Oreoluwa Fakorede: I am Nigerian [NEW VOICES]

by Oreoluwa Fakorede

 

I say it like it’s a condition I have lived with for years.

I say it in a matter-of-fact way while simultaneously trying to ignore the bitter taste this chronic fever of unchangeable citizenship has left permanently in my mouth.

Pass me the mouthwash and a guarantee of economic asylum anywhere hope still shines.

It’s too cloudy here, I swear.

Cloudy skies, a fitting backdrop for a mournful flag.

My flag is green and white, or at least the memory of what it once meant is.

You see, the green has withered into compost to nourish a better-regarded green.

And the white?

It was tarnished when fools trampled all over it in their mindless rush to harvest the better-regarded green.

Maybe it can be laundered, this flag.

But a flag is not just fabric.

It is a reflection of who we are, a spitting image of the state of the nation.

It should be the unifying identity of our multiethnic strain, the emblem of the neverending quest for survival that binds the flock together.

But the flock has been compromised by wolves in sheep’s clothing. And they bleat too, these wickedly clever savages.

So let the skies bleed from grey clouds, Soyinka grey, like the shade of an economy in recession.
Recession.

We can talk about that all day but first, the house that breeds the dysfunction in our family needs to go on an endless recess.

Why?

There are cracks in the pillars of the house.

Elected to lead, selected to sit while lifting up, but every sitting is a sitting on dreams and hopes of people who can’t sit for too long or poverty will make their lives its permanent seat.

Artificial self-selection, the survival of the quickest:

The quickest to grab, the quickest to plunder, the quickest to move the notes over, overseas.

Champions of the people? Heroes?

More like jokes. And no one is laughing.

I know heroes, the ones without capes.

Capes are useless, generally. Just ask Superman.

Heroes don’t need capes or well-starched robes, courage looks far better than the most eye-catching wardrobe.

I know dead heroes and the uncelebrated living ones.

We put the dead heroes on notes the living ones cannot afford to hold talk less of spend.

Dead heroes can’t help the living ones live.

There’s a thick divide between historical relevance and actual usefulness, never forget.

 

And what we need is a nursery, not a museum: dead things don’t grow.

But we are a country of many befuddling sentimental attachments.

So watch us cling to the valueless past while the values of the present visibly rot into shame all around us and the dust called misplaced priorities covers the things we should hold dear until they are completely and irreversibly obscured.

Some kinds of blindness are a choice.

Speaking of divides, have you ever seen a country with more borders within than around it?

Gates: borders.
Office doors: borders.
Tribal ties: borders.
Selective greetings: borders.
We’re going to need internal visas soon.

I’m Nigerian, but I’ve never felt more foreign anywhere than I do in my own country.

Aliens don’t always come from Mars.

I’ll take that asylum now.


Ore is a content strategist and self-professed feminist. He has previously written for YNaija and Y!. His literary work explores music, women’s rights and relationships

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