Last Saturday, a group of young women (and a few men) staged a peaceful protest at Yaba market in Lagos. It was a march premised on a simple admonition: “Do not touch us. Stop harassing women and young ladies who come to the market to shop for clothing items or who are simply walking by. Desist from groping females under the guise of attempting to get them to patronise you.” The women had had enough. The harassment of females at the market was a disturbing trend that had been perpetuated for far too long, and if anything, it’s surprising that no one had thought to do something about it until now.
“I apologise for insinuating that women are incapable of making the sort of pivotal decisions that are needed in the high stakes business of nation-building.”
“I am sorry for my views on abortion and the rights of sexually assaulted women to get one if they so desire.”
“I regret the Facebook post I made 12 years ago which suggests that Nigeria isn’t ripe for a democracy and will do better under a fascist regime.”
“My thoughts on young people and their penchant for irresponsibility were formed at a time when I did not have adequate insight into the subject matter, I have since realised that young people are in fact one of the greatest assets our country has and I apologise for the negative impact my previous statement may have had on the younger citizens of our country.”
This will be many of us in the near future.
Once I was chatting with someone who mentioned their aversion for hanging around old people. By old people, he meant those aged 60 and above. “What would we talk about?” He added. This individual just couldn’t fathom being stuck in the same space as a senior citizen for too long. His thinking—they were generations apart—so there’s really no point of intersection in their realities that would make for interesting conversation. I smiled, then reminded him that he would most likely be in the position of the older person one day and wondered how he’d feel if some youngster said the same thing he had just voiced.
It was an impossible task of sorts. I was mandated to write four articles within a few hours—and no, I wasn’t given topics—I had to come up with them. This meant developing a concept and conducting a fair bit of research before going ahead to put pen to paper. Already mentally tired and inundated with plenty of work, it seemed unfeasible to pull off. A colleague asked how I would go about it and the next words I spoke surprised even me. “I am the “baddest” and the best at this. I’ll find a way,” I said. It was a resolute, firm resolve, not a boastful one. But that statement was all the fuel and fire I needed to work my magic. I delivered before the deadline.
We couldn’t have been older than eight and eleven years old at the time; children who loved treats, just like any other kid. So when we laid eyes on them at the supermarket just outside our estate back gate, our eyes lit up and we chattered excitedly about how we would love to have…
Success…to be deemed successful—the story we all want—that earnest yearning to be looked upon as one of the few who knows exactly what they are doing. The admiration, the fandom even that we fantasise about when we put our plough to work. We are positive that we can make a career out of our hobby or passion and so we pursue it for love, for joy, for self-gratification; and in the hope that someone else, maybe two, will connect with our conviction. Sometimes, our hunch is right; we get all the plaudits and everyone wonders why we did not start off earlier. At other times, however, they give the damning verdict—”You are not nearly as good as you thought.”
Time was when jumping buses was normal. One took bikes, tricycles and weather-beaten yellow buses to every destination. Engaging the services of taxis was a luxury because pockets were shallow, every kobo had to be accounted for. But time…time soon took care of the transition and the Danfo-hopping plebeian could get her own private means of transportation. Nothing fancy, just something decent enough to signify progress and put a permanent end to contending with sweaty bodies and aggressive commuters for limited spaces in public transportation. Now, she could have her privacy; play the kind of music she wanted and not have to endure the cacophony that bus drivers mistook for good music.
A 13-year old girl lies six feet under the ground. Dead. Lifeless. Her dreams cut short, her breath snuffed out at a time when she should have no business contemplating the possibility of being non-existent. If she died of some terminal illness or had been a victim of an accident, maybe her death would have been easier to bear…maybe. But none of that is the case. The circumstances surrounding the death of Ochanya Ogbaje is a prospect every female prays against. Many would choose the option of being felled by the bullets of night marauders rather than the victim of serial rape. That frightening possibility of bodily violation that lurks in the corners of every woman’s heart became Ochanya’s reality.
“I don’t know if this one will live, I am deathly afraid even though the doctors say he is doing just fine,” Ese said to Aunty Stella.
“You have to keep faith, Esosa. Be optimistic, everything will be fine.”
Osahon and his family are growing tired, he tries to hide it, but I see the impatience and fading hope in his eyes”
“Leave Osahon and his people to think or do whatever they like and focus on yourself and the baby.”
2019 is a year that many Nigerians await with baited breaths. It will be an election year, one that will determine the trajectory of the country for the next four years—whether it finally turns the significant corner that leads to sustained economic prosperity—or remains stuck in perpetual hopelessness. Nevertheless, one of the identifying factors that accompany every election season has featured once again: Shenanigans; political mischief amongst politicians, their cronies and (for lack of a better word), mentees.