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|My Father Abuses Me! So Too is Yours by NotComplaining: 1:13pm On Apr 04, 2019
Now before anyone starts running off on “some” tangent, this story is not sexual in nature, but a story that touches me and possibly a whole many of you on a very personal, perhaps political level... So folks let’s explore beyond carnal gratification to matters that has us all bothered and frustrated and no amount of sex can allow us to ignore.
Like most Nigerians we grew up in a disciplinarian home, we; my siblings and I… My father a very educated man was your stereotypical Nigerian father, the conspicuous breadwinner, your biggest critic, my mothers’ overlord. He was the sort to bark orders in our regional language. His presence brought with it authority like no other, we were all in attention anticipating further instructions the moment he walked into the living room space. Turn off the TV, tv off, where’s my food, food ready, go read your books, homework time till bed time!
My father indulged and enjoyed authority the same way the government enjoys it, even if it was at the expense of our development, because for him, the first sign of waywardness was self expression. He wanted his brood wingless, rank and file, regular - no frills. My father would call you stupid even when he saw you genuinely wanted to understand a topic. It seemed to me at the time that he expected me to be born knowing all there is to know about the world and he had the manual, i.e. the cane or belt to enter the settings that best suited his fast pace.
If I didn’t know, Dami, the son of Mr Jibola knew, so I was supposed to know, how could I not know, maybe I needed setting changes quick!
But existence dictates growth and growth dictates development and that leads to problem solving; the natural way, even solving problems you identified within the home. Like trying to solve why my father would throw blame on my mother even when he was in the wrong, clearly this staunch critic of my self expression was not the infallible man that he led me to believe, he too could be very wrong and not realize it at all, he too could transgress in his expression… But why could he not understand that like him, my siblings and I were all on the same boat trying to get things right? And if he should beat us it should be for extreme inexcusable transgressions. This problem followed me through life as I met more Nigerians like myself, I desperately wanted to understand why my father adopted the brutal approach to raising his children while my friends from white homes had parents who encouraged physical and mental growth…
The end to my search inadvertently came to me when I made a trip to Nigeria to visit a dear relative. Suddenly it was a whole nation of my father, men with no or little regard for childhood ignorance, “ignorance is a sin”, you either know or you die. I met all sorts of shades of my father; the fat, the skinny, the joker, the philanderer, all shared one common trait ‘oppression towards those below them’ by exploiting their ignorance. The old would oppress the young, the soldier would oppress the civilian, the teacher would oppress the student, the land owner would oppress the tenant, the boss would oppress the workers. No where could I find equity, discussion and development. Was this hell or was this the primitive man in all its glory for showcasing, a sort of exhibition for humanist scientists to prove that we indeed evolved from selfish, egotistic apes? Oppression was king in this land and everyone wanted a piece of it, those lacking quickly grabbed it from those closest, as was the case of the market traders, oppressing their customers with outright lies about their products. No one wanted to be left alone without a victim to reinforce whatever esteemed image he or she had to prove.
So now I had the source of my fathers “madness” the word I now use to describe his antics, but the explanation still seemed to evade me. Why were so many Nigerians so primitive? Where was the “trial and error” mantra that puts the human in humanity? Why was everyone so judgmental and quick to critique your self development?
No amount of schooling could prepare me for the answer, it wasn’t quantitative so math’s that I love so much for being the bearer of truth when confusion was abound was unusable. You cannot calculate the reason for this problem… But the reason was simple, it was cowardice.
You see all Nigerians understood that they were being oppressed, they appreciated the scheme of oppression, they knew that they were in a tight corner receiving blow after blow to their morale, but the cowardice in them prevented them from facing their daemons and instead rebuff their humiliating subjugation through oppressing the next tier below them. What we have in Nigeria is a pyramid of cowardice and oppression, the chief of all cowards and oppressors in this pyramid is the Nigerian Government.
Some of you can understand why the Nigerian Government are oppressors but can’t wrap your minds around why they are also top cowards. In this pyramid of cowardice and oppression, cowardice precedes oppression. The Nigerian government are cowards because the people running it know they are not qualified to be where they are and so they are oppressed by the challenges they face on a daily basis and instead of deflating their rank to a position within their intellectual depth or bringing in capable minds; out of fear, they throw tantrums at those below them in authority as is the case of someone strong and wrong. Instead of them to take responsibility, they blame and oppress others who they know wouldn’t dare challenge their ‘position’ and not necessarily their credentials. Sounds familiar?
So I was able to identify a problem and use life to identify the source and cause, but unfortunately my father passed before I could happily prove to him that young people shall indeed come to know, just as he came to know. If only, like my white friends, my father passed on the things he learnt the way knowledge should be inherited, where would I be now? Imagine all the knowledge that he had that has now been lost forever, just because of his dire ethnic need to oppress?
My father was entirely to blame for his cowardice to face the regime during his school days and create awareness of the ineptitude of the military leadership of the time. He could have died for it, but his blood would have given life to a productive Nigeria and not the rotting cadaver we have today.
My father will have been a septuagenarian if he were alive today. His generation were the last to witness the glory days of Nigeria. So I blame my father and all those within the age group of 55 and 65 for the problems we are facing today. They stayed quiet when Abacha was looting like a profligate, stayed quiet when Obasanjo was selling national assets like toy collectibles, and now they have the audacity to tell us we are wayward? Well we, their children are a product of their continued cowardice. The system is a product of their cowardice. You find many of this generation occupying most of the positions in government and churning out retribution for the days Abacha oppressed them. They are the ones sending SARS to monitor the youth, instead of handing over key positions to them and grooming them for hand over of power.
We need social changes in Nigeria, we need to put these ageist old folks into final retirement. Their wisdom is a farce; how can you teach me a life lesson when you are busy oppressing me? Nigeria needs to put a maximum age of 50 to all government positions, we have way too many young people and they are not being represented in government decisions.
We know the old people have the money and resources to win elections, so we need to enforce a maximum age requirement to allow room for young people to step in. Let’s give young people a chance instead of killing them like guinea fowl. Sheathe your knives, i.e. the police forces, stop the intimidation, harassment, stop the stray bullets, stop the profiling based on hair and clothing, stop the sex based employment of young women at the expense of young qualified men, stop the oppression. We cannot continue growing like this as a nation. We lead every immoral social index, so you the old generation still in power are to blame. Step down, give us a chance, or create more positions strictly for us. Teach us how to be better than you since your mates in Europe have built space stations. You are not the brightest, if you were, the nation will not be employing expats for positions you "qualify" for! Stop being egotistic, we are all human, we don’t need a leash, just guidance, just empathy!
Lets have a nation of young leading and old guiding.
In memory of Kolade Johnson, RIP bro.
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