I once had a neighbour whose generator’s sound could raise the dead. He was like those folks who returned from overseas and having tasted the forbidden fruit of constant power supply, make a futile attempt to re-enact their abroad experience. They keep a generator on for a whole day, leaving their neighbours to bear the burden of their opened eyes.
In my misery, I would imagine going to a cemetery with that little machine that grated like all the noises of the world sputtered from it, just to hear the bones of the dead rattle in their graves.
If a sincere documentary was to be made to chronicle the everyday life of a Nigerian, the soundtrack would be incomplete if it does not include the sounds of generators. But these depressing sounds and the uncertainty of power supply are not even the only things a Nigerian gets accustomed to. A plethora of issues stands in the path of many young Nigerians as they work to make something out of their lives.
Our schools get shut too often because of unyielding strikes; our politicians peddle lies and their actions do not lend credence to their words; there is an inward battle to stage to keep you sane enough to patch along with the unavailability of amenities, and the obsolescence of many public sectors. These issues are a constant shadow lurking around the young Nigerian and casting doubts on his mind if he would ever succeed in this ever-evolving world.
Many young hearts worldwide are in pursuit of dreams and goals, and some are born in environments that offer better assistance. But if you are born in some tougher places like here, the efforts to translate pursuit to reality need to be doubled and are even more strenuous.
Sometimes when my mind seems to get beset by the gloominess of what may lie ahead, I remember this poem by
“The Rose that Grew from Concrete”
Did you hear about the rose that grew/from a crack in the concrete?/Proving nature’s law is wrong /it learned to walk without having feet./Funny it seems, but by keeping it’s dreams, / it learned to breathe fresh air./ Long live the rose that grew from concrete /when no one else ever cared.
In Nigeria, amidst these obstacles, ‘roses’ have bloomed from our hard, underloved soil. These are the crop of young people who have shunned the toughness and dire conditions of our land and have risen above the suppressing tides of our environments.
They graduate from schools no matter how long the strikes linger. They converse intelligently despite how generator fumes try to blight their commonsense. They secure honest jobs or annex their own businesses. They work hard enough to acquire the niceties of life.
They are musicians, writers, designers, dancers, artists, photographers in possession of artistic dexterity that leave the world in awe.
They are engineers, farmers, programmers, teachers, founders of NGOs, bankers, businessmen, who have burnt the candle on both ends studying beyond what the education system could convey.
These are “roses” sprouting from the cracks in the concrete who, even though beaten down, yet still like dust, they rise. They are working hard enough to ensure that the “roses” coming after them would have a more nourished soil to tap their roots in and blossom unrestrained.
But my heart goes out to the “roses” that were plucked out of their nursery beds before their time, flowers in bud nipped before they arrived in full bloom, victims of men’s wickedness, idleness and carelessness. These are young people, like the ALUU4 victims murdered by the itchy and idle hands of an angry mob; they are the young people who have died by the hands of quack physicians; young people whose lives dropped by the wayside after accidents just because someone was too lax to screw a nut tightly or because a contractor was too corrupt to fix a road he got paid to repair.
For those of us who are alive and remain, only hope on fire and doggedness are required to survive in this place with its air rife with uncertainty. Even though the thoughts of our future weigh heavy on our minds, we know that all shall be well and all shall be well and all shall be well.