Today, i have found what has made me boyfriendless over the years. It itches me as walk, spreads through my body like wild fire in harmatan. It has made me become more cautious, careful and prude.
Prude is the word. I cannot look into the eyes of a man and feel at ease anymore. The heaving of my chest at the smell of masculinity lets something in me spark that i try feverishly to restrain. If i become one of those who faces stare in cold walls of dark castles; then, maybe my fight would not be in vain.
At 12, I remember running an errand for ma. She held out a note and thrust under my armpit, the already-finished customer’s cloth. I rushed off, as children were wont to do then and got to the house, few metres down the street. The young man who opened the gate, was to my eyes, an uncle as we were asked to call every older man, not old enough to be one’s father. Thus, when i saw him, i said,’Uncle, i am looking for Mrs. Eniade.’ He looked at me in a queer manner, one that gave me shivers and even as i pen this down, still does.
I was walked into the big parlour, gave the cloth to the gigantic woman slowly munching on some green apples and then, i turned my back to leave. I was almost at the gate when i hear a call from behind. Turning, it was the biggest mistake of my life as i hit my newly-grown breast-chest on the wall to which the gate was attached. ‘Kaii!’ I almost spat out. I checked myself quickly as the queer-faced young man moved towards me and i became composed. I was a lady, he was the man.
He came towards me, smiled winked and said,’ why don’t i walk you to your house?’
(“The second coming” is the next episode)
Wish me well as i cross the seven seas. Wish me well as i tread the path some ancestors have trod. It is not for personal aims or glorification that we go on this voluntary yet compulsory sojourn. No.
It is to serve our father land. I move onwards, towards Yikpata. This Yikpata was unlike many. It’s sparse landscape filed with dry trees scared in themselves, should they fall. I looked on with fear as the bus stopped. We were at our stop, the beginning of para-military training.
When i remember how i had queued in the drizzle, of how,i had carried my luggage on my head in obedience to the shouts of the soldiers…of how in camp, i woke up at 3:00am every morning and learnt to live a robot life, then i would respect all ex-corps members and appreciate their service to our father land.
Whoever said it was easy should think again.
After watching a video, The Real History of Nigeria, my heart sank. To think that a nation this depressing and despondent was once flourishing, with endless laughter and endless springs of joy. Perhaps the advent of the military can be what caused the present state but there is no denying the fact that this path of dilapidation we are firmly rooted in is traceable to some unresolved issues in our past and the laxity of the youth of today.
Imagine, the likes of Awolowo were in their 20s when they made a revolution in Nigerian politics. Achebe was 28 when he wrote a novel to assert the cultural values and eminence of Africa through the Ibo community. Think of Kaduna Nzeogwu who facially looked so young yet was able to plan a coup and execute it.
I am not suggesting that we cause trouble or go topple the government. No! I am asking that we stop being those youths who constantly are reclining towards selfishness, not caring what the fate of our neighbor is but bent on getting what will profit us. We must not follow the footsteps of leaders whose thinking radiates around benefits, monetary to be exact, from the nation’s economic treasury. No, let us live by the injunction in our national adbthem; ‘help our youth the truth to know, in love and honesty to grow and living just and true…’
Let us live by what is right.
Let us stand for truth.
Let us stand for discipline.
Let us uphold the values of our nation.