“It is well” is a phrase Nigerians have tacitly adopted as a philosophical mantra of coming to terms with the daily encumbrance of living in their own country.
The phrase may have originated from Isaiah 3:10 which provides that: “Tell the righteous it shall be well with them” or in 2 Kings 4:26 when the Shunammite woman whose son was lying dead was asked whether all was well with her and she answered, “All is well.”
The phrase is also the theme of a few inspirational songs to emphasise the assuring message of Divine intervention during trying times.
Collective frustrations with misgovernance have taken the phrase to a generic multi-purpose level to comfort and console the masses during trials and tribulations with the prospect of a bright future.
The phrase is a rallying mantra to enable the masses to adapt or adjust rather than confront the dynamics of injustice that tend to take a massive physical and mental toll.
It expresses empathy, sympathy and fellow feeling when suffering proves seemingly unbearable.
Exact opposite of its ordinary meaning
“It is well” expresses the exact opposite of its ordinary meaning to assure the aggrieved to always endeavour to do their best in coping with untoward circumstances with a view to seeking avenues to make amends.
It is a post-electoral booster for defeated politicians to ensure better luck next time and a tonic for Youth Corp Members to confront the dilemma of depleted funds and rejection letters of postings at the same time!
It consoles hard workers who are often shortchanged or people who have had some traumatic experience to realise that others are worse off.
It turns the tragedy of bereavement into divine acceptance of the inevitability of mortality as a comforting assurance that God is always in control.
It checks the masses anger against the astonishing greed, graft and vanity of mundane arrogance of the political class despite their abysmal serial failures in government.
“It is well” enables the masses to endure the tragic elements of the human condition, to overcome the fragility of human life and cope with the skewed scheme of things in which they are mere riveted onlookers.
The phrase offers psychological support to those who are unable to defend themselves against what Shakespeare described as ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes.’
Human spirit can overcome adversity
The phrase “it is well”, is an inspirational example of how the human spirit can quickly overcome adversity and a restatement of human perseverance to rise above life’s struggles with philosophical calmness and stoical equanimity.
It downplays the reality of a hopeless situation and the apparent impotence of man in the face of adversity. It is apathetic resignation to fate and affirmation of faith in the dispensation of providence. It is a potent rallying message of survival against workers of inequalities and iniquities and is founded on widespread distrust of government.
It summarises the case of wrongdoers who may never be prosecuted because they are connected to power.
It is a subtle veto of disappointment with a disappointing system and the solace of those who do not have all the answers to the inseparable enticements and encumbrances of living in Nigeria.
It compels man to seek divine deliverance when the hope of this world is gone!
It is the protective talisman against competing vicissitudes that appears to have enveloped the world of man.
If Nigeria cannot translate its putative leadership of the Black race into commensurate development, it is safe to conclude that all is well. As the phrase is uttered with increasing regularity highly unlikely anywhere else, it does not necessarily mean all is well but to emphasise that although all is not well, it is expected that with faith and perseverance, all shall be well in the end.
Writing by Kabir Babatube of our legal department; Editing by Saadatu Albashir