THE 30 SOMETHING MILLION FACES OF FREEDOM

I write this from a distraught mind. Several attempts and drafts have been deleted in this vain attempt to be strong, to be brave for my future and for my children unborn. In all honesty, words fail me, I feel frail, feeble, intangible. I feel like I do not matter, like my life is just another tally to the wasteland, to the dump the misguided, selfish, devilish helmsmen of my country designed for us all. I write this with a heavy heart. A heart in grief of what cannot be undone and a distasteful apprehension of the unimaginable that is to come.


I have seen genocides, I have seen anarchy, I have seen governments lose their minds and lay waste to their own, I have seen unrest and destruction through the genius minds of cinematographers and the brilliance of story-craft in several screenplays; Hotel Rwanda, Half of a Yellow Sun, A Bridge Too Far and a host of others and for my 20 something years alive, I have carried the guilt, the feeling of helplessness and the curiosity of what anyone could have done to make it better, to avoid evil and to avoid onslaught and the murder of futures yet experienced.


Now that I ponder on it, I realize I owe myself an apology. I owe myself an apology for assuming I knew what darkness felt like, for feigning that it was only as bad as it was in the movies but when reality magnifies the truth a hundred folds, it is a hundred and 1 times worse. I’m sorry dear self. I didn’t allow myself to prepare for the evil of being Nigerian.


If I could, I’d sue God, but who am I to question the omniscient for the (mis/dis) placement of these bright young lights in a darkness that not only makes it hard to shine, but tenuously works to snuff out our glares and shut us down.



I am not dead, I am not dying, but I am barely alive. There’s a hand, a strong grip, a chokehold, a noose around my neck. I am drowning, I am suffocating. We are dying, we need help but the emergency line dials straight to the assailant’s desk.

We are dying, we are living yet dead, we are no better than the scores shot down like highway thieves with heavy artilleries and body armor piercing bullets like terrorist only for being defiant, for being persistent in the fight for the freedoms and the rights to live and to life.

I’m haunted and it is rather disheartening what haunts me. I am a patriotic Nigerian and whenever the National anthem comes on, I chant like a soldier, I beam with hope. It is a travesty, a parody of what should be.


My ears ached and my heart bled in the wee hours of today when young, innocent kids in a nearby school chanted the National anthem and chorused the pledge, oblivious of what misery and mystery could plague them, what disaster could stop their growth out of the evil chest of the minions we called to lead.


The horrifying sights and sounds of young, heroes in the face of impending death in a one way fight, rigged for them to lose as they chanted the Anthem of the same nation whose military terminators shot them down like ducks in duck hunt will linger long in my head, change the way I see, think, act and change me altogether. This and for the millions of us the fallen heroes represent.


When I accessed my memory vaults today, I found a similar expression of disgust on father’s face as he dropped us off in school one of the few days he went to drop us in primary school. I understand it now. It was the feeling of contempt, with a dash of hopelessness, a tincture of helplessness, a hint of despair, fear and distrust in the system. I know it now, I feel it too. It is the same old shit, same old narrative. Same old people in power, misaligning and marginalizing and recklessly raping the fair lady of justice and human right. It is the same old cycle but something is different for the first time in 60 years. Something is different.


You see, father’s generation was complicit with their complacency. Yes they made efforts and they retreated when the forces that be wielded deceit, propagandas and brute force, they yielded and till today, we bear the cross still. Something is different this time. The generation that wouldn’t yield until we earn the freedom we deserve. The generation that will march on, rally and muster the strength to stay on course even as bullets fly and bullies try. The generation whose mandate for a free for all society will thrive, whose victory will erupt like magma and shoot out the sky for all to see like larva.



We will not be intimidated, we will not be bullied. We have lost too many to bow out to pressure. We are peaceful in the face of violence. We are united in spite of the propagandas to tear us apart. We will rise, we will rise. We will etch our names in the sands of time and become the hands the rewrote history even as we live to enjoy the wins. We are not about the crown, neither are we about glory. We are about freedom. We are for justice. And when the world asks us or our children whose face(s), whose name(s) heralded a new beginning, we shall say and when we are no more, they will say about is

No one, and everyone; every one of the 30 something million faces of freedom, heroes of a new Nigeria, the year 2020 and beyond”

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