Until recently, I was a paid teacher in a school, participating in the combined efforts of educational comrades in building tomorrow leaders to whom the baton will be handed after our reign. I stayed up at night, looking for materials which would widen their horizons of thinking, dancing in the dark, soliloquizing, experimenting and perspiring to achieve my instructional objectives but gentlemen and ladies, while I stand before them in the class, trying my possible best to deliver what I’m paid to deliver, the female students are always whispering to one another, “Oh how handsome Master is! I like his lips. Who’s he dating anyway?”
No, I’m not being silly, I know this because they’ve said it to my face, time to time, asking, “Master, who are you dating?” or sometimes even asking who I’d love to date among them so that they could help me talk to her. I tell you, while I sweat, explaining how neurons form the brain mass and how the spinal cord works with the brain, the boys are looking at me, thinking, “Master is a workaholic, he won’t let us rest. That’s why he’s thin, look at his bald head. Master doesn’t know fashion at all, no wristwatch, no neck chain, so old-fashioned he is.” And when I try to inculcate social norms, they shake their heads, concluding I’m a remnant of an expired tradition only seeking to corrupt their modern ways. Sagging of pants, folding of shirt sleeves (which are already short), flying their collars, untucking their shirts, hanging towels from their back pockets and so on, those were their realities and they were sure I was the one still lagging behind. How could I say those things are bad when even Olamide sags his pants, Wizkid folds his sleeves, Davido dangles towels from his back pockets, P-square don’t tuck their shirts in their trousers and they’re all rolling in millions of dollars? Mr. Adebayo doesn’t do these things, how much is his salary? He can’t even buy a Bajaj motorcycle, not to talk of buying Lamborghini. Would they rather be like Mr. Adebayo the Biology teacher or be like Wizkid the billionnaire?
There was an SS2 boy who left the school not long after I got there. Before he left, I was still able to mark his CA Test where he gloriously scored 4 out of 40 marks. I asked why he had left the school and his friends told me “he’s an artiste and he doesn’t have time for school because of his shows and music making.” Holy Mary! So came an End of the Year party which he attended. He came to meet me in my Registrar office to tell me that he had a presentation for me and I should come to the hall. When I refused to, he said he would present it right there then, so I bade him a go on and he rapped thusly: “Yo yo yo, Master Adebayo, e maa fo soke e maa yo, you just gonna rock my beat like eyo, kada sile katunsha leyo leyo. Awon olosho ti gbe’ja wole, won fe tele Master Adebayo lole, tan ba wati de’nu ile, oh my God, pelu Hennessey ati Moët-“
Moní tooor. He went on and on and I laughed like eni t’ólóshó tèlé lolé truly. His colleagues cheered him and applauded and I was so… embarrassed? I wanted to tell him abandoning the school is a wrong step but I guess such wouldn’t have been what I was supposed to say in appreciation of the nonsensical song composed for me; Moët, Hennessey, olosho, emi nikan tan? So I just said “that’s very brilliant, thank you, keep it up.” I couldn’t tell him he’s taken a wrong path, after all, Small Doctor took the same path and I’m definitely not as rich as him.
My students argued with me once. I was saying that they must learn to speak correct English, that if they can’t, they can’t go to high places and won’t be respected in the new emerging society as English is the reflector of education in any individual and they wouldn’t be speaking pidgin at job interviews. A girl stood and asked, “Master, are you saying people who speak English will be more successful than those who speak Pidgin?” I said yes, and then she went further to ask, “Between you and CDQ, who’s the most successful?”
“Who’s CDQ?” I had asked curiously, trying not to feel annoyed, and then I was told he’s a rapper, CDQ yeeye! She mentioned Harrysong, Phyno, Viktoh and so on, telling me they speak pidgin and they’re rich, respected in the emerging society and do not collect stipends as salaries like teachers who are more educated do. Bombshell! They couldn’t beat me at such debates but I knew very well nothing I say would change their mindsets. They have chosen their role models; music artistes who sing in celebration of alcohol, sex, prostitution, nudity, internet fraud, drug abuse, money and weird stuffs that must not guide the lives of a country’s youths if such a country is interested in the brightness of her future. Teachers and parents, are you sleeping?
When I returned from NYSC Camp and visited the school, I saw one of them with a earring in the class and I was like, “What’s wrong with you? What’s the meaning of that? Are you out of your mind?”
He instead chanted “Master Master! I saw you on Facebook walking on ropes, Corper shun,” backing off from me. I was depressed, I knew if I had to convince someone like him to abandon such lifestyles, then I’ll have to be more successful than those they’re emulating to prove my point. After all, Darey Art Alade, as responsible as his lifestyle and songs are, he wears earrings too. It doesn’t mean bad behaviour, does it? It only means Street OT.
Everything has gone wrong in this country like it’s the last episode of a gangster film. Even though bribery is criminal, nobody collects bribe like policemen. Some lecturers sleep with female students before they award them good grades and they still don’t deny it. 90% of secondary schools in Nigeria writes WAEC/NECO exams for their students after collecting Manna From Heaven fee from them. Men of God have gone commercial, deliverances are now sold. Politicians are the enemies of State, not its representatives. Unless it’s for exam or it’s about football, nobody values reading again. We no more have Nigerians, we rather have Muslims and Christians, Ibos and Hausas or Yorubas and Fulanis. Science teachers explore their students boobies in the laboratory like they’re specimens, kílódéé?
I’ve heard that we do on earth as they do in heaven, if that is so, I wonder, has heaven gone this mad too? We’re missing the road, can’t you see? The number of people who want to become Hip hop stars and yahoo boys has risen above the number of people who want to become lawyers, engineers, teachers and bankers combined. After all, Falz studied law, dropped his certificate on the fridge and went into music to become the famous Falz we know. Why even studying the law at all anyway? And these days, when you ask a boy of six what he wants to become in life, he’ll say, “Mo fé máa se yahoo-yahoo, mo fe máa cha-che.” Egbó, kí wáá ló tún kù? Please do advise us; we’re your children’s teachers. What shall we do?
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matt 6:10
-Lord eBay (and his random ruminations, 2017)