Nigerians are a largely optimistic people, we have ingrained in us, the mindset that ‘nothing will go wrong’. While it isn’t a bad thing being idealistic, it is indeed naive, to deny the possibility that adversity may occur. This mindset with regards tragedy is a reason we are not proactive as a people, in how we tackle problems.
Sadly, this unpreparedness isn’t just restricted to how we handle personal tragedies, it has transformed into a way of life. This attitude is deeply ingrained in us as a people that an attempt to make a Nigerian aware of a likely calamity, translates to fighting a diabolic enemy in a religious warfare.
We see the Nigerian attitude to tragedy, all around us, it is the failure to have life or property insured against death, damage or theft. This translates into a family patriarch, dying without a will, thereby throwing his family into chaos.
We see the entrepreneur dive blindly into a venture, unprepared for business hazards or citizens undertake the risk of investing their life savings into ponzi schemes. We see this manifest in situations where people carelessly get married, without properly vetting their partners.
This is also why we are ill prepared for an epidermic, but rely on blind luck to deliver us, if the Ebola, Lassa fever and Cholera outbreaks are any indication. This informs the plight of the internally displaced people in Northern Nigeria.
We would rather bury our heads in optimism, than confront the reality that bad things actually happen. Being prepared doesn’t negate our optimism as a people, rather it makes us stronger to stand firm in the eye of the storm.
This mindset has to change and we must cast aside our naïve idealism, to acknowledge that tragedy is an inevitable eventuality.