SPAAARTA! What is your profession?
Flagrant Corper, assessing the state of affairs 300 days since trading my Bus Pass for a wooden Danfo seat.
You know initially when they say it whizzes by, you overlook their observation as mere ignorance but when I glance back (no Lot's wife) it has gone quickly. I recall entering orientation camp as a young, somewhat naïve A je buta boy not knowing what exactly to expect. Area boys, Okada & MOPOL have put me through a baptism of fire with each harrowing encounter being a fresh lesson. I've experienced, learnt and now shine eye better than most - I'm now the aggressor but never the instigator – in my approach and reasoning when dealing with challenges over here.
A lot of people are in disbelief that I've even managed to stomach Nige for this long. From friends to family members, even strangers applaud my efforts but I continue telling them I was already mentally psyched for this. Just envisioned and prepped myself for the worst. Once you're able to accept this, nothing can shake you. All my A je buttish peers drive lavish cars to their luxurious workplaces whilst I endure the bus conductors unwashed armpit in my face on the way to my industrial container of an office. I've gritted and just got on with it and I'm more accustomed to the more adverse side of Nigeria.
At 300, I stand as a man who feels more Nigerian than at any point in my life. Lodged in Lagos I've discovered a deeper appreciation for Yoruba culture. Despite the aggressive undertones, I love the poetic elements and passionate delivery of indigenous speakers of the Yoruba language. If Nigeria was the world, Yoruba would be the equivalent of English – I picked up small still.
Unfortunately Igbo culture has failed to make an impact. It's not like there's a shortage because Igbos are plague-like on this axis just that their language, mannerism and behavioural tendencies have dithered behind their outspoken counterparts.
Still woefully trying to acquire a more meaningful understanding of my home tongue. Still find the ‘Pongs’, ‘Tongs’ and ‘Wongs’ more of a comical jibe rather than something I desire to be fluent in but one day I'll get there.
As you were
Some aspects are yet to change or improve. Silly superstition and senseless beliefs still hold my country firmly by the nuts. It's as if we refuse to believe unfortunate incidents are part of life – if anything adverse occurs it's usually passed off as a spiritual undertaking.
We're still critically short-sighted and this is what prevents us from moving forward. Long-term planning is deemed irrelevant – we're only interested in the here and now and understandably so seeing as today's sacrifice for many, in a poverty stricken nation, probably means dying.
The inequality gap continues to widen, corruption remains absolute and now this new threat of terrorism ravages the chances of Nigeria ever being great. It's through this NYSC service me and my fellow youth aim to learn, grow and engineer change for the better but reality will probably slap me and ask ’what's the point?'