I met an old gentleman the other day. We were at the Nigerian embassy and everyone was stressed and irritated about the inefficiency and disorderliness of the system. There weren’t enough seats for everyone and so immediately someone’s number got called up, it was a scramble to get their seats. The lucky winner of the seat next to me was an old gentleman. I watched him shuffle and settle down. He picked up his phone and left a voicemail for someone explaining that his trip to the embassy would take much longer than he had expected and so they should not bother to expect him soon. He only hoped he would get his whole business sorted before the embassy closed for the day. As I watched him I smiled to myself. He was cute. Not in a pervy way oh. This guy was old enough to be my grandpa but he obviously had a sharp mind. He could still work his phone to fill in appointment dates on his phone calendar and he spoke impeccable English. I love cute old gentle men because they have a mass of knowledge and history to happily give away and so I decided that I somehow had to strike up a convo with this man to pass the time in this dreadful place.
I can’t remember now the first question I asked, but we did get talking and somehow the convo drifted to the Lagos he knew before he left Nigeria in the 1960s. All the British and a few Nigerians in the upper echelons of society lived in Ikoyi while the normal Lagosians lived in other parts like Surulere. Despite the division, he clearly remembered that things were good. There was always electricity and water. Not any more I joked. He frowned slightly at this and said that after going back to visit over the years, he had seen his country get worse and worse and somewhere along the line he lost hope for a better Nigeria.
A few seats away was a man passionately arguing that it was wrong to be watching British television in the Nigerian Embassy. “Don’t they have AIT?! This is the problem with Nigeria; we don’t like to appreciate our own things!” Some nodded in agreement chanting “It’s true, it’s true!” Others just looked on, worn out from waiting hours to be attended to. The old man next to me slowly shook his head and said “Oh, I don’t like to even think about Nigeria’s problems”. He said it so vehemently that I felt sorry for him. This man had lived his whole life hoping for a better Nigeria and nearing the end of his life, he had given up carrying the unfulfilled hope around with him. Better to forget and die peacefully I guess, than be driven to your grave frustrated and disappointed in your home country.
It made me think though, one thing he doesn’t have that I do have is time and the opportunity to do something. This man obviously didn’t contribute much to Nigeria because he left when he was 20 and only came back as an observer. His whole life and children were in England and so maybe it was easier for him to give up hope. The morale of the story is if we fold our hands and do nothing, nothing would happen and the lawlessness that prevails in our country would continue to prevail. We have to be actively engaged in building Nigeria. Than man doesn’t have the chance to be in the future of Nigeria anymore but we do! We are young and we have the power! If only we believe. I love my country, I really do and as bleak as it seems now, I have hope that a glorious future looms ahead of us. If we look clearly we can almost see the first few strains of light coming through. The full coming of that glorious day however depends on YOU and ME!
I absolutely love TY Bello! I am so excited that she's back and I love this song, the message, the video. She's so beautiful as well...I could go on and on, she deserves her own post.
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