In this simply and yes breathtaking post, we see our Motherland, a beautiful enviable woman, whose history is full of woes and pain. But whose future is full of peace and hope.
I am green, I am fresh and I am beautiful. I am enveloped with so much greatness and bitterness but my inner self has riches immeasurable – gold, diamonds and glittering gems with weight that would bore holes big enough for peeping rats in the sacks of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. I am like a dark skinned woman moulded and carved by the creator himself. Nature blessed me with a head held up high to signify the pride of my people, my antelope like neck- their graceful nature, my heavy bosom filled with milk- their natural resources, the colourful beads on my waist and patterns on my body -their diverse culture and art, unique in their own way but together makes the rainbow and sunset jealous.
I am charged with a duty never to be forsaken – the protector of my land and my children who may be of different colours and tongues but are of one heart. Underneath me came forth food, water and trees that served as shade from the sun and served as home for the birds but yet I still kept hidden, the treasures which were foretold to intoxicate men and bring about tears of joy and sorrow. The four forces of nature were at peace with one another and graced us abundantly with their beauty. Beauty that became a source of curiosity to others, I took with consolation- that I was hidden and my children were tagged uncivilised but was weary of the change that was soon to come. Change that I knew was like a beautiful calabash with leaks. I was worried of the hidden evil, yet expectant of the good for like every mother, I wanted light for my children.
Gently and with the caution of a thief preying at dark, children from another mother visited mine. They came bearing shining gifts cloaked in religion, trade, education and culture. You, my beautiful ones forgot your gods, your tradition, your values and my council but sank in every word from their honey like tongues, believing without querying and soon they became superior in your mothers land. Yes, they brought good tidings but they also put you in chains, stripped you naked and sold you to strangers. You watched as they put up boundaries and allowed them to rob you of your dignity and love for your other brothers. Like skilled farmers they sowed seeds of anarchy and hatred amongst you to satisfy their own lust for domination, power and riches.
Angry and with despair I went to slumber and in my slumber, treasures hidden from your eyes were discovered together with its seductive power. Black liquid gold, a treasure that possessed the power of transformation, transformation into value and power. I was once without a name but as I slept I was christened NIGERIA. During my slumber my people and land suffered but they also prospered, and when they summoned up courage, after a wait of eternity, noble brave men helped purge my land from the milk coloured men you call your masters. I would be eternally grateful for the change and development that now is, but despise them for as they left, they left behind the greed, injustice, anarchy, corruption and all evil vices now rooted deep into your hearts and have been transferred from generation to generation, even to suckling babes. Brothers fighting against brothers under the cloak of borrowed religion. School girls abducted and taken away from the embrace and solace of their mothers arms, even I still weep for my arms are weak and weary from waiting for you.
The old refuses to let the young breathe like able bodied men, your leaders neglect you instead of shepherding you. I am in pain for the cries which woke me up have refused to abate but wail in louder notes, singing a song of despair and the fear of tomorrow. You are beautiful and bursting with so much potential so, why let others belittle you when you can defy gravity? Why do you sing songs with words you do not mean? Why give hope to your children and dash it alongside their sigh of relief? Why do you hate the man next door because of his tongue? Why clamour for change when you have refused to change? So much hatred and prejudice, so much poverty and suffering from a land with immeasurable wealth aside from the black gold which has struck you blind why? What happened to the hot black blood running through your veins? Why do you speak the truth while wearing masks?
Why? Why? Why so many questions?.
I am now wide awake, I am still like that beautiful maiden but I am broken. My beautiful ebony skin is broken with bruises, bruises from slavery, deceit, freedom fight, civil war, injustice, terrorism, hatred… oh! I am tired of the hurt for your tears make my wounds sting with pain. My feet are no longer firmly rooted on the soil I am proud to call my own, rather I am flying from corner to corner looking for where to call my own, looking for how to soothe your pains and my pains, but first you must listen to your brothers’ cry and mend his broken calabash. It is only then can you find freedom from the captivity of greed and selfishness. I can only heal as nature heals through love, love to yourself and love to your neighbour, including the ragged man you turn your nose away from as you walk down the street. Drop your arms and let love into your hearts only then can you heal and peace settle in your abode, only then can your true wealth be revealed.
Several moons have passed since your first struggle from the milk coloured men and as you are about to celebrate that struggle you must bear in mind, the new struggle to redeem yourselves, together let us rebuild this land like the walls of Jerusalem, hand in hand and arms entwined in arms singing songs of unity and breaking chains of captivity. Give me a land to rest my feet on.
I AM GREEN, I AM WHITE AND I AM GREEN. I AM NIGERIA AND NIGERIA IS YOU.
Written by Constance Onyeji-Jarett
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