Your realism hasn’t helped anyone.

Keyukemi Ubi
3 min readFeb 24, 2023

“It’s the hope that Kills.” I am sure anyone who follows my Twitter has seen me tweet this a few times. I like to believe I am a realist. I only concern myself with historical data and current actions. Everything else is hogwash and a sad attempt to make one feel better about their current predicaments.

But for all my cynicism, I think it’s so weird how people try to drag others into despair and call it realistic. To put it most politely, I find it disturbing. I guess misery does love company.

The world is going to shit. But my country, Nigeria, is a raving hot mess of despair and hopelessness. It takes a certain level of strength and courage to muster hope in these times. To stay undefeated and unbroken is why hopeful people have my most profound respect.

Memo To the “realist.”

A lot of times, I like to stay grounded. Only focus on what is right in front of you. I think being “realistic” is sometimes fear and despair wearing a more politically correct costume. So you don’t really know what the driving force for your realism is.

I think, “If people can muster up the courage to be hopeful about their future, why to try to kill that hope?” Are you protecting their best interest by being “realistic”? Or are you just trying to drag them back into the misery they somehow escaped?

Granted, hope may be unfounded, but it’s hope regardless, and it would surprise you how far hope can go. Sometimes it is all one needs — the assurance that one can retake charge of their life.

It is better to be quiet than a naysayer in certain situations. If you are not making it any better, being quiet is seems like a better response, don’t you think? Instead of being “realistic,” be helpful. Get your hands dirty, get your head in the game, and proffer possible solutions (more realistic ones, if you may). Robin Williams did say, “…words and ideas do change the world”.

To the realist, I say, “contribute in your small way to the possibility of salvation.” If you lose, at least you know you fought; you learn and fight again. I would rather be on the side of history that tried and failed than be a fence sitter that pointed fingers and snickered at those who tried.

A picture of Nigerians protesting at the Lekki Toll gate. The picture symbolizes our pain and hope
A picture of Nigerians protesting at the Lekki Toll gate. The picture symbolizes our pain and hope. 20.10.20

To the ones with the Light in their eyes

I think hope is a double-edged sword. It hurts you with disappointment when it fails. But the other side is sharp enough to cut through the bleakest darkness.

So to my bright-eyed ones, I hope you can hold that sword when the disappointment cuts through. I hope you never lose your wonder. I hope you always keep sight of the light. I hope you keep strength and faith. Wars take time, but every step in the right direction leads us to where we want to be — Victory.

To wrap this up, I would quote American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has….

I don’t know who will win the elections but going against my better nature; I would say it’s best to err on the side of hope.

Lastly, I leave you with this from John Stuart Mill:

“Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name and with the means which he helps to supply because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.”

This is probably one of my shortest essay. But I need to put this out as we decide for our country in the next few days. As long as I live here and the people I love live here, it is important to play our parts in making Nigeria the most conducive place to live