02 December 2015, Sweetcrude, London – I write for you, Sourah the tailor; stitch by stitch you have built a life that is, unfortunately, only an existence.
I write for you, Ebuka the farmer; alas, the soil and your hoe continue to have conflicting aspirations to tour consternation.
I write for you, Boma the boatman; with fuels and lubricants drying up, the future looks bleak indeed.
I write for you, Ambassador Spiff the essayist; notches away from the threshold of a glorious career, beautiful inspirations threaten to be replaced by clouds of chaos;
I weep for you Soyinka, the poet, for I fear that Nigeria’s fortunes have assumed the depravity of your Abiku.
I hurt for you, Soala the tax payer, to see you drive your rickety taxity on wheels wobbled by incongruity.
I pine for you, Njoku the comedian, for your audience, pelted by hunger have lost every appreciation for humour.
I write for you Nigerians who have continued to invest hope in the face of hopelessness. Your courage as a people commends itself beyond attributes that are human. You laugh at yourselves when you find you have taken yourselves too seriously. You laugh and laugh and laugh at pain, treachery, mischief, the plunder of the commonwealth, the mismanagement of the commune, when men scramble at petrol filling stations to procure their fuels and at all the tragic occurrences emanating from the failings of our leaders. At some point the laughter of Nigerians got so indiscriminate that we won the commendable condemnation of a group of satirists as “the happiest people on earth.” And that made us laugh the harder.
Yes, I write for you.
But I write not to enter solidarity with your apathy.
I write not to commend you for your lethargic acceptance of your fates.
I write to share in the blame of our collective silence.
I write to protest our reduction to conditions disavowed by human societies; I write to stir Nigerians into aspiring for living conditions as ratified within the comity of humans; to demand an accounting from our leaders; to sensitise us to the foolishness of envying the lifestyles of those who have taken advantage of and undermined the commonwealth; to remind us that we have a right to act in protest against our representatives even before the next set of elections; that we do not have to accept our fates just like the Tunisian fruit seller, Mohamed Bouazizi refused to accept his; that our silence and tolerance are weaknesses that breed injustice, arbitrariness, the reckless handling of the commonwealth and the betrayal of our collective hope to live in the manner we have a right to expect by virtue of the resources available to us. Yes, I must remind you that although our living conditions below the Sahara are far worse than in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Bouazizi’s self-immolation did not ignite us into action.
I write to notify us that when we neglect to act against a system that seeks to re-define our humanity we fail the children for whom we spend millions educating, years gathering inheritance and for whom like religious pilgrims and committed communicants, we kneel, lie, genuflect, stand, splay our hands, knock our temples and suspend the natural nourishment of our bodies in perpetual prayers demanding action from God against our fellow men while we refuse to act. How can we not see the contradiction inherent in our years of labour and sacrifice and prayers, simple prayers invoked to validate years of sacrifices, stocking and stacking? Instead of wishful prayers we can demand our own Bill of Rights, our version of the Magna Carter, a constitutional document that prohibits the trustees, that is, the men and women who govern us to tamper or tinker with universal values.
I write for you, my fellow Nigerians.