonder farther, let me cite some instances.

While the furore over the Lagoon statement by the Oba of Lagos was raging on SM a few years ago, making it seem there was an ethnic tension in the state, I was at the trade fair complex like every other customer, in the midst of our Igbo trading brothers carrying out some business transactions. There was no single bile or bad blood anywhere in realtime in markets or anywhere in Lagos. I have shared this story before.

Back to the current, I have visited a couple of markets on the island in the past two weeks this December doing some researches, and to say it was hectic and chaotic will be an understatement. Come and see crazy hustle and bustle amidst mad traffic. Traders making insane sales and customers – fathers, mothers, children, families – pushing, shoving to make a purchase. Money flowed and exchanged hands. While using the opportunity of being in the market to quickly pick up some Xmas paraphernalia for the wife and kids from a stall, we were forcefully nudged from behind by some pedestrians, causing us to stagger forward and overturn a tray of wares of a petty trader because the roads were blocked by buyers, making it difficult for people to make their way through the narrow paths in the markets without bumping into one another. Thank God the wares weren’t breakable items. The flurry of activities was that tumultuous! By the time i was done with the market visits, I was not only worn out but fatigued too. And, these are happening in a poor country as some claim?

Just yesterday night, 23rd December, I hung out briefly at a joint to catch some fresh air and awon boys were busy flexing using up the dark bottles without any care or worries in the world. I reflected on the picture of gloom some paint on social media and smiled. Later on, I took a stroll around town for some sight seeing at about past 9pm, and the salon shops were filled to the brim with customers, mostly ladies. I’m sure some of those hairstylists would have worked overnight to meet up. I began to ponder again where the money from these customers and buyers suddenly dropped from in an economy that is gleefully being painted to be all doom? Has the rhetorics of some sadistic elements on social media not been about a country ridden with abject poverty? With the ‘killings’ some smart traders made from sales this yuletide period, I’m sure many of them can go months afterwards without lifting a finger and not become broke.

Lately, there has also been a controversy over the report of a serious hike in transportation fares peculiar to the Igbo transporters, which many people think were exploitative of their own folks travelling east. I’m not getting into the fray as to whether it’s exploitative or a result of market forces (demand/ supply). My own is that, irrespective of the concocted negativities by a few number people about the country they so much love to hate for no justifiable reasons, travellers are paying up the exorbitant increase in price to travel back home to be with their own for the fun of the season in an economy adjudged to be in a comatose state. What an irony!

In as much as it will be foolhardy to deny it isn’t all rosy in the country, people must learn to quit exaggerating and escalating issues online beyond what they are in real-time in the name of political opposition or pure dislike for the government of the day. Has there ever been a time it was all eldorado in this country? Was there any period Nigerians or people anywhere in the world didn’t strive or work assiduously to fend and earn a good living? Do they earn free money in saner climes people carelessly bandy in statements without thinking?

This story isn’t for the sake of sophistry, neither is it to divulge stats or data on the state of the economy. It’s simply to disabuse the minds of those who may want to swallow the tales of woes being disseminated by a group of people whose only forte is negativity.

Hence, I challenge you today not to be sold on the purported falsehoods on social media or anywhere. Put on your thinking caps beyond the confines of the box and get creative. Go out and see what’s happening around you and get innovative. Break the chain of lamentation, diffuse the cloud of hopelessness and get into the realm of productive living. Get smart and explore the market. Opportunities abound legitimately. There’s something for everyone out there.

Go grab yours! You will be amazed.

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