We Have Forgotten

By Sharon Olanrewaju

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This is a piece I wrote for the stage sometime ago… I think it’s just apt for this ‘season’…
So, here we go:

I’m on this stage to talk about you and I ‘cos often times, when on questionnaires or online or through some other means, we are asked to indicate our identity and we tick Nigeria, I wonder what exactly that means
I mean for a French man,he believes he is the custodian of civilization
For a German, he believes he is the epitome of knowledge and,
For an American, strength in diversity.
So for a Nigerian, what exactly?
I cower to say what’s on my mind,
What my Nation has come to represent on the sand of time…
Pain, poverty, pain and, more pain.

We die every time and still struggle to live, awaiting more death.
We die with every news of the Northern bombings and yet we have to convince ourselves to live another day, in spite of the terrorism 
As if that’s not enough, we struggle with a land that turns our dreams to sour drink and maybe that’s why it’s called a father land ‘cos it always will be barren. I’m sorry that’s what I’m thinking ‘cos nothing is forth coming and so we keep complaining.
We till and dig the soil, tend and wet the plants with our own sweat of blood shed from shattered dreams and broken bodies and worn out soles but what do we have to reap?
We reap staple crops of high prices to be bought with our own tears and so we keep asking, ‘why us? When would we get to our land flowing with milk and honey?’

So I thought to myself, “that’s why we have leaders, they’ll bear the burden for us, they’ll feel our pain,
They’ll work harder so as to make our lives better and not just for their gain but,
That’s when I knew the mess we are in is much deeper than I thought,
‘Cos I see the leaders whom I elected celebrating the whites,
Condemning the 9-11,
The Boston bombings,
The Charlie hebdo attack and I ask, ‘What about the millions displaced in Northern States?’
What about those killed in Maiduguri, Nasarrawa and Borno but I think it really doesn’t matter ‘cos the places I just mentioned do not sound like  New York, Boston or the Washington DC.

I see the child of the leader whom I elected; black skin, black hair, just like mine but, he never has set foot on the black soil, nor stood under the scorching sun nor has he been burnt by it’s rays…WHY?
‘Cos his father got a hold on the National cake quicker than mine did.

I see many of my fellow Nigerians put to death on our blood-thirsty roads and yet, nothing would be done about these roads
Absolutely nothing would be done ‘cos it seems like it is their fault that they died HOW?
‘Cos they weren’t rich enough to take a flight!
I mean where were they when our leaders got a hold on the  National cake?
So everyone now wants their share of this cake, and we do not want slices but, chunks and chunks of it.
You hear our youth say things like; “do not tell us not to embezzle the nation’s money ‘cos our so called fathers also did the same and, aren’t we supposed to be like them so it becomes like father, like son?”
“…No, don’t tell us not to embezzle ‘cos we must all get our share of the Green, White, Green slimy cake!”
But I ask, “Can we not see? This cake has become too sugary for our system and now, we have become diabetically corrupt, defiling our democracy, destroying our Constitution and not thinking about the future we are creating for the children we wish to procreate.

And this issue would not have been bad, if we weren’t just procreating and procreating this children without restriction into this crazy world we are creating for them but now, you hear our girls say stuff like “the situation of the Nation is so bad and that’s why we resort to prostitution.
We have forgotten who we are, black women who hold their heads high.
I wish we have not forgotten our place. The men might be the head but we are the body, the full fledged body; we, the women.
With us is the hand, the legs, the heart and with them is the brain, basically.
So we allow them to think but, with us is the power to move, the power to breath, the power to act and that’s who we are.  We, the women!

But now, we are the Fish who fall for the hook, the line and the sinker.
We scratch the itch of every Tom, Dick and Harry;
the giver of pleasure to the good, the bad and the ugly.
And for the men, I know you always argue that the female counterpart are not to rule the Nation.
So let’s say we agree, let’s say we agree… and so I ask: “Please, where are the men leaders? Where are the men who would lead us, who would rule us?
Is it the boys whom I hear are already making plans on how to steal our money before they even get there? Oh, please!

So I’m aware, I’m aware we are all tired. I’m aware we all need a reason.
We’re tired of calling ourselves citizens of this seemingly dead Nation.
We’re asking for a reason, a reason to pledge to Nigeria, our country, to be faithful, loyal and honest.
A reason to serve Nigeria with all our strength and to uphold her honour and glory.

But if we would all hear my story, the story of who we are,
If we would all do our parts and strive to light this dark path…
It doesn’t matter who we are; politicians, Pepper sellers, Police men, Business Men…
Cohbams Asuquo said, “DO THE RIGHT THING!” and that’s all that matters ….Lecturers, Students….
Oh Students!
I have so much to say to us. I realize, we are perfectionists but with lazy behinds. We want the good grades, the high A’s, the nice B’s and we do not want to settle for the lesser C’s yet, we would not let go of the sleep, the gist, the movies, parties with the ladies, just to mention a few.

I’m not saying these things are wrong in themselves, I mean we definitely need to rest, relax and have some fun;
I’m in fact, looking forward to the semester break already, but it is my belief that if we would be more diligent in our business and pass hard at our passions, then maybe, just maybe, we would begin to have many more graduates with senses than mere certificates.

So, this is for the writers and to the voices of those who cry out in this wilderness in one way or the other, Trying to do what is right so as to make our Nigeria better but, this wilderness has got its wind and the wind has got its whistles and the whistles mix with our voices to form harsh music of evil but I hope that we will not give up,
I hope that we make that rugged decision,
To survive.

So this song is for you and I and to the effort we put together in making our Nigeria better.
(In the Chipmunks‘ voices)
I’m a survivor
I’m not gonna give up
I’m not gonna stop
I’m gonna work harder.
I’m a survivor
I’m gonna make it
I will survive
(Please) Keep on surviving

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