‘It’s well’. Nigerians are currently taking refuge in spirituality and spiritual collectivism. This has come with a comforting and consoling form of wishful greeting. For some time, since the season of recession dawned with the Buhari presidency, people got united and unified in a primacy of salutation. Interestingly, this form of greeting or morale beefing is not limited by time as is ‘good morning’, ‘good afternoon’, ‘good evening’, or ‘good night”.
Actually, ‘it is well’ is something that is good all the time and in all situations. Its popular usage in recent times has also revealed that as a relational instrument, it is inter-faith, inter-religious, cross-border, cross-cultural, and certainly not gender-sensitive. Although it commands a Pentecostal familiarity, it has been well adapted and well received as a moral energizer that reassures that what is ahead may be unknown, but is predictably better because the God who lives never fails! ‘It is well’. Thus even when armed robbers invade a convent and tie up and molest the inhabitants and cart away their valuables as if they are living in hell, ‘it is well’.
And that should suffice for any believer except you live without faith. That is to show that the morale beef goes beyond just being simplified spirituality to being a healer and medicine for a traumatised and troubled soul; and it does not expire or lose its medicinal content if everything fails. So, it is even when a prefabricated church building collapses on an entire congregation and several souls perished without the fate of martyrs. Depleted conditions of life in Nigeria has caused this expression to be rehearsed with ease and easy abandon; and it keeps resonating with uncoordinated effort in response to the troubles and trauma people are bearing as they walk in different directions to sort out their daily challenges. There is adversity in the face of plenty. Families go to bed on hungry stomach because food has disappeared from their table. Market no longer has meaning because purchasing power has vanished in a strange flight. There is man power without jobs because means of production have dried up and industries have closed shop and rendered production lines comatose. Schools are in a state of decay, education flounders, and the Nigerian child is akimbo and hapless – and the youth stagnates! Labour has gone nude of dignity because employment is realism; or at most a semblance of its original self. It is either unpaid salaries or wages that can’t really take the labourer home. ‘It is well’. The lights are blinking daily and generating energy crises in place of power. Amateur has replaced quality to the point that consumption has become a risk and danger to the national population. Not even water available to the generality is potable and disease free. Transportation is a nightmare no thanks to choking costs and roads that lead mostly to anguish and frustration. With national borders collapsed and mindless insurgency chopping off the territory and territorial integrity with acute bloodletting in tow, every home and everybody looks vulnerable because everything appears imponderable. The situation even looks more vacant because desperation in politics has created chaos in the economy with huge incendiary implications for popular squalor and tidal surge in domestic crimes. ‘It is well’. The other time Nigerians engaged in this kind of spiritual warfare was in the aftermath of the structural adjustment programme, SAP, of the then General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida military junta. Having been imported as an instrument of economic administration, not even its attendant amorphous regimes such as Mass Mobilisation for Social and Economic Recovery, MAMSER, could turn in the desired cushion. When the letters and spirit of the unexamined experiment took a toll on the nation, everything went haywire; and for the average Nigerian family, it was like some spiritual attack closed in on their homes. Some ingenuity came out of the absurdity, nonetheless: there came the invention of ‘pure’ water business; and astronomical growth in brands of churches. This time around, something uniquely ingenious is yet to adorn. We may have to wait for the budget of “recovery and growth”. ‘It is well’. The grammar of ‘it is well’ is actually that all is not well! Oddities are stalking the land; and a few are feasting while a multitude is expiring from hunger and malnutrition. ‘It is well’ is no doubt an irony of circumstance and tragedy of a people. It disguises system failure, with debilitating dysfunction of vital systemic corollaries. Can I hear somebody shout: ‘It is well’! Even this shall come to pass. ‘It is well’.