Confessions of a Nigerian in Diaspora

Today, as I look around my apartment,  at the TV stand now bare; at the bedside table now lamp-less; at the counter-tops now gleaming; and at the pillar around which my four shipping boxes are gathered; I find myself excited.

The vestiges of my former home fill me with an inexplicable thrill. Their emptiness calls out to me, to remind me of where I am going… “To your true home” they say – where your people are; where your contributions are needed; where your dreams may come true…

Again today, as I look around my apartment, at the sockets in the wall, at the faucets on the sinks, and the wireless router still plugged in, I am sad. Because there are some things I cannot bring with me. I cannot bring the taps that never run dry, the power that never cuts off, nor the internet that keeps me speedily connected.

The vestiges of my former home fill me with worry. Their ampleness calls out to me, asking how I will survive… “It’ll be tough without us” they say – Don’t you remember? Those days spent in darkness? Those hours spent listless? You can’t have forgotten…

Still today, as I look around my apartment, I cannot help but think: “What if?” What if every Nigerian could live as I have lived for the past few years. What if they had power 24/7, endless water supply, and blazing fast internet? What if every Nigerian could afford a place like mine: situated in a good neighbourhood, close to a hospital, a grocery store, and a university? What if…

So today, as I look around my apartment, I am ashamed. I am ashamed because when I had these things, I did not think of my people. They were not the first thing on my mind. I had other priorities, and other matters to attend to. More important than… yes, more important than my people.

But this is not the first time I have written about Nigeria. As a Nigerian in diaspora, I have tried many times to “represent.” I have carried myself in a manner befitting of my countrymen, I have worn our attire proudly and boldly. I have joyfully celebrated our triumphs, and mourned our failures.

Yet I am guilty.

I am guilty of doing nothing for my people: Of enjoying these luxuries while my people suffered. I am guilty of escapism…

Therefore as I kneel at the guillotine, my head prepared for slaughter, I cry out to my countrymen at home, “What else could I have done!?” – and to my countrymen away from home I say… “What else could you be doing?”

What else could you be doing?




3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Nigerian in Diaspora

  1. Pingback: Greetings from Nigeria! | The Red String

  2. where your contributions are needed; where your dreams may come true…

    Emphasis on the three letter word . .’may’. My prayer: May dreams never die. ..
    My mind goes back to a Harold Robbins novel with a similar sounding title. . .hmmmmm , can’t remember clearly.

  3. Pingback: What I Learnt From My First Year in Business Development – The Red String

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