Hi guys. I have a story that was written by my younger sister, Oyindamola who is not a stranger to this blog. Kindly read, share and encourage her with your comments.
My name is Ifeoluwa Oyebamiji and I am Nigerian. I am proud to say that, although, an outsider might see no reason for me to be, considering the many issues the country has, but still, one has to be proud of their fatherland. I have my fair share of problems. My parents, my mum a petty trader, and my dad, a furniture maker (not the fancy type), struggled to send me, their only child, to school. I am what you call brilliant. I got into university on a scholarship, reducing my parents’ financial stress, to study architecture. I struggled, through the many distractions, of my mostly unserious classmates, boys, and so called ‘friends’, to get a first class degree. I was praised and celebrated, then I served. I got posted to the north which is far from Ibadan where I live. Now, three years after my service, I am yet to find a job in architecture, which is truly what I love. My first class degree has been rendered useless and I have been forced to learn a trade, tailoring, which hasn’t fetched me much money. I hope my parents’ efforts aren’t in vain. Hope is what keeps me going.
My name is Princewill Ojo and I am Nigerian. I force myself to be proud to say that. My father is an ‘Abobaku’. This means that when the present king dies, he is meant to be buried, alive, alongside the king. This seems to make him and my grandparents happy. They deem it an honour and my mother tries to see it that way too. I am only 15 years old and this ‘blessing’ was explained to me when I was only five years old so for ten years, I have worried and been praying that the king doesn’t die, not because I care about him, but because I care for my father. My father is a good, loving, hard-working man, who I can’t bear to lose, not to talk of for a reason like that. I have dreamt of digging my father out in the middle of the night, before he dies in the sand, several times. I have dreamt of saving him, although, I do not know how that will be possible. Hope is what keeps me going.
My name is John Dawari and I am Nigerian. I do not know if I am proud to say that. I live in a village in Rivers State. Yes, Rivers is rich in oil and we would be able to enjoy that, if the drilling of oil, by foreign-owned companies, did not disturb our living. I would be able to enjoy that, as a fisherman, if the oil leakages did not kill all the fish in the river, leaving me without a means of earning money, leaving me unable to feed my family of six. We would be able to enjoy that, if the government wasn’t so happy being exploited. We would be able to enjoy that, if we didn’t have to fight ever-so-relentlessly to protect my community. We hope that one day things will change. Hope is what keeps us going.
My name is Sarah Audu and I am Nigerian. I am proud to say that and I am prouder to say that I am a Christian, regardless of the danger and pain I face. I live in fear every day, fear that I will be killed for practising my religion. This fear grips me, but I still find my way to make it to Church every day to pray. I still find a way to praise God, because my life is worthless if I don’t. My cousin’s daughter is one of the Chibok girls who have been captured. Every day I pray, and cry with my cousin, hoping that one day things will change, that God will help us get rid of Boko Haram and bring back our girl. Hope is what keeps us going.
My name is Sherifat Mohammad and I am Nigerian. I am only 12 years old, but tomorrow, a man who is old enough to be my grandfather is coming to take me as his wife. Daddy doesn’t care, as long as he gets his hefty bride-price. Mummy and everyone else think that’s the way it’s meant to be. I don’t want to marry yet, I want to go to school. I have dreamt that tomorrow, my Dad will have a sudden change of heart and send the man away. Hope is what keeps me going.
Yes, there is such a thing called ‘Nigerian hope’. It is the hope that keeps us Nigerians going. The hope that our fathers get money to pay our school fees. The hope that there will be food on the table tomorrow. The hope that keeps that woman who finds her way from Ikorodu to Lagos Island every day, to sell food. The hope that keeps the son of an ‘Abobaku’, or the unemployed, or Nigerians facing whatever struggles, from breaking down. The hope that still enables us to deliver our Nigerian humour. If we didn’t have that hope, this country would be full of mad men and destitute souls so we fight to keep that hope alive. I love Nigeria by the way.