Once in a while, one may be in a situation that soliciting is an inevitable peaceable solution. Then you may have to implore somebody to make some adjustments to save you some cost or aid your course. Those occasions are inevitable and must be faced with wisdom. But what worries me is begging becoming a culture, a way of life. I cannot stop asking myself, or anyone else, whether it is okay to make begging a way of getting our needs met? Is it normal to think that getting something, money or food, for free is normal?

I recall recently meeting a young man who would prefer begging for a free N20 or N10 note instead of earning N50 or N100 for a small sweeping work. He so disliked work to my utter astonishment. Yesterday, I was jolted into thoughts when I observed a staff of a federal government institution begging another staff for lunch. I think begging for free stuff has gone into the psyche of our people as the way to go. It may be called PR or other beautiful names.

Olaudah Equiano, the first Ibgo man to write a book, in describing the land of his nativity, said there were no beggars, no drunkards and no mad men there. Thus we may infer that begging was not accommodated in the minds of eighteenth century Igbo people. Begging must have been imported or developed more recently, possibly after the Biafra war. But from the beginning it was not so.

Is there any gain in begging for living or bgging to supplement one’s income? At the best, I think, there are losses. You may have different thoughts, which I’d like to hear (or read), but these are the damages begging could bring:

  1. It destroys self-image. It is only when a person sees himself as disadvantaged or incapable that he will have the moral ground to beg. Having to maintain a disadvantaged or incapable image of oneself to justify begging is unproductive.
  2. Begging engenders discontentment on one’s true earning. One begins to see his due as unjust and may resort to unjust ways to balance up when begging fails.
  3. Begging cripples creativity. Somebody may argue that begging employs creativity. But that is in a wrong venture. People should apply their creativity to improving their lives and means not to beg. Begging establishes the despicable situation.

According to Chimamanda Adichie “Happy Recession” is now the greeting in Nigeria. Yet a culture of pathological begging will not bring us the change we hoped for. Let us create the future we want by deliberate, responsible and creative actions today.


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