An American friend of mine and I were talking once and what seems to be a casual conversation almost moved me to tears as it dawned on me that I have NEVER enjoyed my country. I am sure there were times when Nigeria was awesome but it has never been awesome in my lifetime. My friend, who is a Texan, was telling me how the Downtown Dallas area has completely changed and how it’s a different crowd down there now. She was telling me the places she used to go as a kid and how different construction project has completely changed her reality. She also pointed out that she has spent pretty much all her life in Texas, she went to college in Texas and now works in Texas. I am not a jealous person but a lot of questions began to run through my mind. I grew up in Lagos and I would have loved to spend all my life in Lagos but the inconveniencing lifestyle in Nigeria kind of pushed me out of the country. At the age of 17 I left Nigeria to attend college in Tennessee and I have been in the United States ever since.
We could spend an entire month listing the abundant issues facing Nigeria but that is not the basis of this article. The focus of this article is the people that Nigeria and Nigerians have robbed of a good country. I would have loved to go to public primary school and secondary school with children in my neighborhood and probably end up in the same college with some of them. Instead the line between the rich and the poor is drawn from birth. The rich send their kids to expensive private schools and the poor end up in underfunded public schools or no school at all. Most Nigerian youth my age probably cannot name five kids they grew up with on the same street. This is because most people hang out with “family friends” and could care less about their immediate neighbor, which is sad. When I was in college a Nigerian guy enrolled in my school and we got talking one day and realized that we grew up on the same street. We grew up on the same street, yet I had never seen or interacted with him. We had to be half way around the world in Tennessee to interact with each other when we lived only a few block apart in Nigeria.
Youths in my generation have been robbed of a normal life. What is normal to Nigerians my age or younger is whatever reality their parents can afford to paint for them. Would every Nigerian around the world rather be in Nigeria right now hanging out with friends and family and being productive citizens? Yes. But the horrible conditions in Nigeria is denying most people that privilege. They are pretty much forced to live outside the country due to lack of security, health care, basic amenities etc. you read stories of people like Sadiq Usman (the boy whose eyes were gouged out in Zaria) and you think to yourself this could have been my kid. I know Lagosian will say, well that cannot happen in Lagos but guess what it is happening in Nigeria. In other parts of the world you almost NEVER read about ritualists going around gouging out people’s eyes. It is not normal.
It’s amazing to have the means to leave Nigeria and gain access to needed amenities but think about those youths that cannot afford to leave the country. Those youths that are forced to live without what is considered basic amenities around the world. Saw the picture below on Bellanaija a few weeks back and I was moved to tears. These kids are being robbed as other youths my age have been robbed. No child should ever have to learn under these conditions. Schools in the “ghetto” in other western countries learn under infinitely better conditions.
Who is to be held accountable for the hand that has been dealt to my generation, my fellow Nigerian youths? Anybody born in Nigeria between the late 80’s and now has been cheated, I don’t care how privileged you have been, the fact remains that you have been robbed and unfortunately there may be no restitution. Nigerian youths are continually being robbed, for the sake of humanity when will the madness end?
Written By Lola Fajemirokun
Picture Credit: BellaNaija