I have been privileged to live in several parts of Nigeria and with the current situation in the country right, my heart bleeds. My bleeds seeing the unity we once shared been torn into shreds, seeing brothers pick up arms against brothers, seeing Nigerians destroy themselves just to win cheap points, seeing our moral society become a laughing stock. Many may ask why am I even concerned but as I share my experiences, you will understand where I am coming from and what hope many of us have for this great nation.
Growing up in the West (Lagos) was fun, I wasn't privileged to live in the very popular area. Lagos was what we thought and dreamed the whole country would be like, a land filled with different people but lived peacefully. Lagos is not called Centre of Excellence for nothing, the best of the best of every sector is in Lagos. I will not be telling the truth if I say tribal issues don't arise once in a while but the Lagos state government always meet up to expectations and hasn't allowed conflicts to escalate beyond their control except for the EndSars protest.
Notwithstanding, my growing up in Lagos, I travelled to several Western states like Ogun, Ekiti, and Oyo. The people are welcoming, I remembered one time I travelled to Ogun state and met a young Yoruba man who offered to let me pass the night in his house, we stayed together not knowing each other before and ate from the same plate. When it was time to go to bed, he offered me his bed while he and his pregnant girlfriend sleep on the ground which I declined. I could remember such memories and smile with the hope of one day this country will get back on track.
On my first visit to the North (Kano), I fell in love with the city but the heat was my only problem. For a boy growing up in Lagos who was from the East, I have heard many things about the Northerners.
I met an old man, whom I called Baba Usman. He was a father and friend and took me in as a son. He drove me around Kano with great joy showing me the beautiful places around town. I was privileged to meet the then First Lady without the usual protocol. I met Nigerian from other tribes and region going about their businesses happily no wonder Kano is called the Centre of Commerce. I met an Igbo brother who had married a beautiful Hausa damsel and I smiled to myself, this is the country we all hope and prayed for. I moved from Kano to Kaduna to Sokoto and the farther I went, the greater the hospitality. Going home, I passed through Niger, Minna and it was visible the unity shared among and within Nigeria.
My journey in the Eastern part of Nigeria was a memorial one. I had gone to a different state not my state of origin to school for my tertiary education and I was offered free accommodation by one certain Sir Okonkwo in Awka, Anambra state. I usually call him Pa Okonkwo the master storyteller and truly he was like myself, his late father was a soldier and he had lived in several parts of Nigeria and he was always ready to tell me about his many adventures and how much greatness and untapped treasures are in Nigeria.
I was posted to the South for my service year, I would be biassed to say hospitality lays in the South. My stay in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state was exceptional. I was captivated by the beautiful city and the ambience of peace that elude the state and its neighbours. I visited Port Harcourt and Warri and they weren't short of the standard.
Today my heart bleeds when I hear reports from these places I have been to and have strong memories about, some years ago the park where I boarded a bus back to Lagos state from Kano was bombed by men of the terrorist group Boko Haram, I remembered people who go to that park to sell their wares just to make a living. I remembered the joy that radiates on their faces when you tip them and I wonder how and where we lost it.
The western part of Nigeria is now incensed with the thought of separation, all thanks to Sunday Igboho. The once peaceful and accommodating West is a shadow of itself, with extrajudicial killing becoming the order of the day from uniform men who are supposed to protect lives and property.
The East who were low key on the separation thing has gone bananas, led by IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu the group has become more violent and less peaceful as they were used to be known. Arm snatching and open confrontation have become the order of the day. Jailbreak and the burning of police stations are the new trends. Unknown gunmen perpetuating evil and the forming of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) has added more fuel to the brewing inferno.
In the beautiful South, cult war, communal crisis, militancy, robbery and kidnapping has become a norm. People live in fear, businesses close as soon as the sun goes down.
Every day I wake to the happening in our once peaceful nation, I pray we get back to where we were before all this. This day, Nigerians are afraid to reveal the tribe they are from just not to be victimized. The fear that lays within the people of impending doom about to happen is real.
As I conclude, God doesn't make mistake. This country is his and I pray and encourage every Nigerian to pick up themselves and be an agent of nation-building. The older generation may have failed us with their leadership but we owe ourselves and generations yet unborn a better and great Nigeria.
God bless Nigeria and God bless you, thanks for reading.
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