The Gold Mask

The Gold Mask

Prelude: Academics and consultants in all fields, self-proclaimed messiahs and prophets, fortune-tellers, magicians, illusionists, and shamans are present in Lagos. Lagos, the Metropolis with a population of about 24 million, remains the financial hub of Nigeria despite losing the title as the capital city to Abuja. It attracts investors and diverse professionals ready to offer their services. If an alien arrives in Lagos with an unknown task, Nigerian creative minds will invent a new profession to execute it. Disappointingly for many, despite earning billions of dollars from petroleum revenues over six decades after independence, Nigeria still struggles with socio-economic catastrophe. Unemployment is very high.

Those lucky enough to have paying jobs find it difficult to make ends meet because of the high cost of living. The daily suffering begins for many with the transportation ordeal. People scramble in buses called Molue and Danfo or sit behind the driver of a motorcycle called Okada to travel to their destinations. Electricity power outages are rampant. Businesses produce below capacity, and inhabitants endure discomfort — the scorching heat is merciless if the air-conditioning falls out.

During the rainy season, young and old hop over potholes from one elevated patch on the road to another as if playing the game – hopscotch. Some do the long or triple jump to avoid slipping into a hole. Drivers do slalom driving to prevent their vehicles from getting stuck in muddy ditches. In the past, event organizers, partygoers, and gate gate-crashers created the “suffering and smiling culture” by which Lagosians tried to blend out the problems and enjoy themselves with the hope that life would soon be better.

The wish of Nigerians for God’s help remains unfulfilled. Intensive prayers, sacrifices, and offerings by Christians, Muslims, and numerous other religious groups have not helped resolve Nigeria’s predicament either. The economic problems, coupled with corruption at all levels and perpetual insecurity caused by criminals, have dealt a devasting blow to the fate of the young generation of Nigerians in the government. They have had enough and are leaving the country in exodus, which they coined Japa— a Yoruba word meaning to flee or to run away.


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