USAfrica: Nigerians, no longer the happiest people on earth?


Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet

By Kene Obiezu, contributor to

It was not long ago that Nigerians considered themselves the happiest people on earth. Of course, this was before that myth was shattered and many of those who wove the myth in the first place scrambled to hold up the resilience of the everyday Nigerian, so as to save face and not to lose the arguments to those whose strongest argument about Nigerians is that many of them are criminals in a country riddled with crime.

  To say that Nigerians are the happiest people on earth or even among the happiest people is to obscure what would be an inconvenient truth: that the most populous black country on earth is full of unhappy people.

 It is not just that within the country the system which ordinarily should bequeath a prosperous country to Nigerians is broken, many hearts are broken with it.

 With the levels of frustration in the country especially among young people many of whom have been left with practically no hope, it is a miracle that only few people commit suicide in Nigeria, and the level of crime has remained relatively low.

  A maelstrom of misery

  Misery is defined as the state of suffering and want as a result of physical circumstances or extreme poverty. According to the World Bank,91 million Nigerians languish beneath the international poverty line. But are Nigerians really miserable? The Misery Index appears to show that they are.

 The Misery Index is an economic indicator which aims to keep track of a combination of various economic data to help assess the degree of economic hardships for ordinary folks in an economy.

 According to the latest data, Nigeria`s misery index rose to 62.79 in July-2022 compared to 59.4 in December 2021.This represents an almost 6% decline in the Misery Index which means that in the past seven months (December 2021 and July 20220 Nigerians have experienced a sharp worsening of the misery index by almost 81 basis points.

 Why wouldn’t Nigerians experience a sharp spike in the levels of misery in the country when by the day, the standards of living in the country continue to take new hits, run aground by the many forces which can only thrive in a country where leadership has failed to be assertive, inclusive and proactive.

 These days, many Nigerians earn money only to see their earnings shrink away, buffeted on all sides by inexplicable expenditure.

 It remains a grave bother that many factors in Nigeria continue to induce anxiety.  Insecurity continues to be a cause for great concern as people feel neither safe when they move round or stay at home.  In Nigeria, terrorists have become so confident in their capacity to induce terror, and so convinced about the frailty of the Nigerian state that they have in their crosshairs Nigeria`s president and seat of power.

USAfrica: Nigerians, no longer the happiest people on earth?

 Meanwhile, inflation has succeeded in emptying the tables of many families to leave the stomachs of children growling out of hunger.

 In all these, governments at all levels remain inept and corrupt, doing little to alleviate the suffering of Nigeria.

The pall cast over Nigeria is not without provenance. Indeed, the index drives home a sore point. Follow him on Twitter @kenobiezu

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