WHY DID MY FOREFATHERS MISS THE SLAVE SHIP?

WHY DID MY FOREFATHERS MISS THE SLAVE SHIP?

My name is Renegade Forlorn. I am an African. In fact, I am a Nigerian. I possess qualities and potentials that are desperately needed elsewhere. How do I know this? My intuition tells me so, daily. To be honest, I can literally feel the person I could have been living that life in climes where I was unfortunate not to come from. This is sickening at the very least. It gets even worse when my immediate environment derides everything my person has come to appreciate and hold dear.

The judges around might as well crucify me for my disdain regarding everything Nigerian. No, everything African. Yet, only the one without sin should cast the first stone. This was my open declaration at a public square where hundreds gathered, if not thousands, to celebrate Nigeria’s Independence Day. And for nearly two hours, there was none righteous enough to even shout at me to make way, let alone stone me.

It is common knowledge that long after the civil rights movements around the world have achieved a great victory over racial discrimination by enthroning the principle of equality of all men, with Former U.S President Barack Obama embodying that collective victory, racial discrimination still continues unabated. Documented experiences around the world show a marked duality in this campaign as on one side, the advocates of equality are seen publicly hugging, holding hands or carrying placards to show solidarity. While on the other, racial chauvinists are either throwing banana peels at footballers during live matches or the white police beating/shooting at a helpless black slum-dweller with reckless abandon. To one, it is advocacy. To the other, it is just a game!

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Nevertheless, Africans, particularly Nigerians, are all over the place in search of greener pastures. Not minding the harsh realities that beat hard on them on a daily basis. Just to mention that the large population of the country has made her citizens a threat wherever they go. This is coupled with the desperation by a few elements among them to succeed at all cost. The consequence is that the country’s image has been soiled and battered almost beyond repairs. But all these mean little or nothing to the average Nigerian seeking to break loose.

On the African continent, there have been reported cases of Nigerians been made objects of calculated violence and unfair treatments. Not on the basis of the colour of skin, but on the threat of taking over-dominating. There is no need to remember xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, a real eyesore.

Although, the average Nigerian should not be hurriedly led to the gallows just yet. There are a number of factors responsible for immigration. Among many others is bad leadership. With visionary leadership, Nigeria possesses the requisite resources, both human and natural, to compete with the G20. The facts are obvious and one does not need much ado to convince. Yet the country is still mired in petty social challenges that have left the citizens with practically nothing to live for. In truth, even the word ‘hope’ has become elusive to define among Nigerians as many only interpret it from a religious perspective.

From hindsight, the maltreatment of the other blacks around the world, particularly in Europe and America, would have deterred potential immigrants like Nigerians. But it is funny that in desperate times, people lose their rationality and simply flow with whatever tide that seems to lead away from present danger, not minding if the next stop would be more dangerous. This desire to get away quickly from the damaging climate that has become Nigeria is responsible for the mass exodus of the country’s finest crop of men and women of substance. They just leave even when not sure of the next meal at their final destination. At least getting away alone is considered a step closer to freedom, no, it is prison break!

A closer look at the racial disparity and mutual suspicion among them, and one is tempted to ask: is the black race cursed? How come blacks all over the world are not faring any better compared to their white brethren? I know the Marxists will always want to remind us of slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and globalization. But those are extrinsic factors. How about intrinsic factors like bad governance, primordial divisions, and selfishness among even the common man? The other races invest in research and innovation, the blacks spend on luxury goods only. Yes, it is a psychological problem. But how come it has affected an entire race with no exceptions?

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When President Donald Trump allegedly said that Africa needs to be recolonized for another hundred years, it was a bitter pill for most of us. But how have we responded to his obnoxious claim? By drowning ourselves in the Mediterranean? Nah… we need to grow up as a race and begin to think with our heads rather than with our legs. Because in the end, history is always kind only to those who were decisive about their collective fate than those who simply followed trends.

Unfortunately, most of our brothers and sisters whom, in ancient times would celebrate their status as free-born, are today dismayed by the same status in their homeland. They want to become slaves by their own design in foreign lands as they cherish what they see on TV more than what they know is the reality. A friend of mine once told me he would abandon his last paper of a final year university examination to go and die in America. Yes, he was desperate. But was he the only one? Are they not many out there ready to abandon a professional career in Nigeria to become mortuary attendants in more developed economies? Maybe they are driven by the desire to acquire new ascent, or maybe is for financial healing. Whatever the reason is, there are desperate about their desires and pursue them desperately.

I am sorry to have painted a false picture of myself as not being desperate like the others. I am totally wrong if I gave you such impression. I am as desperate as a thirsty traveler who can drink any water available. My pain is even made worse that I have never been abroad in my entire life. Not even to Cameroun. Although, I have not really made concerted efforts to travel out of the country in order to fulfill my desire. However, I have been dying inside with every passing day. My desire to go abroad is almost a day-dream. In fact, I blame my father daily for not living abroad. His response has been that had his great-grandfather gone abroad as a slave, we would all be Afro- something today, whether Americans or Britons.

I am writing this article, therefore, with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart. Still looking for the strength to travel to my village and quickly exhume one of my grandfathers, probably the oldest one I can remember, to ask him why he absconded that slave ship. Seriously, if I do not get a favourable answer from him, his memory will regret ever been a father in my lineage. Somebody, please help me ask the spirits of my ancestors, why in God’s name did they miss that slave ship?

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