I woke up this morning seething with a nagging headache and fighting hard to free myself from the clutches of my bed. I finally struggled to shrug myself off this “morning sickness” and managed to prod myself to a sitting position, though not without a pillow to support my spinal framework. Still wondering how I got myself into this hangover, thank God, at least, my memory isn’t failing me. I tried to carry out a troubleshooting reflection on what yesterday was like for me.
Eureka! It dawned on me that I may have finally found the source of all these affliction of the dawn. Quite unusual for me, I ended yesterday on an inconclusive note. Little wonder, the headache just picked things up from where I stopped…Lost in thought…
My last thought yesterday was a question. A question to my progenitors, a question to a generation of which I am an aftermath, a question to a generation that stood where I stand today-on the threshold of history, a question to a generation that that had the opportunity of making a name for itself as having built the solid foundation for a nation called Nigeria, just shrugging free from the firm grips of the Colonials, but, instead, took the opposite turn and drove this fledging nation-country into the woods of conspiratorial coup d’états and amala politics, giving us the name ‘third-world’.
I looked at my Father and the generation he stands today representing and a myriad of questions flood my mind with no hope of a placating answer to be found in sight anytime soon. I tried to shuffle through this sea of questions in my mind for this generation and finally, one question seems to swim its way to the surface and I asked; how did we get here?
How did we metamorphose from a generation where the ‘fish-head’ was a delicacy that could only be relished in secret for the fear of being taunted with the pauper stigma to a generation where the same delicacy is now hallowed as one of our exquisite cuisines?
Did you not tell me tales of a time when you and most of your friends could only have attained this much height in your academic pursuits thanks to the foresight of the founding fathers of our great country who placed so much value on education that they invested the state funds qualitatively in to giving a future to your generation only for that same generation to turn back and make firewood of the same ladder in setting ablaze the future and academic dreams of my generation? How did we move from being a society where values and morals were given the pride of place to this point where we now compete fiercely for the best possible positions on the world corruption table so much so that Transparency International is threatening to sue our country for our exploits in corruption, ‘cos now, sincerely, we deserve something better than a 1st position on this corruption table after so much 'hard work'? OMG! Did you say Nigeria is now ranked sixty-something in the world FIFA ranking? I thought you told me we were once ranked as one of the best ten in the world? That was during our hey days, I guess.
The question is what exactly has changed in a matter of few years? Should some people not be spending their last days cooling off in gaol now for practically turning this country’s hour glass in a retrogressive and anticlockwise movement, moving us several years behind time? Are these same people not moving around today, priding themselves as our esteemed nationalists, statesmen and ‘most influential’ Nigerians by some warped ratings? What influence! Did it ever occur to you that at some point in history, your son will be stirring you in the face, asking you questions you might not be ready to give an answer to? I’m sure you would have done things differently if you knew. Maybe if you have just raised your voice like I am making a choice to do today, maybe if you had just gone beyond some armchair criticism of your friends in government and made a choice to look them in the face, showing them your displeasure and disapproval of their misdemeanors in the use of the positions they hold and misuse with so much impunity, maybe if you had insisted on ‘fixing culpability’ every time it had to pass through your desk and not renege into your shell in culpable silence hoping that it will get fixed, somehow. Obviously, it never was. Maybe, just maybe…
Jesus! Now I’m scared. I’m scared for my generation. I am scared we might be heading towards this same direction or even worse if nothing is done to kill this virus at its prime. What scares me the most is the startling fact that this same drama is on the verge of being played out and I seem to be threading the same path. Will I choose to allow myself play unwittingly into the hands of this de-javu? Will I fold my hands also as I watch this mystical history go another round unchallenged, turning my generation into puppets in its cruel game of repetitions?
‘Cos I’ve got this feeling that if I don’t get into the rooftops now and scream, if I choose this same path of culpable silence like my fathers did, if I choose to stand aloof and play the ‘passing the bulk’ game like some of my peers now do… With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve got this feeling that one day, just in a matter of few years from now, another generation might be here standing at this same point in history, asking my generation this same question; Daddy, Where were you?