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The Problem with Retelling Single Stories, Oderowho Elohor

We are frequently guilty of one thing: The Problem with Retelling Single Stories. I, too, am guilty. I’ve misinterpreted people and circumstances simply because I didn’t give a full and nuanced picture of the scenario.

I made assumptions and choices based on a partial story. One of the most one-sided stories I ever believed was that being Nigerian puts me at a disadvantage by default.

I’ve always seen myself as someone other than African or Nigerian. There’s nothing enjoyable about being a Nigerian, from underdevelopment, instability, and a long educational hiatus to a series of recurring banditry attacks.

The despair of witnessing industrious Nigerians suffer because of the government’s failures, the false idea that black skin is subjected to an endless struggle, and the feeling of being in the lower class of the world’s hierarchy I’ve seen food costs rise by more than 60%, fish disappear from the dinner table, and friends die as a result of a broken healthcare system.

I started writing down what would become my life’s work. Not only would I abandon everything that makes me Nigerian, but I’d also make a point of erasing the awful memories that being Nigerian has brought me. I’d also pull away from Nigeria, where I call home.

This budding pursuit seemed simple enough, but it stood in stark contrast with what I really wanted. I love being African and I love my black skin, but the sad narratives gained roots in my heart. This was me simply believing a single story.

Being a Nigerian is hard but not a detriment. Of course, Nigeria is full of many problems but there are other sides of this story.

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Article writing by Oderowho Elohor

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