I have now lost hope.
I have always had a dream since I was a child, it’s my dream of hope for a country somewhere in West Africa.
I pulled a chair from beneath the desk, sat down and began to narrate my story.
In 2000 or 2001, I wrote a story about a country somewhere in the depths of West Africa, and how she could become better and more developed like a first world country I would always say. Using Singapore as a case study and how they moved from under development to massive development in less than 50 years, I would rant about how I could singlehandedly cause a stirring and replicate everything they did and much more.
It was not so welcomed by the citizens but was seen as the thoughts of a small boy who knew little or nothing about that country and the internal battle holding her growth and development.
Many years after that, I still held that image of the country in my head. It was supposed to become real to me, I needed it to become real.
A lot of people saw things from an optimistic point of view, while others thought I was unable to differentiate between fantasy and realistic optimism and how it was insane to close my eyes to reality.
Most of them, including friends and family, said to me “I think you have been influenced by a lot of movies and now you cannot relate to the real world anymore.” Unknown to them, it was a default wiring I have had from the onset and I wasn’t just trying to be optimistic, I was optimistic by nature.
My band members connived to get me a psychiatric once, saying I had gone mad and had lost touch with reality and that I even talked in my sleep. When I confronted the mastermind behind the incident, he said: “I myself, I’m not comfortable with the state of things but I won’t go about trying to do something that nothing could be done about.”
You haven’t met me before, maybe you never will. But I’m just a guy who happens to see the world quite differently from everyone else and most of the time, my perspective to life is mistaken for pride or over-lotted optimism.
“Be realistic” they say, as if a smooth sailing life, a balanced economy and a peaceful nation with well-structured sectors doesn’t and shouldn’t qualify for realism.
We live in a world with humans, and obviously, I expect a lot but maybe my standards are too high, or maybe I have developed faster, or maybe my expectations are unrealistic even. But please, just hear me out and judge me after you have heard my own side of the story.
I don’t know why I feel so passionate about this. Maybe I feel it’s an aberration from the original intention and someone has got to fix this.
Every morning before I left for school, my mom would always look at her two sons and say “You are the leader of tomorrow.” I for one would happily run off to school, anticipating a future that is mine. “All you have to do is study hard, get good grades and grow up” she would say, and I would run off like I owned tomorrow because I was brought up to believe that I could do something about anything that wasn’t right.
15 to 20 years later, I have arrived in the future and there is no place for me in the future because the future has been hijacked by the ones we call the leaders of yesterday. I always have answers for those who ask the same thing, and she happened to share the same opinions with me. Jane, I mean, my childhood friend, and her question was “where is the hope and promise of a future?
My response: There is none. Everything we have anticipated for years was just a mirage, we’ve just been chasing shadows.
I woke up one morning sometime in 2010 or 2011 and realized I had lost all hope in the future I believed in, circumstances had choked out the very least of my optimism and I was done believing in a better future, at least not in this life. For if all we have in this life is hope, we are most miserable of all men.
The best way to change the world is to do something about it and get the next person to do something about it too, only then would everyone buy into the same mindset.
Like Martin Luther King Jr, I once had a dream that one day, the country Nigeria will matter on the international scene and not be known for just social vices and corruption but an impregnable economy, a fortified educational system, numerous job creation and an absence of poverty from her streets. Now all of this may as well just die a dream.
I really want to do something about it, I really should do something about it, but the effect will be insignificant in a place where laws are put in place to side-line the opinions and voices of the majority and except more people arise, we would have to settle for less.
For when I was optimistic, I was called crazy. Now I have accepted reality like they kept suggesting, they say I shouldn’t run off to somewhere else. For 57 years, we have done nothing to secure the future, absolutely nothing I say. It’s not 57 days but 57 years, that’s a whole lot of time to at least setup string foundations, and we sure haven’t done that.
I love to dream, and I won’t stop dreaming, but I definitely don’t want to be known just as the boy who had a dream.
I am still alive, but my hope is lost and the Nigerian future which I once believed in may as well be dead to me too.
Though I may have lost hope sometime yesterday, I came across a young boy who still had so much hope and faith in the possibility of a better future. My lost hope and his bubbling faith, whose convictions would be attended to by the growing hands of time? We would only watch and see.