Is Nigeria A Safe Place For Creatives?
A friend said it is obvious that every Nigerian Youth’s greatest dream is to leave the country one day. However, not everyone will be opportune to leave the country; how can James, whose parents live below the poverty level, find the resources to sponsor his traveling? How about Omo Iya logi, who could not afford to complete his secondary school education because they were poor? How about John, whose parents tried their best to sponsor his university education, but it has been 5 years after graduation he has never experienced what a paid job is like; after all, he never had one. Sandra is not any different from the rest; a National Diploma holder with 4 siblings to take care of and a Diabetic mother to nurse, she stopped her education to find a livelihood to sustain the family.
It is unfortunate that not every Nigerian youth will have a fulfilled dream of traveling outside the country’s shores. While some are earnestly praying for something to happen, perhaps a good Samaritan from the Abroad comes home and finds them interesting and flies them overseas; others find means by themselves. The many who find means for themselves often end up in the den of human traffickers, drug peddlers, and sexual predators. I am beginning to understand why a desperate man seeks God’s will in every opportunity, regardless of the opportunity’s authenticity.
How do I explain that Shade thought traveling to Libya was God’s will for her because she had been praying for open doors? After a few days of fasting and seeking God’s face for a miracle, her childhood friend Bola asked if she was interested in some hustling overseas. Shade desired good things; much more, she desired that her two siblings, which her mum left behind before her death, would have a better education than she did; hence Shade traveled, but that was the last they heard of her. Everyone is looking for Shade; whether she is dead, alive, or missing, all her family knows she left the country for greener pastures.
Everyone wants a greener pasture, even me. No wonder many young people love to recite David’s psalm, “He makes me lie down in the green pasture.”
However, we live in the irony of that today; despite living in a country with so many green grasses and trees, we cannot guarantee that we will eat a healthy fruit without struggling. Is Nigeria safe for young people, most especially creatives?
I paid for a writing workshop early this year, about 5 people could not attend, because of electricity issues. I asked Jide while he doesn’t want to take some online courses and become a social media manager; his first complaint was data. “Who would pay my data fee?” he asked me.
I asked Tayo why he wouldn’t move out of his parent’s apartment since he earns about #500,000 as a freelancer; he replied: “I am safer in my parent’s house than when I live alone.” I wondered what he meant; I never asked him because I felt he was lazy or possibly a mum’s boy; however, Tayo was arrested for looking like a Yahoo boy when he decided to heed to my nagging and scout with his friends for a while. I then realized the protection he was referring to. Many more people manage to earn a good income, but they cannot use what they desire because the country does not only frown at it or kills people for good looks.
Is Nigeria really safe for creatives? Having to meet up with deadlines, yet there is no power supply for weeks. And if you are the praying machine type, you pray to God to touch the heart of these men sitting behind the power control panel to supply your street with electricity even if others do not have. On some days, your phone and laptop power pack gets damaged because the electric current was too high for your devices. You transfer your aggression to your neighbors, miss a few deadlines, struggle to find a better means to get the job done, maybe invest in Inverters or Solar.
You have a car, yet you have to take bikes or walk on some days because you got the information that police officers or the federal SARS team is out there hunting for young people. You are a girl, beautiful and hardworking, but even in your suit, and baby girl shoes, a man whose educational qualification you don’t know says the reason you are looking good is because you are a prostitute, and he will only let you go when he has a taste of your body. Imagine having to listen to nasty words, yet you can not speak out because the only response is a gunshot that will take you to your afterlife.
Work for your money, and then you get to work smart and hard, taking coffee, chewing gum, skipping meals, and parties, sitting on the chair all day long to make a decent living, but someone else reaps that which you labor for.
“Only thieves press the laptop all day, you are a jobless fool,” yet those who work in corporate organizations, who wear suits, and blazers all day with finely polished shoes, are harassed. Many have died, many have been harassed, productivity and creativity are at stake, people are drowning in depression, many have lost their dreams and aspirations because of a crime they never committed. Sadly, the country does not care what happens to anyone, not Shade, an orphan, a Bolu who is a Bricklayer, or Ridwan, a freelancer, or Moyo is a caterer Seun who is a bike rider, or you. But, I care about you, and it is okay if you can afford to leave the country and search for greener pastures.