The usage of the word ‘common sense’ in the Nigerian street english popularly known as the Pidgin english is the most apt in terms of usage in any of the english language forms or dialects available.
Common sense mostly refers to making decisions that should be a no brainer, that is, tasks, actions or decisions that could be that could be performed, taken or made by someone who has even a semblance of sanity, but the word common sense comes into play in the Nigerian english when someone who seems to be above average in intelligence does something that begins to make you doubt his or her sanity.
Everyday as we step out of our homes, we begin to see the lack of of common sense on full display. Some get away with it, but others who are less fortunate get caught on someone’s phone camera and ends up on social media for amusement of the general public.
The million naira question is, why is it called common sense when it is not so common? The lack of this so called common sense has put a lot of people into trouble with family, friends, the society and even the law. It has led to embarrassing situations, injury, incarceration and even loss of lives and properties.
What causes the absence or lack of common sense? I think it is because a lot of people are naturally reckless and don’t care who’s ox is gored in their recklessness, like Lagos danfo bus drivers, people who just want attention/thrill seekers, like those whose videos abound online for entertainment. People who are ignorant but do not realize it until they mess themselves up publicly or in front of the camera, there are also those who are into the the get rich quick scheme and end up in jail or even dead.
Sometimes, it is just a wrong decision in trivial or mundane things and that is where the Nigerian english comes into play with statements like, ‘common sense you no get’, meaning you lack common sense. Some just simply say common sense without completing the sentence and it means the same thing to the average Nigerian.
Since the lack of common sense abound everywhere, the name should be changed to just sense, without the common attached.
David A. Mark