World Happiness Report: How Nigerians moved from world’s happiest people to angry nation
About 10 years ago, Nigerians were ranked some of the happiest people in the world by the World Happiness Report (WHR), which rates countries by their happiness ratio.
In a 2003 survey carried out by the WHR, Nigerians were the 6th happiest people in Africa and the 95th happiest in the world.
The World Values Survey (WVS) of that year also reported that some of the happiest people in the world lived in Nigeria, while three years later, another study reported that Nigeria had beaten more than 65 countries to claim the top spot.
By 2012, a poll conducted by Gallup World Poll, a global research team that tracks human development worldwide, revealed that Nigerians were the world’s most optimistic people with 88 percent of respondents being very optimistic about their future.
Fast forward to 2022, the story has changed drastically as “Nigerians are no longer smiling,” to borrow the street parlance often heard in many Nigerian cities.
The signs are all there: stress, bad economy, high cost of living, bad governance, crime, long faces brought about by years of suffering, which are daily etched on the faces of many Nigerians.
But how did Nigeria go from being the country with the happiest people in the world to a nation full of anger and frustration?
In the latest World Happiness Index report released on March 19, Nigeria fell to a dismal 118 position, below countries like Libya which, surprisingly, is the number one ranked African country on the log.
Countries like South Africa at 91, Gambia, 93, Algeria, 96, Liberia, 97, Congo, 99, Morocco, 100, Mozambique, 101, and Cameroon, 102, have shunted Nigeria down the log as the nation’s long history of being happy has faded with the increasing poverty in the land and the resultant increasing wave of insecurity.
The World Happiness Report, now in its 10th year, is based on people’s own assessment of their happiness, as well as economic and social data. It assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average of data over a three-year period.
Only war-torn and traumatized countries like Afghanistan, Venezuela and Lebanon had worse ratings than Nigeria in the 2022 World Happiness Index, which a testament to the fact that Nigerians have become disillusioned with life and are moving day-by-day like automated machines.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network also hinged its happiness index on a lot of factors which, sadly, Nigeria as a country has failed to live up to.
The indicators include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption, and Nigeria is far removed from these indicators.
The country sure has a long way to meet up with countries like Finland, Denmark and Sweden which are the top three in the happy people rankings in the world.
Here are the best ranked African countries on the World Happiness Index out of 146 surveyed countries on the continent.
- Ivory Coast
- South Africa
- The Gambia
- The Congo
Kenyan govt to convert ‘evil cult’ forest into a memorial site
The Kenyan government says it plans to convert the Shakahola Forest, where bodies of over 250 members of a Christian cult led by Pastor Paul Mackenzie were exhumed, into a national memorial.
The eastern African country was thrown into a frenzy in April when some followers of the pastor reportedly died after he instructed them to starve to death so they could meet with Jesus.
Kenya’s Interior Minister, Kithure Kindiki, who disclosed the intentions of the government at a press conference on Tuesday, said once the recovery of the bodies buried in the 800-acre forest was complete, the forest would be “turned into a place of remembrance so that people won’t forget what happened there.”
The minister added that the government had enough evidence to prosecute the leader of the cult and the main suspect, Pastor Mackenzie, on charges of genocide after he allegedly convinced his followers to fast to death in order to go to heaven.
“Most of the victims, including children, died of starvation but some were strangled, beaten, or suffocated,” Kindiki said, quoting autopsy reports.
Kindiki said investigations had shown that the cult’s activities extended beyond the Shakahola Forest, adding that investigations had extended to the larger 37,000-acre Chakama ranch in the area.
“Security roads are being constructed to provide access to the expansive area as search and rescue operations and investigations continues,” he said.
Scientists discover world’s oldest burial site in South Africa
Scientists in South Africa say they have discovered the oldest-known burial site in the world “containing remains of a small-brained distant relative of humans previously thought incapable of complex behaviour,” world-renowned palaeoanthropologist, Lee Berger, who led the team of researchers, said on Monday.
The find was announced by the University of the Witwatersrand, the National Geographic Society and the South African National Research Foundation, and published in the journal, eLife.
It challenges the understanding of human evolution which is normally held that the development of bigger brains allowed for the performing of complex functions.
Berger said the research team uncovered evidence that “members of a mysterious archaic human species buried their dead and carved symbols on cave walls long before the earliest evidence of burials by modern humans.”
“The brains belonging to the extinct species, known as Homo naledi, were around one-third the size of a modern human brain,” he said in a statement while announcing the result of the discovery.
“These revelations could change the understanding of human evolution, because until now, such behaviors only have been associated with larger-brained Homo sapiens and Neanderthals,” he added.
According to the palaeoanthropologist, the team discovered several specimens of Homo naledi, a tree-climbing, Stone Age hominid, buried about 30 metres (100 feet) underground in a cave system within the Cradle of Humankind located in Johannesburg, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“These are the most ancient interments yet recorded in the hominin record, earlier than evidence of Homo sapiens interments by at least 100,000 years,” Berger wrote.
Before the discovery, the oldest burials previously unearthed were found in the Middle East which contained the remains of Homo sapiens and were around 100,000 years old.
But the South African find reportedly dates back to at least 200,000 BC.
“These discoveries show that mortuary practices were not limited to H. sapiens or other hominins with large brain sizes,” Berger said.
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