Life

AT LEAST WE HAVE JOLLOF RICE

It is without regret or remorse that I admit that one of the things I would miss the most after medical school is the 24 hour electricity I enjoy in my hostel, a perk of being in the hospital premises.

But because this is Nigeria and we don’t do 24 hour electricity, there needs to be occasional power outage. The most recent one was these past couple of days, and the nights were indeed dark and full of terror. I even had time to do ridiculous things like go for a walk. I can only hope the siege is over. NEPA abeg.

The darkness also reminded me that I was merely a sojourner here in Nigeria, because in my true home, Canada, there was 24-hour electricity.

They say the American dream is to live a life of liberty, the pursuit of happiness. You would have heard about it in movies. The Chinese dream is something about prosperity and national rejuvenation.

There is no single Nigerian dream. As a Nigerian child, the Nigerian dream for me was to be able to put on the gen whenever I wanted to. For some Nigerians, it is to speak with an American accent. For others, it is to attend an owambe where everyone gets food.

For a lot of Nigerians, however, the Nigerian Dream is to leave Nigeria. It is to talk about how much you love Nigeria or tweet about how much you miss Amala, but from the coast of Europe or the land of America.

Unfortunately, not everyone shares that dream. Some days ago, I had a heated argument with a friend who was of the strong opinion that it was disloyal of me to leave, because who will be left to fix the country? Things were getting better, we just had to be patient.

I found his idealism confounding. I told him that while his optimism may be honorable, he should take a good look around him.

Did he know how shamefully ridiculous it was that we didn’t have 24 hour electricity, in 2019? Things are not getting better. The best thing we could do is sell Nigeria to the Asians and share the proceeds to the citizens. Let us all disperse to the ends of the earth. He wasn’t really happy to hear that.

If you hear or see me on TV saying anything patriotic, please know that I am being paid to do it, as my ship of patriotism sailed a long time ago, to a place of no return. At this point I would take a Ghanaian citizenship.

Later that day as I reflected, I felt a twinge of guilt. Did I really owe this country anything? And were things getting better?

I have spent over 2 decades in this country, and through all those years, as soon as the clouds gather and the wind starts to blow, the power goes off. I have run out of patience because 20 years is adequate time to figure out how constant electricity works. A girl just wants to have 24 hour electricity. Is that too much to ask?

We may have upgraded on our jollof rice but we still have very, very shitty healthcare. People have died because they couldn’t afford a bag of blood.

A hundred girls in my class could get kidnapped and the government would look the other way. The government still has no plan or concern for its citizens. Isn’t it sane to run away from here as soon as you get the chance?

And can you really be the best in this environment? Anthony Joshua moved to the UK at the age of 12, and now see him doing Nigeria proud. Honorable mentions: my distant relatives John Boyega and Sade Adu. Please let me go and make Nigeria proud too.

Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world. It goes without saying that things are very hard in this country. We may now have amazing jerseys but someone’s Nigerian dream is still to be able to eat at least once a day.

Sometimes, I read about revolutions that take place in other parts of the world, and for a while, I falter and begin to imagine such taking place in Nigeria. Perhaps I could be a part of that generation that starts a movement that truly turns things around. Then the power goes out and it’s too hot for me to even breathe, or think up a revolutionary plan.

What is my Nigerian dream?

It is to serve Nigeria with all my strength, from the streets of Toronto.

God bless Nigeria and Canada.

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