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Politics in Nigeria today.


Spying through the window of our house and seeing the old kvetchy man sitting at his doorstep, I realised beyond all questionable doubt that nothing had really changed since the last time I talked to momma. The old tree had been at the same place, the children were singing the moonlight songs around the big old tree, and the fetcher was on the old well, stained with sands sufficient to build our abandoned community hall. I saw the moon shine bright that night and almost immediately, I observed our neighbor with her four year old child on their way to see a nurse that does not work in a hospital. Then, it dawned on me that nothing had really changed since momma left my younger brother and me with my father.

I was thirteen years old the last time I saw my mother. She hugged me the way I will never forget as she walked out of my father's house. I kept on wondering why she left me to go to school with a patched school bag, with little books inside. Fear gripped my soul as I imagined the punishment winking at me if I do not attend the assembly with my mother the next day in school. We attended the only school in the community and my mother had been invited to school because I had refused to stop coming to school without relevant books. Little did my teachers know that my mother will soon be leaving my siblings and me to attend to the unending demands of the society. I saw her leave before my very own eyes, my younger brother was filled with tears, but I knew it was safer to assume there was zilch to worry about. My dad came back late at night to see the wonders that had happened while he left to search for a job with his bachelors degree certificate. With little hesitation, I gave a condign explanation of all that happened while he left the house to hunt for a job to save us from the obvious destitute condition we were in. He listened with the kind of attention a barren woman would give a proficient herbalist. I knew uncontrollable tears came out of my eyes as I said to my father the inevitable truth of how my mother had left. My father assumed it was a nightmare he wanted to wake up from, but he broke the iceberg to me when he told me his bachelor's degree certificate got him the job of a driver in a multinational company. He was happy that he could at least provide us a meal per day. With tears in his eyes, he told us not all dishes were made for all and with much emphasis, the information that fried rice and chicken was for the elites sank in deep. The imagination of how the name of the food would influence the cooking made me accept that the job my father got could be the right one to give us the plate of fried rice and chicken we had dreamed about during Christmas. All these came through my mind in nanoseconds until the town crier gave a hope building news.

I heard the town crier talk about the new road that would be built if we could vote for a specific aspirant. I listened as he encouraged all eligible citizens to save our community from its obvious extinction by coming out to vote. The sound of his gong gave me the creepy feeling. Nevertheless, I listened with my whole being. I was surprised to hear my father talk with such depression as he said he does not have sufficient money to convey him to the voting poll. Not minding my father's comment, the advertised promises made by the town crier triggered me to listen the more.

I saved the money I got from the daily beggary chores I do. With the picture of paradise in my mind, I gave my father the money to transport himself to the voting poll. I was not bothered as I saw a future like paradise, I read my torn bible to enlarge the vision of a small heaven in my big community. The promises of good roads was over the urge to spend the saved money, the vow made to provide employment for all higher institution graduates gave me a glimpse of hope, at the peak of it, the love of good food made me encourage my father to leave home and proceed to the voting poll. Although, the life of my father was not a genuine prove that education was the key to success, my entire being believed the political aspirants that promised our community the best formal education on a platter of gold. With little or no doubt in their troths, all I could do was to gladly accept the supposed gracious offer.

Years after the political applicants have won the elections, I sat down in the kitchen looking at the old tree, beside it was the grave of my immediate elder sister that had a seizure attack and was not able to make it to the only private hospital in our community because of the bad roads. Intrigued by my environment, I realised as a twenty seven year old lady, all I had was a diploma certificate, a geriatric man to be called a father, an elder brother that was dependent on drugs, a frustrated younger brother and a mother that was nowhere to be found. As I looked back through the years and I remembered the old town crier, I was into the mental dilemma of insecurity, until the almost spoilt radio was giving a campaign of a political candidate I didn't care to know. I smiled as I peeped through the window again and asked my aged father a rhetorical question: "what are they promising us this time?”.

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