I woke up today with a question on my mind. Maybe I should confess now, that ‘woke up’ part may just be stretching it a bit, considering the fact that only the harshly insistent ringing alarm got my unwilling and complaining behind out of bed. The question itself however survived shower hour and stayed with me throughout the somewhat frenetic dash to the office.
Would I be willing to leave Nigeria and relocate abroad?
After thinking about it long and hard (that’s not what it sounds like), I’ve decided that staying here is the best that can happen to anybody and the reasons are not too far-fetched.
From all I’ve seen, life in the abroad can’t be that much fun. Forget all the hype and the false airs adopted by ‘IJGBs’ when they manage to come home for Christmas in December, buoyed by the lenient exchange rate and the false brawn of credit card dollars (or any of the other currencies for that matter).What kind of life can a man born and bred in Nigeria (Lagos in particular) have in a place where everything works and all rules and protocols are observed?
Imaging a situation where one is not afforded the opportunity to do one’s shopping for domestic or everyday consumables right inside traffic. No array of rat poison and various denominations of recharge cards or pirated compact discs (both audio and video), no soft drinks, no popcorn or gala and LaCasera. Absolutely nothing to distract, entertain or appease hunger as one slowly stews in the humid heat of Lagos, squashed together with many others like sweaty human sized sardines in a yellow painted can, serenaded by the city’s noise, grumpy and praying for some miraculous deliverance, before the nauseatingly potent mix of mouth and bodily odors in such close quarters slowly chokes one to death.
Imagine the horror of not being able to buy hot roadside fried akara to partner akamu for breakfast, no early morning ewa agoyin carried around in precariously balanced semi – circular silver pots, no roasted boli/yam/corn for chow as snacks during daylight hours, no indomie and egg (cooked while you wait) from the aboki on the corner, no agege bread, tea and fried egg from the neighborhood mai shai, no fried fish to fire afternoon garri, no roasted fish to concoct vegetable soup in the evening. Nothing! How will someone survive?
What will make a man want to live in a place where he can’t urinate or defecate in full public glare as it catches his fancy, totally assured of the absence of any punitive consequences or the toga of shame? Why would I want to move to a society where you can’t drive from Ile Zik to Iyana Ipaja on the wrong side of the road and facing oncoming traffic, while still impatiently honking for sane people to give way? Why?
I’m sure oyinbo people won’t take kindly to what’s normal here, like jumping queues and rubbishing order just because the person involved is a big man. Do they even know how to quake and tremble when somebody rather than address a situation, threateningly brings out his phone and continually screams “do you know who I am?” I’m sure they are not that advanced a people to have sacred cows who are a law unto themselves, above and beyond mundane rules, set for ordinary human beings to obey and follow, impatiently rushing red lights – sirens blasting – their paths smoothed by dedicated and heavily armed policemen, fed on tax payers’ sweat (God help you if you ever get in their way).
How will one worship God over there sef? People that don’t even fear the Almighty enough to equate their pastors to Him and make them currency billionaires, but choose to leave their fellow sinners hungry and in need. Selfish savages who won’t build massive places of worship in residential areas, then erect giant loudspeakers outside the walls to share the ‘good news’ with the whole neighbourhood – night and day. Soulless atheists, who rather than pray to God to provide all the basic needs of a human being, will rather go ahead and put systems in place to provide and maintain infrastructure, rendering prayers redundant.
Movement to other climes is not an option for now, maybe not even for some time, maybe not forever. I love my Country too much to risk new pastures. God forbid someone leaves here where life is simple and fun, only to find himself amongst a people, who ignorantly equate stealing and corruption.
I shudder at the thought.