Today, I sit by my window and look out into my life. Well, it’s a good normal life. The kind of Nigerian life where you wake up in the morning, pray not because you love God but because you want to be rich in life and you don’t want enemies’ attempts to destroy you. Then you go about the morning chores and leave for wherever pays money to eat. In the night you return home sweating, you shower, you eat, pray probably, then sleep and wake to go through the same routine again. Some of us live better than that though; we have dreams of greatness and we keep on sleeping, expecting our lives to suddenly become better. Some of us who are smarter than others or perhaps less holy spice our boring lives with sex, football, music, parties, and alcoholics. In our country, we don’t dream of any other thing besides getting huge amount of money and enjoying ourselves. If politics gives such money, let’s go into it. If rituals give such money, let’s visit the oracles. And if internet robbery or prostitution is the open space, well, you have to eat or starve yourself to death. Aren’t our religious leaders squeezing their wealth out of us? Why shouldn’t we smarten up and steal whatever we also lay our eyes upon? That is our lives here; that is our miserable lives.
Like many other victims of Nigeria, excuse me, I meant to say citizens of Nigeria, I have dreams even though they make friends laugh. My own dreams aren’t monetary, they are more than that, hence, if you see some of my friends look at me like I’m so dumb, don’t be surprised, life around here is about MONEY or nothing else. I once sought solace in love, of course the tingling sensations were quite illusional and heart-calming, but when you canoodle and rumble on bed for hours and finally fall asleep, you do not wake to a new world the next day, you wake up to your miserable life, you look out through the window like I do now and hear Nigeria say: welcome back brother, what will you eat today? There! What will you eat? That is the true national anthem. Food is what we live for. Our teachers, I pity them, they empty their salivary glands unto hungry heads. And when you see a student smiles in the class, rebel, he mocks himself.
My father once told me, “dream beyond this country”. I have honoured him all my life but I’m still here, am I not? I have read books more than a literature graduate; I argue with historians although I’m not formally one; I speak of World War I and II like I was there; I read the Bible thrice from beginning to the end; I downloaded the English version of the holy Qur’an; I watch films more than Steven Spielberg and dream more than Martin Luther King Jr. but I’m still here, stuck here. I’d love to direct films at Hollywood and even feature in TV Series. I’d love to have my books sold more than Agatha Christie’s and Shakespeare’s; I’m still here, unpublished. And when I discuss with my colleagues on what we do next after school, they say teaching job. Of course I love teaching but what do they offer us as monthly salary? 12,000 Naira (60 Dollars). You’ll work 9hrs per day. Damn it! That’s intellectual slavery! And unfortunately, one has to do it or die of hunger.
Well, we’re here. By our doors we’ll sit in the twilights and watch children play. If we could travel back in time and again become children, who would care about some bloody dreams that refuse to come true? Who would care about what government does to the country? Tell me, who would know that we live as slaves to our own land? And then again we would not deem it a high time the country revolted, the youths took to the streets and parents distributed placards and Molotov cocktails to their children with an instruction: get our country back or else, our hunger will never end.
Well, in Oyo I am today, you may see me in Ondo tomorrow. I do not know where to stay; I do not know what my destiny is although they say I have one; I do not know where or how to dream again; I just travel around with whatever money I get and I eat whatever is available. Let others embezzle public funds, I’ll not join. Let others whoosh after sex, I’ll be here writing instead. A boring life it is, I do not disagree, but at least, I know it’s boring and I don’t lie to myself about it. Hey wait, what is all those explosions and fireworks downstairs all about? Ah! I almost forgot, it’s Christmas again. My God! So fast? When did we celebrate the previous one? Isn’t this the same shirt I wore? Has anything changed? Holy God, save us. Excuse me, my dog is barking downstairs again, these distractions! Wait, let me check why. Ah, it’s just a friend visiting, another victim of Nigeria. Ooops! Pardon me. I meant to say another citizen of Nigeria.