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The perceptions of a 16-yr old Nigerian

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By Tiola
I promise you this is a true story, and I have not, did not manipulate the conversations recorded herein in anyway. I was actually minding my business, trying to decide on a theme for this week’s article – I am seriously tired of commenting on the state of the nation —when my nine year old, the baby of the house walked in to relay a conversation she had just with her older brother, who is 16.

She said she was telling him about her mid-term home assignment in which she was asked to research the most recent natural disaster to occur in Nigeria to which he quipped “Jonathan Goodluck”.That was last night… I’m still cracking up as I write this several hours later!


Chai! Where did that come from! She said she asked him why he would say that and his response was that he was born naturally (??) and he seems to constantly bring disaster to Nigeria!

Let’s not even go there! I have raised my children to respect their elders and also have a healthy respect for authority. At the same time they have been raised to be thinking people, to explore, observe, examine, and based on sound analysis come to certain conclusions in line with their level of thinking. So if a 16-year old boy has gone against the grain to form such a strong and negative opinion of a leader he has experienced only ‘peripherally’ I’m curious to find out why.

So I asked him. And his response was that he assumed Jonathan was ‘the reason for most of the problems in Nigeria’. I asked how he could hold one man responsible for all the things happening to which he responded “he’s the President; he’s supposed to be in charge”. Selah.

When asked to zero in on some of the things that irked him the most, he said for one, considering that most Nigerian are hungry all those millions allocated for food in Aso-rock was inconceivable. Then he couldn’t grasp the amount set aside to buy petrol to power the generators in Aso-Rock “why?” he asked. “Didn’t they realise that if they fixed the power problem, they won’t have to waste all that money?” I’ve been wondering the same thing too…

“Why are we still a mono-economy?” He demanded. The study of Economics has opened his mind and eyes to a lot of things. Honestly, I have asked that same question many times myself… started asking when he was a little baby… now the baby is grown and those questions still remain unanswered.

He said as far as he knew Jonathan has done nothing of significance – at least none that he is aware of. He says he stands to be corrected. And then he proceeded to break my heart…

He said he was born believing that epileptic power supply and blackouts were a normal global phenomenon. He said for many years he never understood why people became so belligerent when NEPA struck, after all. Wasn’t that the norm? They will soon bring it na! Maybe not just today, but sha, dem go bring am! Not until he stepped out of these shores… thank God for the wherewithal to provided our children with alternate experiences.

By that I take it that we have succeeded in raising a generation, with the exception of those who will have the privilege of an alternate experience; who will go through life with very low expectations believing that this hard, unproductive way of life is the norm… God forbid!

As it stands he says he’s not proud to be called Nigerian and his response to the Presidents 2nd (or is it 3rd) term bid was a slow, cynical chuckle, disconcerting to see in one so young and he said… “I assume that when a president wants to come back, it is because he has done something that has affected the country positively and wants to come back and do more… technically speaking, him (sic) asking for a 2nd term is like saying he wants to return and continue to do nothing…. Selah.

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