Finding the link between ‘Nothing’ and Success (a.k.a “Hamma”)

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

I like to think of myself as a ‘Jazzy/Contemporary Music/Soft Rockie’ sort of gal.

Naturally, my playlist would exclude a huge number of Nigerian musicians and their sounds, which are (generally) configured to wake the dead from their slumber.

(Bang! Bang! Clang! Clang! Gboom! Bang! Clang!)

This is not to say I do not nod my head to some of our afro-pop ‘bangers’ when I hear them play. Sometimes, they even stay stuck in my head for hours (or days).

Like this song called “When Money No Dey”, by Timaya and Flavour. I heard it over radio some evening, and it haunted me for days on end; having me nod my head in my sleep to its (non-audible) rhythm.  

Witchcraft is real.

But yesterday, I watched its music video for the very first time, and it struck me that this video fairly represents the (average person’s) ‘Nigerian Dream’.

The video kept switching between scenes of poverty and wealth of its protagonist; depicting that in the times of poverty, he was highly disregarded by society, whereas upon attainment of wealth, he became the centre of all attention… given to ‘spraying’ money sporadically on others, and rocking light-skinned ‘chicks’ on his arm.


I have no problem with the ‘Nigerian Dream’; i.e. to be able to say loudly to one’s self the reality that “I don Hamma!

I want the Nigerian Dream. You want the Nigerian Dream. We all want the Nigerian Dream.

In fact, it is actually the Human Dream: to attain success, and be a force to reckon with in society. After all, even Proverbs 14:20 acknowledges that “the poor is hated even by his neighbour, But those who love the rich are many”.

(You think it’s only you that can quote bible, ehhn??)

There is no sin in wanting success. It is natural.

My grouse is with the incomplete representation of the actualization of this dream, which is more or less the representation of the “get-rich-quick” manual for success syndrome that that is pervasive in our society, and has been handed down from generation to generation.

Where our magical ‘god’ waves his hands in the air, and we suddenly catapult from being Cinderella the house-help in one day to Prince Charming the next; with “Thirty Billion Naira” in our bank account, with which to join the ‘#PepperThemGang, and show our ‘haterz’ that we are now “the Boss”.

This in itself is a huge driving force behind corruption, Ponzi schemes, endless “Saudi Arabian Princes’ of the internet, and other similar ills predominant in our society.

Sadly, we are in the majority who have stuck in our heads this incomplete picture of what the Nigerian Human Dream entails.

You see, the picture does not tell about the countless doors to be shut in your face; the holes in your shoes from endless trekking from pavement to pavement, in the search of daily livelihood.

It does not share the sorrows of rejection email after rejection email, or explain the pain of calloused fingers and head injuries from carrying block after block after block, in a bid to ensure body and soul remain together.

This picture tells us that we shall all ‘blow’ like Dangote, without explaining that time, chance and hard-work and sheer grit have their roles to play in determining when or whether we achieve the heights we desire.

It is a picture oblivious to the truth that in between nothing and “Hamma”, there are walls to be climbed, fires to be withstood, tears to be shed, nights to be open-eyed, seeds to be sewn, betrayals to be borne, hopes to be dashed and dreams to be crashed.

We are not prepared enough that one may fight the good fight, dot all the ‘I’s, cross all the ‘T’s, be the most hardworking, wake up the earliest and sleep the last. Yes, one may live day in, day out all the days of her/his life, yet, never “Hamma”.

“God forbid! My Lord is a lord of double-double”, you’d say. (As though the indigent people in the society were singled out to serve the lord of ‘single-single’).

Truth remains however that true success - or ‘Hamma’, as we’d call it in Nigeria - is not magical. It behoves on us to change this twisted narrative of fairy-tale(ish) or sudden success.

If you find an opportunity to tell a success story, be sure to equally tell about the uphill climb, and the sacrifices culminating into the attainment of wealth.

Except such wealth was illegally obtained, in which case, there really is no success there to share.  



 P.s.: I know at this point, you wonder why Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua’s picture is in this post without any mention of him, or some analysis of his being proof that countries shamelessly ogle successful people.

Would it suffice that he is wonderfully created in God’s image?

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  1. Very well said....

    True success is not simply a Destination, but a life long Journey. A lot of time we dwell on the good things alone and forget that true success is the result of every experience encountered, good and bad alike.

  2. Get rich quick........ Hmmmmmmmm

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Fisayo... and for following our blog!

  4. Ma'ma have you joined the list of those crushing on Anthony Joshua? Lol...

    My Nigerian dream.. is to be so successful that they can't have a village meeting without me..