My mum returned home earlier this week mildly distraught because she could not get watermelon on her way from work. She has been taking fruits almost every morning for some years now. Talk about eating healthy. Watermelon and cucumber are her favourites. I am distraught too. I treat myself to some watermelon while I slice some for her some mornings, not primarily because it is considered healthy to eat fruits, but because watermelon is red, juicy, and delicious. Its redness merges with the red colour that God carpeted my mouth with, and melts into my soul. We become one. Watermelon is a strong contender for my favourite fruit. I cannot say the same thing for cucumber though.
My mum said the Hausas she buys watermelon from had travelled home, up north. The presidential election is today and one of them had told her earlier that he was travelling ‘home’ to vote. I shrugged. No more watermelon for me until election is over.
I often refrain myself from political debates because I find the thought of Nigerian politics nauseating. It is dirty, extremely manipulative, and it almost never profits the masses. I am still bewildered by how easily politicians are able to have such loyal supporters, especially youths. They are ready to fight and die, as though there are not more than enough stupid reasons and ways to fight and die already, for a ludicrously small amount of Naira notes. I guess Tolu Daniel was right in his article earlier this week: Nigerians are not corrupt, they are just hungry.
I had never cared who won which election, until now. I have unfortunately arrived at that stage in my life when things like government, economy, and other tedious concepts grownups are compulsively burdened with matter, because it affects me directly now.
I just completed the imposed National Service, which by the way I think has failed to serve the purpose it was intended to serve when it was created. I’ve been a student all my life, so I had always relied on my parents unashamedly for financial support. I was a corps member for the last year, so I’ve been receiving allowances (allowee) from our dear federal government. Now I’ve been dumped into an unfamiliar category where I must leave the pride and wander into the bush to start my own pride. Employment opportunities are virtually non-existent. One must know someone with influence to get even the most ridiculous job most times. The idleness of unemployment is distressing, and there is only one person to blame-the government, the head of the government, and ultimately, the Nigerian President.
There are very minute opportunities for youths to thrive. Being youthful now means wallowing about for years after school, searching for, but not finding what to do. You are startled when you get to your first interview venue and find over a thousand others who are also there for the same interview. You go through the job advertisement again to be sure, and you are right, only five vacancies were advertised, and it is not a top paying job for that matter.
Security seems to be the top issue on the priority list we hope whoever becomes the newly-elected President would have, but there are other challenges that should share that top spot as well. Majority of Nigerians have never witnessed uninterrupted power for half a day, the roads are in a dismal state, there is so much poverty in the wind that our lungs cannot tell it apart, unemployment is now a norm, corruption is a plague in every corner of the country-from taxi drivers to an Executive Directors, amongst others.
Today, I woke up, performed my salat, fried some meats, cooked a large pot of sumptuous fried rice, ate, and now watching TV. I will not vote today, because I do not have my Permanent Voter’s Card (which is largely my fault by the way). I will put my trust in the media to give me real time updates on how the rest of the country fares as today unfold. I will hope that people do not have to kill one another in election’s name. I hope for sanity. I hope the best candidate wins.
Now to the most important wish of all, I hope the watermelon sellers return soon, in good health, so I won’t have to grow my own watermelons. I wish the rest of the about 170 million Nigerians the good juice of today’s fruit.
To get justice, we must be willing to be just. Fight until you can fight no more for justice, but do not let yourself be so weak that you become violent. The ecstasy of justice is for everyone to live and see it reign, even those who oppose it. In the spirit of my religion, I must say, from a quote I read some time ago, that nothing on earth is worth going to hell for.