Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Nigeria the green
Who are they? Who are we?
When I try to attend my mind to this question several pictures come to mind: The rich crude oil flowing of the southern South. The tall groundnut pyramids that used to adorn our historical past. The leafy cocoa trees, their yellowing pods, also now faded into the past. The green and the white national flag, the cattle ranch, the impossibly beauteous landscape adorning of the Niger, of the Abuja, of the Ekiti, of the Savannah…
I also remember the military khakis and the boots stomping and the ground cringing. Their guns, their bullets, the several eyes they forever shut. The take-overs. The fathers and brothers and mothers that disappeared from the streets of Lagos and from our jungles. The Saro-Wiwas, the Iges, the nameless ones dying daily for Boko Haram and by Boko Haram.
The Boko Haram, the politics of it, the intrigues of it. The silence of the damned, and the silence of the President. The disarming of our soldiers when money is mightier than the guns. The pupils shot in their sleep, the silence of their graves and the ceaseless flow of pain, of loss on families' faces, on all our faces. The anguish at killings which must be avenged…
I remember the motor ways and the jungles of them. The society of potholes - baby potholes, sister potholes, and the grand holes. The breaking of the absorber. The bursting of the expensive inferior tyres, and my frantic effort to escape the abyss on the road. The soldiers I meet along my way of escape. Their stranglehold on my meagre livelihood. The gun in my face. The whip on my back. Their laughter and my weeping. The robbery. My loss. My children's loss. The tears soiling our faces with no water to wash them off. For government pipes are hollow, waterless even in the rain.
I my own government, digging my own well, buying my own gen… The police cars have no fuel, and the ambulances have escorted the governors to a weekend bash. I must buy my own dogs and keep guard at my own gate. I must work in a bank and own one, plant a farm or four- one to grow meat and one for corns, one for salt, and in the fourth I grow my own medicines.
The government of the Rocks and those at the states are for the TVs praising them. Ogwuche they said commissioned a road. Jona too has improved power. But Ogwuche's roads are those of his own estate and Jona's power lights only his wife's dingy rooms.
But I remember you Nigerians and the silly smiles we share. I remember our temples, the fat offerings, the fatter tithes. The Imam's new car of glass, Ayo too has bought a jet. I remember the scars on our knees as we pray, hit our heads on the floor, or both. I remember our frenzy, our shouts, the confused cries on megaphones, and the waking of neighbours Fridays. I remember our strange faith, and the endless patience and tolerance of ills. Our docile backs bending again and again to the whipping under the mid-day Sun. The shiver of pain from a back bleeding and badly torn...
I remember the new elections and the new sacks of rice. Some even got the President's wife's yellow T-shirts with her 1 million dollar lipstick printed on the front. Some have sighted the President in his redeeming walk. Some say he now has a patch created at the altars where to knee and make us blinder still.
A pot of rice, a yellow T-shirt and Jona's kneeling and our bleeding backs are now healed. Our hungry mouths are suddenly fled. And our young idle hands somehow will feed off … something, anything. It is a miracle, Presido did it again!
A rumour has it that new political formation is in town to give the President a good run for his money. But all we hear is “Wolf, wolf, wolf!” at the creeping of every gecko. They also share a scream with a rooster hired by the President for such things as that. Some oily brothers from the southern wells say this and the North something else. And us, well we panic at the silence following Borno’s gunshots in the camp of the poor afflicted by Boko Haram, the brave killers of babies. But still the North deserves the crown, they were born to rule.
And I remember you the real Nigerian from the North and the South and fringes seeking a Promised Land. The hungry you. The blind you bowing daily to the Imam telling you to slaughter sleeping babies and women. The blind you heeding the pastor telling you to bring your money and your wife for his more sanctified use. I remember you and your dusty daily walks, running daily after Molues and Okadas, waiting at the fuel stand to atone for the invisible subsidy... I remember you sitting at home with no place to go and no hope to nurse.
And I remember you, my green-and-white-and-green flag and my pledge to thee.