Shh! Silence, please!

What Nigerians don't Understand
What Nigerians don’t Understand

There’s a conspiracy against silence in Nigeria. We seem to prefer a shout to a whisper in this country.

Nigerians are the noisiest group of people I know. As a new corps member in Delta State I had wondered, what’s the cause of malicious exchanges between relatives?  I realized Urhobo use higher decibel in communication not necessarily as quarrels.

Everywhere you go, someone is making noise. They aren’t making sounds, they’re making noise. People who make noise for their own amusement intrude on the privacy of silence to which the rest of us are entitled.

Silence is a natural state. Any noise is a deviation from the norm. A lion doesn’t roar for more than a few minutes out of 24 hours, and while I don’t know any lion personally, I’ll bet there are days lions choose not roar at all. How often do you hear thunder, the eruption of a volcano or the rumble of an earthquake? These natural sounds are special and they only break the earth’s silence on rare occasion.

I don’t understand why some people insist on filling the air with noise. They can’t stand to be in a car without having the radio on. They can’t stand being anywhere with nothing but the natural sounds of earth in their ears.

In noise making?
In noise making?

I guess our country is besiege with heavy conscience people; People who can’t stand the reprimanding of a sick conscience and would do anything to crowd out the thought or voices from within.

You can’t have a peaceful ride to work on public bus these days. Either the driver is tuned to some commercial craze stations as in the BRT or there are evangelical brethren bent on winning your soul to Christ regardless of choice.

You get to work and your colleague is playing some solemn music in the corner even though it’s against the company’s policy.

You start making your calls as a marketer and the telecom companies are dying to entertain you with some caller tunes. If I have to wait for someone on the phone, I don’t want the thought of what I wish to pitch crowded out of my head by some inane bit of music.

When you get home, the war against silence continuous; the neighbours’ generating sets, on way past into the night and some dude who blasts music from the next flat are there to content with.

This man is always at the gate to our estate...
This man is always at the gate to our estate…

It’s the gratuitous noise that irritates me most. When a driver hunks his horn indiscriminately; the frequent lack of discretion of ambulance users and sirens for politicians. There ought to be genuine medical emergencies, not some rogue at wheels.

As similar as I want to believe the English and Yoruba grammar share some idioms. It is only in the Yoruba – a race known for their excessive exaggeration of things that this idiom exists: “Aye agbo, orun amo. [The earth will hear, the heaven will know]. You’ll agree with me that for the heaven to be privy to anything we do on earth a noise of thunderous proportion must have been generated and sent to the skies.

I realize now that when I was a kid, some of the boys I played with were constant screamers. They always made more noise by yelling louder than the rest of us. It’s a trait some people carry with them through life. They do everything louder than everyone else.

These people are the ones ripping us off in ludicrous ways with corruption. For anyone, who must host heaven and earth, in a party must have stolen big to make it possible.


7 thoughts on “Shh! Silence, please!”

  1. We were in Europe this summer and I was impressed by how soft spoken they were. It made me think about how I project my own voice to be heard. I should be in plays!
    Silence is golden!

  2. Lol..we all should jes adapt ourselves with the Naija noice because ‘ko si ogbon to le da’ (there is no way you can do it) that their wont be noise. Even in the hospitals, when a new baby is born or when someone dies, people will still shout, for joy or for sorrow.

  3. Silence is golden indeed but sadly,its alien to most Nigerians. The average Nigerian prefers “ginger ginger” maybe myself included. But I do know when I need that solemn quiet time with no roaring sounds in my head. And those times are indeed golden

  4. I love this peace. I hate having to beg for my peace of mind and a little quiet in Lagos. It’s quite frustrating to say the least.

    Thank you for the gift of beautifully strung words 🙂

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