Defying Conventions: A Nigerian Perspective on Happiness and Purpose

David Oyekunle

This statement, which is frequently used in Nigerian slang this year, reverberates with a sense of tenacity and purpose. It begins with the phrase, “No gree for anybody this year.” When I think about the fact that its essence is both hilarious and instructive, a scene comes to mind that brilliantly captures the essence of what it is. The sentence becomes a rallying cry for unflinching fortitude in the face of the hardships that life provides. It is an homage to resilience, which is the quality of perseverance in the face of adversity.

The spirit of Nigeria is unwavering, even in the face of the challenges that have been presented, which highlights the fact that this year, nothing and no one can prevent Nigerians from pursuing their goals. In addition to being a slang phrase, the word can also be used as a mantra, which serves as a monument to the unyielding mentality that is characteristic of the year.

When I was just ten years old, my mother, who was an educator with simplicity at her core, taught me a profound lesson that has continued to echo throughout my entire existence. My early years were defined by this enlightening encounter that I had that affected me. She was certain that the most significant feature of life was not the achievement of happiness but rather the attainment of happiness. She believed that this was the real point of life. I had no notion that this simple, yet profound insight would serve as the foundation for my perspective on global society at the time, and I was utterly naïve to the consequences of this understanding. I had no concept that this revelation would serve as the foundation.

My adventure through secondary school began with me being confronted with a question that seemed to be of the utmost importance: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was asked this question at the beginning of my journey. As my answer, I carved the word “happy” into the surface in a forceful manner. The way that I wanted to accomplish the things that I wanted to do and the things that I wanted to accomplish was well summarized by it. On the other hand, it is of the utmost importance to underline that the response that I provided did not coincide with the response that was provided by my teachers. To be more specific, teachers of mathematics and social studies questioned the legitimacy of such a straightforward and objective answer at such a young age. This contrasted with the typical response that they had expected receiving from their students.

I implied that they were unable to comprehend the profound knowledge that was transmitted through my words, and I was not deterred by the fact that they did not have full confidence in it. It was not a denial of desire or the pursuit of goals that had value; rather, it was an argument that happiness was not only a destination but rather an integral component of the journey. In other words, it was not a criticism of the pursuit of goals that had value. Throughout the entirety of my life, this notion has acted as a compass that has directed my thoughts and feelings toward the existence of things.

A spirit of defiance against the norms of society, which frequently prescribe clearly defined paths to achievement, is exemplified by the instance that occurred during childhood and appeared to be completely harmless. This act of disobedience is a result of the fact that the event took place, which serves as a reminder that, despite the challenges that life presents, the pursuit of pleasure is not only acceptable but also necessary. Throughout the length of my journey through the complicated web of life, this sentiment has continued to influence my grasp of existence and has had a profound impact on the decisions that I make.

My goal is that as we grow and develop during this year and every subsequent year, we will only pursue that which brings us happiness. We will not compete with one another but rather work together to achieve this goal, which will enable us to preserve the peace that currently exists in our society.

I trust that this year is like a blank page that is filled with amazing dreams, and that each stroke is a sign of hope and joy. My hope is that this year brings you nothing but joy. With our objectives in hand and a heart that is overflowing with joyful optimism, we ought to collaborate in order to make this year a one that is truly remarkable. We raise a glass to fresh starts and the promise that the year 2024 has in store for ourselves! In the journey of the new year, I hope that everyone in the year 2024 has a nice start.

  • Oyekunle is a Researcher, Mentor, Project management and Business Analyst certified Consultant

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