An unbiased survey of the Nigerian polity would show that Nigerians want the best, but do they give their best? It would reveal that the majority blames the government for our problems. However, everyone is to blame, everyone contributed to the state we are, in one way or another. But there is a way forward – a way that takes into cognizance our history, our present condition, and inspires a beautiful future for us all.
The Green Land
My father told me the story of a green field, where the horses and eagles lived and made a coat for their arms, resigning from war and just recovering from the brisk hold of slavery; they called it colonialism. Where the people sat daily, counting their days without a worth for it. A place where the history of truth and identity was a myth and the concept of peace and justice remained a dream.
I remember my father saying that we live for the fun of living because we did take one step at a time or even trudged like the traffic on our roads. He told me, yes he called me and said “Son, those people that sit on the rocks of Aso over there; they talk to us like we have no trust in ourselves, like the little cups of rice and the table spoon of salt they share would feed us for eternity.”
He said, “They told us also, of stories that made our hearts melt like ice under the sun but it was all a mirage, a chase to what end? And now we have suddenly become the muse for their sticky kleptomaniac fingers…”
He even said, “Those days, the days when a son followed his father’s steps are over. They’re over ’cause oil has covered the water bed of our farm and daily we cry for our fishes die, and now our sons have begun to rush for diamonds; they have forgotten their baits and their hooks. ‘What a shame these Aso rock fellows have brought on us!’ He cried.
But now I age, and my thoughts are mine, I review the calls of my father. Now I see the light and I can see the beam of beauty he refused to see. They, our fathers, they refused to see this beauty because they chose to point a finger at anyone while four others indicted them. It takes two to tango but all of us to make a nightclub fun. We share in the flaws so let go of the leaders’ collar.
Our papa and mama said the government is bad but papa preferred paying ‘owó àjo’ (daily thrift) over his tax, and mama prioritized ‘aso-ebi’ (party cloth) over ‘chinchini’ public school due that would secure our future.
Young Dickson ignores the undignified practice of the yahoo boy in his backyard and the cleric that made fast money and points at the building in the heart of Abuja, calling it dark. Oh! Really? The problem is, we ignore the park full of several righteous sinners and hurl our stones of judgement at public office holders. We ignore how the SHE we used to find on the street has gone executive and now works as a ‘marketer’, everybody’s wife (aya wa). Rage and violence over peace, religious war over religious practice, and we all say our various practices are not just religions but a way of life.
When would that green field my father talked about grow, you ask? When we stop seeing the blind spots of the chief farmer and see the farm we choose to fence round and call a compound and go back to our hoe. When we quit burning and cutting the trees that would shield us from the warming globe. When we quit complaining and do all we can to make it work. When we see what we should have seen as far back as when the blind Bartimaeus received his sight – the beauty within. When we stop accusing our leaders of the corruption we are all pregnant of and agree on one thing ‘we can still make it right.’ When we see the future with our leaders and help them to help us get there. When we start being what and who we should be!
True Nigerians! So, Arise O’ Compatriots and obey Nigeria’s call.
Oluwafemi Arowoshola is a student of English at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is a singer, poet and creative artist whose works and words are well documented online.