Trust. A simple word. Only five letters, easy to pronounce and spell. Yet it is such a complicated word.  Without the currency of trust, life’s transactions become almost meaningless. Children trust their parents to always protect their interests. Sadly, this trust is sometimes misplaced, as we have seen with cases of incest and other forms of abuse at the hands of family members.  Students trust their teachers to nurture and protect them. This is often misplaced too. Newly-weds make vows to each other and set out to build a life together. As the years go by they resort to snooping on each other and hiding assets from one another. They don’t trust each other anymore.

People of faith trust those who claim that they speak for God. They believe when their Pastors tell them that they commune with God on a daily basis and know what God is thinking all the time.  This sacred trust in religious leaders is abused over and over. The pain and disillusionment that this engenders is felt around the world and in all communities. The priests who abuse altar boys in their care. The Pastors who extort money from their congregants to support their lifestyles. The prophets who seem to have seen everything in a vision but forget that we all read the same newspapers and we can all follow and predict trends.

We place our trust in our Doctors to heal or cure us. They are God’s hands on earth, performing miracles on our frail, human bodies. They fail us too, especially when they do not have the tools they need to do their jobs.  If you are burgled or need the help of the police, you can trust that informing them might end up not being particularly helpful. We don’t trust our Lawyers. We don’t trust Judges. We don’t trust Civil Servants. We don’t trust Journalists. We don’t trust Administrators.  It is no wonder therefore that we get to a point where cynicism becomes our default setting.   I know who we trust though. We trust our leaders and politicians. We trust that they will always get things wrong and struggle even when they get things right because no one believes that they can ever be right about anything.  We have implicit faith in the fact that they are unworthy of our trust. When we are told that our electoral management body is prepared for the elections, we don’t believe them based on experience, but we play along and we hope. We trust that something will go right because something always goes wrong. Materials will arrive late, personnel will get lost, and voters in very remote areas will be mostly disenfranchised. We know all this, but we go out on a limb to trust, even when we know deep down that something will happen to prove that our trust has been misplaced.

So everyone travels to where they vote, with all the expense that it entails. Politicians work themselves into a frenzy to finalise their plans. Our National Youth Service Corps members are deployed to strange places, often with inadequate arrangements made for their safety and welfare. And then Boom! Our trust is not misplaced. The election has been postponed. Bungled.  Sabotaged. However we want to describe it, with whatever adjectives or expletives, our trust in our institutions, processes and leaders continues to be sorely tested.  Watching the bleary-eyed INEC Chairman defending the decision in a room full of irate politicians, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. No one was listening to his explanations, or they were listening but not hearing him. So many of us have lost faith in our institutions. We don’t trust them to serve us and we are justified considering how we are always let down.

We cannot build a society grounded in the values of democracy and good governance if there is no trust. We need to learn how to trust again or unlearn our cynicism, whichever comes easier. Without trust we lose hope that things can ever get better. There was a time when we trusted our leaders and institutions and this trust was not misplaced. It seems like three life-times ago. Now we are in this Hobbesian twilight zone where we can’t even place a ladder on a wall to get out of a crisis without chopping it into firewood. I am an eternal optimist, so I choose Trust. I trust in the Nigerian spirit. I trust that no matter how upset they are about the postponement of the elections on February 16th, Nigerian voters will show up on February 23rd and March 9th. I trust that the elections will be peaceful and that no more blood will be shed during what is meant to be a simple exercise of democratic rights. I trust in the resilience of those who had fixed weddings, birthdays and funerals on those dates. In spite of their distress at the turn of events, they would have moved on to make other plans. I trust that we have some patriotic men and women who will manage the electoral process to completion with minimum crisis. I trust that the politicians will tone down their attacks and counter attacks and focus on selling themselves to voters instead of sponsoring one round of fake news after the other.  I trust that Nigerians will choose the right kind of leaders, the ones who we can have faith in, the ones we can believe in, not the ones who say ‘Good Morning’ and we look out of the window to check if it is sunset. And I hope that those who are voted are the ones willing to buckle down to work for the country and not those fixated on theatrics, plunder and power mongering. The kind of leaders willing to earn our trust.

Trust. A very simple word. An equally complex one. Who do we trust? What do we trust? How can we trust? Let us all vote first. Have a great week.


Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com





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14 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Trust

  1. Funmi Oyetola February 20, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    God bless you for speaking my mind. An average Nigeria finds it difficult to trust and its not our fault. We have been tortured countless times for trusting. I am not going to even vote because i trust nothing. Absolutely, nothing.

  2. Chinedu February 20, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    I don’t trust the system, for real, I knew it wouldn’t hold. Let’s vote first. Let’s wait and see if this one will hold.

  3. Veronica Imaseun February 20, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t know what is happening really. I have lost faith in our system. I traveled home to vote and then they burst my head. I am not sure about anything again. It’s annoying. Everything disappoints us in this country just like Amaka! One day, we will have the Nigeria of our dream sha. one day.

  4. Victor Udoh February 20, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Trust is complex in this world. It is very complicated now. This is even beyond Nigeria alone, there is no trust anywhere. World powers are crashing. Those we thought had sense don’t have sense again. God help us and this our election, I am scared.

  5. Olabode Olasunkanmi February 20, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    This is just the best way to describe our state of mind.

  6. Olori Adeoye February 21, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    It shall be well with us.

  7. Amarchi Joy February 21, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    I just hope it holds on saturday because i don taya for them. My own is, who postpones an election on the very day. Who does that? Well, now we know better. I am prepared for anything on saturday. My current mood is que sera sera

  8. Nnamdi Chuks February 21, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    If only we have a working country which unfortunately we don’t have. I don’t know what to say than to say, one day…we will be fine.

  9. Femi Diipo February 21, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Reading this brings to mind the contrast between trust and faith, one is earned and the other is given. To trust the Nigerian government, politician and system generally is almost impossible for anyone and despite reading through your trusts I’m choosing only to keep having faith.
    That someday this country gets to have leaders like you, and finally get some things right. I have faith that maybe someday i can trust the Nigerian Government

  10. DOm Dom February 21, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Trust is a very expensive word and when Nigeria and Nigerians are concerned it is almost sadly never affordable. The level of Greed, corruption and blatant disregard for humanity is alarming. I mean how can anyone just trust amid all the things we witness everyday.
    But we truly must remain optimistic, it is only through positivity that we can hope to at least leave this country a better place for the next generation

  11. Olakunle Olajide February 22, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Trust is truly a complicated not to be joked with. It us seemingly hard to regain it. We can only trust again when we see changes happening, but right now,same old; same old. The only left really is hope; that one day, Nigeria will become great again.

  12. DSEED February 22, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    One thing I liked about you ma is that you will always say it as it is. No trust anywhere, the system has failed times without number. All we keep doing is hoping, even it is only few people hoping. PVC holders should go and vote, we will keep voting until the real changes comes and we can regain the trust. Be security conscious.

  13. Nnamdi Chuks February 25, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    I am waiting for the results oooooo. we have finally voted.

  14. Eric Onuoha February 27, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Truly I find it difficult to trust our system. It is because of this that wealthy people seek medical treatment abroad and send their children there for quality education. I believe one day we will trust our system again


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