Believing in the destiny of a tailored sewn, humanly seen as high prestigious apparel, is the worst thing one could get soaked in.
Some years back, as a kid, my dad would always urge us, even flog us heavily just to study hard in order to get dressed like them. Well, you might be wondering where this writer is driving at or what he/she is insinuating but I tell you, we are all victims. Yes! We are all victims because, the truth was sold a long time ago and lies have been told and bought with mare spoken words.
I am nameless because, I come from a region in a continent where education is overrated and less valued yet, the lie of “Education is the key”, is still being told with both eyes opened. Education being kept aside, torture during inquisition still breathes. Stoning women for exposing a little bit of their ankle; slaughtering children to blot out the shame of illegitimate birth; radical pursuit of truth, even when it defies convention. The shapeless and formless fear I’ve known since birth still envelopes me… it still persuades me to ask, ARE WE NOT ALL EDUCATED?
After appraising the 6:3:3:4 system of education; spending six years in the primary school, three years in the junior secondary school; three years in the senior secondary school and four years in the higher institution; let aside, those with other degrees of six years of study and above. That sweet lie keeps drumming in our minds, longing to wear that wear.
At some point, the thought of fending for our parents and little ones would come to our mind as if it is spiritual; yet, we keep living with the lie that gave us HOPE(Hold On, Press Ever). Four years in the higher institution, extorting money to scale through, giving bribes,engaging in menial jobs and… some, sleeping around still to be called graduates. Four years in the higher institution, reading hard, attending prayers under the dew and drizzling rain; singing and chanting the Aluta chants yet, we did all these with the sweet lie and urge in our minds.
Finally done… yes! Always written “done and dusted” . Handing over the sweating degree certificate becomes a tug-of-war; insults of clearance and unavailability of naira notes just to collect your paper degree. I CRY…
We were not told that the amount of this final clearance enabling us to collect our paper degree certificate was proportional to the amount spent in years writing tests, assignments and exams; excluding projects. THIS IS SCAM! Education? Maybe. We were not told that our parents would finally place their wrappers and other properties for sale just for their children to wear this wear.
We watched our parents weep, our widowed mothers, counting their wrappers one after the other; we watched them weep, soliloquizing on seeing their children through alone; we watched them weep, laying curses on death as though it were human; we watched them weep, deliberating cheap prices for their expensive wrappers; and yet… we watched them weep, swearing with their last breath and sweat, how joyful they would be, seeing their children fully dressed in that wear.
Finally at the“gate of beautiful”, looking so tensed, ugly with unjoyful soldiers standing under the scorching harmattan sun with dried lips and cracked forehead. “This country hard o”one exclaimed. “Otondo… double-up…kai mama… you dunno you’re late abi? You wan serve your fatherland as you lazy laidis so? Na suffer you come o…no be ajebuta something o”… another one said, as we run up to the promise gate, in other to be let entry into the promise land.
Kits finally collected; all dressed like English fowl; packed into a four-edged room like prisoners; we are called the para-military yet, we own no accorded respect. The wealthy mock us because, they know we were not told. Forced to eat the watery prisoner’s dishes, except you have good money to spend on semi-good dish elsewhere. Morning parade, evening parade, lectures we learn nothing from; thousands sleeping, just one listener. Soldiers, sexually harassing those with myopic reasoning. Little boys, sleeping with married and pregnant women under the tree and in drainage ways. Were we not told?
Under the rain and in the sun, we vowed to serve; with skeletal bodies, malnourished to the head; how do we serve thee well? We were not told that we would be posted to bushy villages, sleeping with rodents, reptiles and poisonous insects; yet, paid stipend yet, we are called government children. Sleeping under leaking raffia palm houses, swimming muddy water, drinking contaminated waters… we thought we were going through another phase of life until we were left with two weeks to pull off the long awaited wear. After NYSC; what next?
Thoughts of making my mother proud, just as she has always wished and prayed. Thought of helping her fend for my siblings begins to eat me up like a parasite. we thought… we thought there would be a company waiting to offer us our desired employment letters. We were not told that the federal pikin we were fondly called was a mare jamboree. “Education is the key”, key to what door? Suffering, mockery, unemployment,frustration and depression? What door? yes! Life is bed of roses until you lay on those with thorns. For how long can you keep a secret and hide its skeleton in your cupboard? An iphone 11 is useless to its owner if he’s unable to recharge it and put food on his table.
Education shouldn’t be your only watchword; skills, talents and potentials now has the right keys. Remember, the richest people in the well known Nigerian Onitsha Main Market are not formally educated but,highly skillful. BE SKILLFULLY EQUIPPED.
Written and Published