I don’t have to speak too much on this. We all know how our parents enjoyed the life, got the good stuff as young-ins, got the good jobs straight out of school, partied and wore whatever they wanted, and when things started going bad, they went into hiding. Which we could have understood if they stopped there, after all they survived coups and assassinations and military regimes. But the blaming!! The constant blaming and shaming thing they do, trying to kill our own spirit. This SARS decay is a reflection of the cultural rot that seeped into religion, that pervades the society in itself. The usual mindset: dreadlocks are for children of Satan; tattoos are for agents of darkness; lesbians and gays are a pollution on the earth and signs of end-times. Non 9 to 5vers are not gainfully employed but jokers; women should be cooking in the kitchen, if she’s driving a nice car, she’s a prostitute, a man bought it for her. I can go on and on but I’m sure you get the drift. It’s dysfunctional.
I remember this day I got home from work and I was so proud to gist Ola about a heated conversation I had at work, I remember ranting on Whatsapp status that evening, and back then it felt like these adults were going to ride us like tricycle forever. At my last job in this prestigious bank in Nigeria, I was relationship manager to certain accounts and HNIs. There was this one, we wanted the clients to operate i.e properly fund their electoral campaign account with our bank. Sometimes the job description was to sit there all day waiting for someone’s signature to approve something sometimes ridiculous, and that person will be in a meeting all day, making you wait, all day. All in a day’s work. One of them had taken a special liking to me. Some days when she’s in, I’ll sit in her office, waiting in relative comfort instead of the hallway or waiting areas. One of such days, in the heat of 2019 electoral campaign, I suddenly found myself sitting with 6 boomers who largely control the politics in the state. To tell you I wasn’t tripping that day will be a lie. I was enjoying my job! Couple of them had seen me around and interacted with me briefly from time to time, most of them snubb me, as they should. I’m a bank RM. That day it started with the curiosity of why said fav Madam was treating me in a friendly way. Madam asked them to leave me be, they wouldn’t. At some point she left me with them, wished me well and gave me permission to sit in her chair as there wasn’t space. Once again, I was trippinggg, because now these people were facing me like they were in my office ha!
So they asked for my name, what bank department I worked and in what position. They went ahead to express appropriate surprise when they heard my age, probably tried to figure out which I was; somebody’s spoilt brat or girlfriend, ignored me for a little bit, and then came back to politics talk. Then boom! their conversations shifted and landed squarely on me. While they stylishly acknowledged that something was wrong somewhere with the current political landscape, they still ended up calling it my generation’s fault.
Sir. K said many things around how they fought in the street against Abacha, he had stories of standing side by side with Asiwaju, and their crew; now split. PS: I’m using aliases because as at the point of this conversation, I didn’t know anyone’s names but I knew everyone in that room wasn’t my mate and I knew the power they had in the party. My fav madam told me their names after in the manner of “do you know who and who you just spoke to”. Anyway, these men looked armour tanks straight in the eye and chanted war cries. Some story about how they poured shit on the road or how they rolled inside it, you know these glory sometimes gory type of tales. I was half intrigued and half preparing a response during this whole conversation, plus suffering short term memory didn’t help, so I don’t remember all of it. Anyway Sir K went on and on about how we are cowardly in our generation and all we do is…guess what, you know what he’s about to say next.. PRESS PHONE!! All we are focused on is this tech thing, travelling abroad, and partying.
Mrs. T speaks her own mind. Mrs. T was of the opinion that the older generation was the one holding this country together for us, the younger generation need them, or we will mess things up, because all we do is party, and once again, press phones. We are not fit to rule, we haven’t been through the fire and brimstone of the generation before us, we don’t have the emotional capacity, and we don’t have this and that and those.
Mr. O asked us what our social media was going to do for us, and how did we think it could possibly save us. He didn’t call us lazy Nigerian youths but that we were definitely preoccupied with our faux online activism and complaints. Who are we talking to on social media that we think is listening? All we do is build apps and start tech companies that we still needed our daddies to fund.
I can’t begin to tell you how cheated I felt that I was the only one in my generation, being in this conversation. It was such an unfair fight, 6 of them against me, saying all these untrue things without having the mass opinion of my generation. I kept answering them sha, if you know me you know that I can take anyone with my mouth. With their carriage and expensive jewellery and police escorts standing around the secretariat, I answered every single one of them, respectfully of course. I did well in debate team so I can do “greetings”. Several times they told me to shush and listen to the people with grey hair. Oh among my generation’s many flaws, is that we don’t listen. I didn’t listen that day, I couldn’t be bothered. One of the women gave me a sweet validation I didn’t need, she said I had guts. I knowwww!
The truth is, as I’m watching these protests in the streets, I feel so so so so so proud and happy. This, this whole thing, this protest, this uprising, is my response to every single one of them. As the whole thing is happening I’m recollecting that conversation over and over again. These are the people that can change anything, not changing anything, sitting there with the child of their inside (Yoruba translation only) and still blaming us! I hope they think of me a little bit when they see this too. I hope they remember “that little girl” in their office who didn’t cower. With our social media and phones, we will win this fight. With our apps and inventions we will change everything. With our voices and actions we will make the country great. They thought they drowned us, they didn’t know we we are garri – we go rise! Their fada! #EndSARS #EndPoliceBrutality #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria