The Travails Of An Average Nigerian Youth

It looks like the life of a mad people but in fact, it is the life of the average Nigerian youth immersed in the Nigerian cistern:

He is thinking about the future. He is not thinking about the future. He is drinking to wipe out some ugly memories. He is thinking ugly memories. He is in his worship place praying his maker help him with work. He idly sits in front of the veranda watching passersby and his dreams pass by moulded into nightmares. His thoughts wander between the corridors of sanity and happiness, two diets that have become his favorite. He is a man in certain periods, ruminating adult ideas and arranging the future and on other periods, he is a boy relegating grown up thoughts to the trash can.

He is nice in the morning, greeting the elders and bowing, showing both real and forced respect, and in the evening, he is cursing the elders who allowed him walk when his stomach burned with hunger. He gave up on cigarettes and lite up marijuana, then he gave up on marijuana and lite up a cigarette, but he was not high enough. Then he dropped the ugly packs of cigarette and bought a trailer load of codeine to get up there where personal miracles happen. He still didn’t get there.

She is wonderfully made and her contours were thoughtfully curvated but her lifestyle has got knocked knees. She wants education but the system said marriage is the most important in the search for joy, so her search for joy in one part opens up wounds in the other parts. She is also thinking about the future and at the same time she is not thinking about the future. She needs to be an independent entity to avoid the disdain that comes from being a liability but why make life harder if marriage will clear the stripes of pain and hunger?

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If she is pretty she gets whistled at by potential scavengers of her vineyard. If she is beautifully made she gets lunatics and gentle people trying to ride her bumpers and if she is just there, she worries nobody ever whistles or thinks of riding with her. Life is hard, she sees, so she engages in some physiology with her anatomy to help the outlook of her economy. She hustles hard in fields society allocated to the other gender but one crook stands by hoping to sweep her and her gains off. Time is ticking and no matter the success, being an evening newspaper isn’t worth a good life, says society, so she keeps falling for marriage proposers and vineyard harvesters.

These are opposites and they attract here. This is what you get when you peep into the journey of the typical average Nigerian youth. Male or Female, the story is bevelled at the right places. The dudes could lack in one place and glory in the other places while the babes live in the gory of the place the dudes excel in and glory where they lack. Nobody is really having it better than the other. The result is a life poorly thought out, poorly lived and poorly enjoyed. But that is not all the pits the average Nigerian youth willfully and forceful falls into.

He is also a novice in the field of politics. He transmutes wishes to horses and hopes that hoping alone will make the aged people in the field of politics have a change of heart. He puts on his cable TV and the first story that popped is today’s news but he switched to the music channel, lamenting and cursing the news channel that dared to offer him such unnecessary distraction from things that matter.

He turns the turner on the radio at the hour mark and the news is on, he keeps turning but unfortunately all he got from all the stations was news or some talk on uplifting society, so he switches off the radio for use when other programs that are uplifting comes up. He is a political novice and is proud of shouting to the high heavens his disgust with the news. On another hand, he may have the thoughtless ambition of governing a state some day or been part of the change makers in the polity. He often ends up as a political thug.

She is not entirely different from him. Her depth in politics has the same height and width with the depth of an infant on life. She doesn’t even have the radio or tries to tune anything unlike her male counterpart. She sees sophistication as ignoring those things that matter. Politics is for men, just like sports, and doing that will make her a tomboy. If she thanks you when you tell her the past president of the United States was called Obama Care that is the average Nigerian Youth, female version. You can convince her that South Africa is in Europe. The male version is unique in his own way but they are equal. She excels where he lacks and she lacks where he excels in. It seems she lacks more here but look again, his male counterpart is the thug that helps rig the election.

Sadly, that’s not all. The average Nigerian youth reads a history that begins in 1960. Prior to that or the coming of the colonialists, existed no history. The male version is more rugged and pronounced in their ignorance. I heard one on Radio last Friday and his submission was that if we had allowed the thieves who colonised Nigeria to continue, if they had stayed longer, we wouldn’t be in this mess. He didn’t know we are in this mess because thieves like Lugard erected solid foundations to keep us this way. They knew we wouldn’t exist peacefully together because we are vastly heterogeneous in cultures and ideologies but still did it for their selfish gains. As long as we are in chaos they will always be useful.

The USA is using this method in the Middle East as we speak. This average Nigerian youth spoke with the brash authority ignorance and unholy anger inflict on their victims. The average Nigerian youth is ahistorical. He doesn’t know where his people are coming from and he has considered it rude to end a statement without blaming his inferior skin colour. Ask him if he feels inferior and he will reply no. Who then is inferior if it is a black skin problem? He does not ask: what were the people in geographical region called Nigeria today doing before the colonists came? What did skin colour change: the workings of the brain or the sense of morality? And most importantly, whose story are you reading? Whose story’s story are you reading?

She is slightly different here. She is willing to listen to history she hasn’t heard and the ego thing doesn’t get in her way of hearing new ideas and theories. While he utters rubbish with confidence, she quietly listens to the story and says nothing or little. Both of them don’t know much about the story of us so they hold poor scripts and read it to the next generation. Scripts like ‘this great country of ours’, ‘the giant of Africa’ and the calling of tribalists nationalists and national heroes. He knows little or nothing and she knows little or nothing, just that he acts like he knows more than the little or nothing he knows while she acts her level. It is better to stay quiet than teach the younger people how to make poisoned diet. The female that was brought up to argue or have an opinion is bad but it behoves on males to voice even stupid opinions. Another pit.

The travails of the average Nigerian youth is filled with gory stories. Where the system fails to subdue a person, the youth helps out and subdues himself. So, he fights and survives the system by corrupting his own system. He is smoking at noon and eating bread at the same time because he is trying to kill every form of hunger in him. By the way, this happened.

She also sells at Allen at night to get bread for tomorrow. She fights and survives the system by plugging rotten pipes into her cistern. In most cases, these are the fruits of frustration, poor moral orientation, values and confusion. Money is lacking and the society told the dude he needs money to get respect and he is not shown any. He piques interest in the yahoo trade and in two weeks every other disrespected hustler wants to be like him.

There are self-inflicted and society-inflicted scars on the body and minds of the average Nigerian youth. You must marry at a certain age even though at that age the girl hasn’t found the person she loves. You must not exceed 30 before you marry unless you want to be an evening newspaper.

Get this: To control as much as you can you must develop a thick skin. To survive some of these travails typical of the average Nigerian youth you must dare to be different, question everything, acquire information, dare to reason things out, dare to listen to things that, irrespective of your opinion or stand on them, affect you. Why must the maximum be 30 for the ladies else they become outdated? Why must money be attached to respect and being a fine man equates being a rich man?

Why should poorly thought ideals be the yardstick for measuring your worth? Why do you agree that Nigeria was once great even though every coup happened because the system was bad? How is marriage an achievement? Why should being broke be the root of all evil as we’ve seen? Why are you smoking your lungs away trying to keep yourself healthy? Why sell your bodies and souls in the night market because you want to keep body and soul at peace? Why? Why? Question everything, try to control what you can and develop one thick skin to bullshit.

About Poet 112 Articles
I am Rey Alaetuo, a conscious Poet and health care professional living in Lagos, Nigeria. I've written three collection of Poems, I am an exponent of humanism and a vigilant Poet. I am deeply interested in the propagation of positive human values and behaviour.