Wednesday, March 10, 2010


(This was originally posted on the 1st of October, 2009)

For a few days now, I have felt under a lot of pressure.

I have repeatedly tried to commit my thoughts to my word processor, in a bid to ease the pressure, but motivation has been long in coming. Even now, as my fingers move lightly around the keyboard in an attempt to coax every last drop from the spigot of inspiration – I cannot shake the feeling that the flow will constrict and eventually die out. In any case, before I allow that to happen, I hope to maximize it.

Let’s do this, shall we?

I was taught by a cruel and unfeeling educational system not to show emotion, as shows of emotion were often ‘rewarded’ with punishment. I was brought up to believe that crying was synonymous with weakness, that public shows of emotion were only for the faint of heart – to be avoided with all the will power I could muster in demanding situations.

Sadly, in a drastic departure from what I have believed for years, recent happenings have taught me with agreeable force and shown me with stunning clarity - real men cry!

You know the feeling you get when you cry alongside a hungry kid who hasn’t eaten in days, yet who refuses your money in an effort to save face for his parents? You know the feeling you get when you cry alongside a father who has stuffed his ego down the toilet seat as he asks you for a loan to fix his motorcycle, so he can go out and make some money for his family? You know the feeling you get when you cry alongside a sick 3-year old that cannot afford quality medical treatment, and whom you are almost powerless to help?...

I tell you what’s up – I know the feeling!

In recent times, I have come to realize how small a part I play in the grand scheme of things, at the present. It has struck me forcefully how little I can contribute to the growth of Nigeria in my present state.

I have eyes to see with, and I have seen things. I have laughed at some, but I have cried at more.

I have cried for youngsters who hawk all sorts on the streets during school hours, because an unquestionable fate marked them out to be born to less-privileged Nigerian parents.

I have cried for former classmates who dropped out of school to drive commercial buses and taxis, because insensitive despots have stolen from the future to sate their gluttonous desires in the present.

I have cried for families who have lost children, fathers, and mothers to uprisings in different parts of the country, because we have been saddled with a leadership that puts personal differences before the common good.

I have cried for the budding entrepreneur who set up shop outside my house, but who was forced to close down by the prohibitive cost of generating power, because a connected few are bent on bringing the power sector to its knees.

I have cried for a lady who lost her footing and stepped off a narrow bridge, into the murky depths of a swollen river that had overflowed its banks and flooded the surroundings, because of the existence of a wide gap between what the governed need and what the government has to offer.

I have cried for a president who had enough strength to travel to Saudi Arabia to help open a university, yet lacks the decisiveness to re-open those in his own country.

I have cried for the Apo Six, and for others who did not get such publicity, yet lost their lives in similar circumstances without redress or compensation to their families, because decades of poor leadership have made a parody out of justice. Alas! These guys should never have died in the first place! Sadly, the police-cum-private-enforcers are seldom properly trained and are often ill motivated.

I have cried in anger and frustration after gaining a new understanding of how much work needs be done to snatch my country back from a mostly illiterate and bigoted political elite who seem hell bent on making a travesty out of it.

I have cried, and I am crying.

I take a walk on the streets, and I see billboards proclaiming open governance and a better life for all, amidst so much squalor, in places where even Achilles would fear to tread.

I walk on the streets, and I see masked people. They smile at the smallest things, and laugh at crude jokes, in an attempt to hide profound despair. They sigh wearily at the little disappointments that have become a part of their lives, and fight for every today they encounter. These people deserve better, don’t they?

I see monsters masquerading as leaders, bent on robbing the future – to live in the present.

I see governors who show off their temporary-residences-cum-mansions to the entire world, making wishes while walking round comical stars of David, while the governed live in abject poverty in next to destitute conditions.

I see a 49 year old malnourished baby – in need of urgent attention.

I see a 49 year old country that is struggling to find its feet, plagued by all sorts of evils – from poor leadership to a deeply corrupt system, from apathy to antipathy.

I see, and I will not stop seeing. The day I stop seeing, I will surely become like the sightless monsters who I so much resent. Even though it hurts to look, again I will steel myself, and soak in the pain – while clinging to the very last vestige of hope.

I take a break from seeing the things which are, and I look to the future. Through my moist eyes, all I can see is a shimmery oasis in the desert – the famous crazed illusion of fresh water ahead that has driven many a desert traveller to their death. Whether this is an illusion, or reality - I alone cannot tell for sure, but collectively – we can decide which it will be.

We have to act, and we have to do it now. If we don’t fight, we have lost, but if we fight – we may win. You ask, what is the prize? What we want is simple, yet so complex; easy, yet looks so hard: a better standard of life for the Nigerian on the street.

What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Remember the song: I love my country, I no go lie...? I am proudly Nigerian, even though it has never hurt this bad.

God bless Nigeria!

KOYE-LADELE Mogbekeloluwa,


  1. Wow!! so deep and true. I don't understand how our so called "leaders" can walk around...scratch that, sit in their chauffeur driven cars and look past people who are hungry and begging on the street and not feel guilty or recognize the inherent necessity to improve the country for the good of the common Nigerian? It is mind-boggling.

    I don't know what else to say. Sometimes i just sit back& think about the situation in Nigeria& like you, i cry " after gaining a new understanding of how much work needs be done"

    Yaradua really has the audacity to help open a university when Nigerian universities are literally wallowing in

    Nigeria must & will change for the better. It has to. But i believe that we as Nigerians first have to change the way we think & live. The change that starts with us as individuals.

    Sorry for the long winded post.

  2. @ ShadeNonconformist... You feel me!!! Thanks for connecting...

  3. i love this, from making me feel what you are feeling by painting a clear picture with your choice of words to the passion delivered,this is great.
    i believe Nigeria will flourish again once we allow righteousness flow like a mighty stream and we have focused,visionary,true and real men lead us and not torture us has the case is now.
    well done bro...

  4. Igbodipe Iyabosile Anthonia2 October 2009 at 09:39

    koye,cry and weep no more for this country at 49.You are down to earth with your diagnosis of the ailment that befall this country.
    The country is at a stand still bcos of greed and bad leadership.This is time to act and not to cry.It is time for action to stop corruption in all spheres of life as a first hand treatment for this self inflicted ailment.As i write all the gates of the govt owned universities are shut due to govt insensitive to education and the future of the youghts but this same govt is busy negotiating with millitants.
    Arise o compatriots,lend your voice to fight against corruption and bad leadership and then we can savor the sweetness of freedom.
    Dear,keep the ball rolling.This is simply a job well done.

  5. friendship mi,this is splendid.really,i feel Nigeria is at a critical point where tears can't do much.i was somewhere today where a group of people sang the 2nd stanza of the national anthem.As we sang it,my heart yearned for the fulfilment of those words.every generation has to do their part.Nigeria!!!!

  6. My brother, cry no more because with people like you and me and the rest of all other responsible ones taking responsibility to make Nigeria great from our own productive contributions, it will surely be great again.
    I wrote my heart out on the solution to falling debris of this nation at
    We need a re-independence!

    Good Job, Bro!

  7. i love my country, i no go lie.
    na inside am, i go live and die....
    together or collectively, we will make our country a suitable place to live and a place to be proud of. that was a wonderfut artice. i love it