Now, who remembers that song by Funmi Adams? Well, I do. It has been almost 5 years since I left Nigeria and the time is drawing nigh to make a return back to my beloved country after completing my mission here in the UK. But why do I have this nagging fear/discomfort/anxiety?
When I think I have made up my mind to go back home, all I need to hear of is another kidnapping, no electricity, bad transport system, bad roads and so on and immediately, my resolve weakens. What scares me the most is clicking on a link online and having to wait for the system to load up, having to iron clothes in advance because you’re not certain there will be ‘light’ when you need the clothes and there might not be diesel in the generator. The thought of a decent pair of shoes costing N20, 000 is rather scary too. I see the way people dress to cinemas in Nigeria and I just long for the simplicity of slipping into skinny jeans, a simple top from H and M, flat shoes, throwing on my good ol’ ever faithful jacket and voila, myself and four other similarly dressed friends are good to go!
In Nigeria, everyone seems out to impress and prove to you that they have more than you. UK is a leveller (to an extent). We all get on the bus. We all use the trains. We all go to Primark (even if some claim it’s only to buy socks). However, in Nigeria, the dividing lines are all too clear. There are simply no middle grounds. You step into a room and instantly, you are assessed and the result of that assessment determines the manner of treatment you will receive: whether to be treated like a leper or like a king. And how exactly is this assessment made? First, your shoes are weighed on a scale. If they are pointing to the sky from being well-worn, then you are tilting towards the leper category. Next, your clothes are examined. The more designer-ish they seem, the better for you. If you are a lady, there are two things that will compete for third place: your bag or your hair. Nowadays, I hear that your decent black bag from River Island just won’t cut it. The league of the kings start with at least a DKNY. Then to the hair, woe betide you if you have on Amigos or Darling Yaki. Your place is the leper category is firmly confirmed. Your hair has to have come from a human being’s head be they from Brazil, India although Peru will be preferable.
All these have made me sceptical about going back home. Why can I not be judged solely on my capabilities? Why should having a father in high places mean the other girl gets a job I am more suited to and qualified for? Why can’t I seat at home to watch a movie without the fear that ‘NEPA can take light’ any moment?
But I have also come to realize that I could go on and on moaning and complaining but until I arise and at least attempt to make a change, I have absolutely NO RIGHT to complain. A lot of young Nigerians in the Diaspora complain without taking actionable steps to make the country better.
It is time for young Nigerians abroad to start seriously considering taking that bold step towards Murtala Mohammed International Airport. UK did not get this good from all its citizens running off to ‘greener pastures’. There are many more opportunities home than away…at least long lasting ones. There are jobs which promise you growth, opportunities for self-employment, you have the chance to live around people who care, the weather is not harsh, people don’t give you fake, one-second smiles, kids don’t get rude randomly to their parents and smoke in the streets, you don’t have to worry about work permit etc.
You could complain about security but really, where in the world is absolutely safe? We don’t hear of teenage killings in Nigeria as we do here. Moreover, crimes take place everywhere. I think it is high time we woke up and made a change as the youth of Nigeria. Let’s water our land for due time, we will reap the rewards…
Temiville blogs at temiville.wordpress.com
Image via Celebregion