novice writer, is petitioning for change. She takes cognizance of the fact that, change is coming but she knows more can be done.
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Some of us may be privileged. For this reason, I would not judge the one that would find the story below as simple, but believe you me this happens within this same country that the richest man in Africa emerges from…permit me to take you out of your comfort zone into the the life of a rural man.
Waking up in the early hours of the morning to the daily prayers of the local mosque just around the corner of the street, he picks up his towel and rushes to the termite infested wooden kiosk with a cemented floor which serves as a bathroom, in order to beat the usual struggle that comes with bathing time in ‘face me I face you’ compounds in Lagos.
After he is set for the day, he says goodbye to his kids and sets out into the ‘labour jungle’ where the vile economy in conjunction with the great cankerworm; corruption, has made good jobs inaccessible to the less privileged—the few who barely know elites or ‘have any connections’ as society would put it.
He toils hard till midday in his search. Sensing he will have no luck as well today in getting a chance at any white-collar job, he heads for the Carter Bridge where he cleans cars from which the daily bread for his family comes from.
At the rise of dusk,he makes a headstart for home to his kids. On getting home he sees his wires dangling too low from the electric pole, He sighs. The NEPA officials have had him disconnected as he has failed to pay his part of the electricity bill. Since he barely has enough money for food, he cannot afford to pay the NEPA officials the customary five hundred Naira bribe for reconnection.
He spends the rest of the day with his two children in their dark room, dimly lit by the almost dried-out kerosene lantern.
The next day, he goes through the same monotonous routine without the slightest idea that the clutches of the society would be locked deep into him than ever before. He gets a call during the day, to rush to the general hospital in the area as his daughter has been knocked down by a hit and run driver in a bid to dodge the crazy policemen flagging him down. In immense shock coupled with raging tears he rushes down to his child but on getting there, he is told his nine year old daughter had gone the way of his ancestors.
He is devastated. He looks down at her, even as she lays unconscious. Though, seemingly turning pale,her skin is still as smooth as a peeled banana, her face as innocent as Disney’s Snowwhite, He has lost the only woman in his life.
To him, it all comes down to money again! If only he had access to this mere piece of paper they call the legal tender, which had cost him the life of his wife during his son’s birth via a caesarean operation, this little girl, wouldn’t have had to hawk during school hours. He walked out angrilly, into the streets pondering about almost everything all at once.
He stares piercingly at the struggling hawkers, the angry Lagos drivers blaring their horns and cursing each other, the crazy Police men taking money from private cars and even the common ‘Okada man’ is not left out. He takes in all these unpleasant conditions and blames the Nigerian government, cursing and shouting gibberish. But despite all these attribution of blames, his little one has gone and would never be back.
Why does the ‘able government’ not create jobs especially for the likes of him who have managed to bag a university degree? Why has the government failed to take drastic measures in ensuring road safety and competent enforcement agencies on the roads to help secure the life of the average road user and bring errant individuals to book? Most of all why has the government not provided social welfare services to help the so-called ‘low class society’,such as free hospital services in the rural communities and funds for basic necessities of life?
There are attempts, some succeeding, some sinking in corruption. We take cognizance of the successful attempts and are grateful. We take cognizance of the fact that certain governments are trying their best to improve life quality. But we believe more can be done. The potential lies just at their finger tips. It is why, even in these situations, Nigerians have hope.
The soil of our nation is crying out for so much radical change. Picture how wonderful, a dwelling place the nation would be if all these and more, are put in action. Despite all of these, Nigeria is still home and can change, if we all work in unity to achieve it.
Written by Assumpta Chukwu
Follow her on twitter: @assumptacharles
Read her stories: http://assumptacharles19.wordpress.com/