Reinventing Hope

Nigeria-Elekoe Beach

Fifty-three years ago, Nigeria became independent of British rule. Since then, OFN, Green Revolution, MAMSER, Better Life for Rural Women, SAP, WAI, SFEM, Deregulation, June 12th, Privatisation, and The Seven Point Agenda, among others, have come and gone. They made their mark in the sands of our collective consciousness and then disappeared into the bottom half of the national hourglass. But, we have remained like a palm tree, flexible in the wind.

Although we are lacerated by stereotypes, propagated from within and without, and although bloody sweat drips from our brows as we bake the national cake, we have always found ways to sustain hope, to restore hope, and to reinvent hope as we grease the wheels of the nation’s locomotive.

In my post, In the Beginning God Created Nigeria, I wrote:

 It is true that the Nigerian landscape offers many reasons for sober contemplation, but within the dim picture, I found moments of patriotic pride, quiet amusement, and downright hilarity.  Glimpses of our heydays managed to peek through ominous clouds, an indication that lost causes can be found

I found a lost cause. I found hope one grey morning when rain fell at a steady pace.

A man struggled to open his umbrella as he stepped out of his car. Holding the yeye umbrella that refused to fully unfold above his head, he hurried into a building. Ten minutes later, he braved the rain with his spoilt umbrella and rushed to his car. Once inside, he flung the black umbrella in the middle of the road. It tumbled, unfolded properly, and gaped at the sky. He drove off, leaving a water receptacle and a trap waiting to bite other motorists.

Soon after, another man walked by. He looked left then right, and then left again before running to the middle of the road to snatch the umbrella. He closed it and set it neatly on the pavement.

Curious, I invited him into our office for a chat.

“Why did you pick up the umbrella?”

“Because it can cause accident.”

I didn’t need to ask because his shoes, shaved at the heels and curling to heaven in front, revealed the answer. But I asked anyway, “Is your car parked around here?

He laughed. We both laughed.

I nor get car.”

We both laughed again.

“Then why did you….”

He shrugged his shoulders, “It can cause accident. Some drivers will not see on time.”

“Wow. Not many people will do what you did….”

He shrugged his shoulders again, “Make I begin go.”

“Hold on. Let me find something for you. We need more people like you in this country.”

“For what? Wetin I do? Please keep your money.”

“I just want to give you something to show appreciation. If more people were like you, this country will change.”

“No need. Make I begin go.”

When he stepped outside, he gauged the drizzle with the back of his palm, shut his umbrella, and kept walking.

Little hinges swing huge doors.  Change will elude us as long as we only point fingers. When I look for a dustbin to dispose of the empty Mr Biggs take-away pack instead of dumping it on the road, change will come. When I wait in traffic instead of turning the pavement to a fast lane, change will come.

Light a candle of hope with me. Share your encounter with a Nigerian whether in Washington or Aba or Ogbomosho or Manchester, which defied the stereotype that we have come to know. Surely, for Nigeria, the future is still pregnant.

 

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Photo credit: Zuorio / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Title: Nigeria – Elekoe Beach

Original image URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zuorio/282076831/

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Reinventing Hope

  1. Patriotism will always pay, some years ago people will say that Americans are crazy for loving a country so much, but later in this our tym bcos they loved their country then stayed away from certain crimes and we who are not patriotic started kidnapping them, now they are treated like Gold in our own country more precious than we the owners of the country all bcos they loved theirs and we didnt

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    1. Arinze,I think decades of rape & neglect can drain the patriotic fervour out of citizens. But I hear you, this is the only country we have and we are the only ones who can build it… all hope is not lost.

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  2. Thanks for sharing Timi. Enjoyed reading it.

    I was willing him to take the money off you 🙂

    It’s a shame though that it is becoming quite rare to see people do something kind without an expectation of getting “something” in return.
    We “sow seeds” of kindness, love, money etc to “reap a hundred fold harvest” of “the desires of our hearts” (mainly material stuff 😉 )
    There’s always a catch, and what is it? To be rewarded for our good deeds. How? Monetarily(hopefully), in kind or “God go reward me” (here on earth though) 😉 😀

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  3. I wish I had a good Ogbomoso story to share right now because that is where I live (I intend to return there after youth service) but I’ve got no stereotype breaking story to share. I loved your story and hope more people will take it upon themselves to reinvent hope – stopping the habit of jumping queues sounds like a good place to start.

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  4. Okay mine may seem completely unrelated but last year when I headed home for summer, i got to the airport in Lagos and the usual banter of people trying to get through immigration happened and then all of a sudden, one of the officers went behind and started funneling all the whites to the front of the queue and then this elderly lady at the front of the queue spoke up: Her words were quite strange but the message was sha passed. She asked why we’re been treated like second class citizens in our own country, been forced to queue in our own country while the whites went ahead like VIPs after we received similar treatment in Amsterdam. After stressing her point, she actually made sure we were all cleared before they started clearing the whites. #ActonLady

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    1. Ochuko, I love what you shared and it isn’t unrelated at all. Change will come when we rise and speak up! All kudos to courageous action lady. Everybody probably thought the same thing, but she was the only one who spoke up. And her speaking up brought change.

      The fact that she’s elderly also shows that we shouldn’t write-off the older generation. They are still agents of & examples of change.

      Thank you so much for sharing.

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  5. “Surely, for Nigeria, the future is still pregnant.” So true. I’m hopeful that the children of this nation and those yet to come will live and possess a greener more prosperous land. Thanks for the write up — so appropriate for this day.

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