Home Politics  World Happiness Day: Nigerians and laughing in pain

 World Happiness Day: Nigerians and laughing in pain

 World Happiness Day: Nigerians and laughing in pain

Nigeria reminds me of a scene in the legendary 1994 Lion King animation when Simba and Nala went beyond the pride rock and were chased by the hyenas. 

They were obviously in danger because they had gone to the hyena’s den. When Zazu the bird, their guard, told them how much danger they were in, Simba said, “I laugh in the face of danger,” and went on to laugh.  

Such is the typical case of Nigerians, we laugh in the face of our challenges. Unarguably, Nigerians are happy people and regardless of the ugly situation the country seems to be in, we find happy moments in them. 


It is no news that Nigeria is plagued by so many issues yet, even in the face of all these challenges, Nigeria ranks 95th happiest country in the world and sixth happiest country in Africa, with 4.981 points, according to the latest edition of the World Happiness Report, recently released.

One would wonder what is there for Nigerians to be happy about when they pray for basic amenities such as light, water, good roads, and good healthcare among many other issues. These amenities are basic things that every government should provide for its citizens yet, they are only wishful thoughts for Nigerians. 

Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) backed by the federal government redesign the N1000, N500, and N200 notes and retrieved the old ones from the public. This move by the CBN has almost thrown the country into chaos. 

This is an example of many policies the government often makes that further increase the hardship on citizens. For more than a decade, North East Nigeria has been a war zone with many people displaced and living in Internally Displace Person camps (IDPs). 

Kidnapping and banditry have been rocking the country, fuel scarcity and the price hike, and most recently, the outcome of the general elections have left the country a little unsettled. These and many other challenges are good reasons to make Nigerians sad and pathetic people yet, we are thriving and among the happiest nations in the world.     

According to the reports, Mauritius tops African countries with 5.902 points, Algeria (5.329), South Africa (5.275), Congo Brazzaville (5.267), Guinea (5.072), Cote d’Ivoire (5.053) and Gabon (5.035).

Again, Finland remains the world’s happiest country. The nation, which houses 5.5 million people, has held the title for six years in a row. The United Kingdom dropped to 19th, two places behind the last ranking, while the United States jumped up one place to 15th and France dropped out of the top 20.

Scientists behind the report concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic has not made us unhappier. The report is now in its 11th year.

It assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average over a three-year period. This year, the authors also used data from social media to compare people’s emotions before and after the COVID-19 crisis.

Eight of the 10 happiest nations were found in Europe, with Denmark scooping second place, at 7.58 points.

It was followed by Iceland, Israel, and The Netherlands, which recorded scores of 7.53, 7.47, and 7.40, respectively. Canada, which was ranked 13th, went two places up. Lithuania is the only new country in the top 20, rising more than 30 places since 2017.

War-scarred Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey, retaining bottom spots, with average life evaluations more than five points lower than in the 10 happiest countries.

Sierra Leone also fared poorly, falling to 135th position, ranking the third unhappiest country with 3.14 points.

March 20 is the International Day of Happiness, a day set aside by the United Nations and the World Happiness Report is a publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The network draws survey data from people in more than 150 countries. 

The report ranks countries’ happiness based on their average life evaluations over the three preceding years and in this case, from 2020 to 2022. 

The report indicated that global happiness has not taken a hit in the three years of the Covid-19 pandemic and life evaluations from 2020 to 2022 have been “remarkably resilient,” the report says. 

John Helliwell, a co-author of the report told CNN in an interview that “benevolence to others, especially the helping of strangers, which went up dramatically in 2021, stayed high in 2022.

Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feeling of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness,” he said.  

Happiness is free and indeed, everyone deserves to be happy regardless of the situation around them. Since happiness is free and not in the hands of the government, Nigerians have chosen to stay happy even in the face of daring economic hardship and other challenges. 

Author: Kangmwa Gofwen

Lagos Bureau Chief, Nigeria