This piece was written in solidarity with the hundreds of University of Ibadan students who stood to fight against the oppression of the University Management. In their numbers, they stood behind one of their own who was unjustly rusticated for participating in a non-violent protest for better welfare of students. The University of Ibadan was shut down by the school management but these students who are resolved to get justice will not take NO for an answer. The gate to the ivory towel might have been locked but these young, brave men and women have learnt the strength in togetherness. They have left a piece of education for generation yet unborn. I write this as a proud alumnus.
This is the same set of people who agitated for full chicken and my generation sought to immortalize. My generation called them heroes and made a statue in their honour. My generation made them the symbol of unionism, those who asked for more food but unlike Oliver Twist, my generation worshipped them.
These greedy people who fought the Whites and told us they were thieves. We know the real thieves now. We know the thieves are those who ruined our agriculture and took the produce of the oil to feed their fat bellies. They told us the whites are deceivers. Now, we know better. How did naira become this worthless? Burying its face in the comity of monies. They told us stories of how N5,000 could build a house and much less could make you rich but they never talked about how they managed to bring us here. It happened because they took over and were busy piling into their barns while our worth dwindled away.
They told us the whites are hypocrites but they fought with their fangs and their claws to become friends with those they called hypocrites. They loot our wealth and send overseas to keep with the whites. Did they not call them, thieves, deceivers and hypocrites? George Orwell covered their black asses and used animals instead of them.
My generation never asked for chicken. No, we never asked for food. We asked for water, we asked for power. We asked for conducive environment to think for our nation. My generation took cues from these people and had better reasons. These people looked at my generation and called us ingrates. They looked at my generation and called us names. They didn’t stop at that, they put us in chains and aimed for our future. They put up systems just to oppress us.
My generation demands accountability, we demand transparency, we demand representation, we demand equality, we demand freedom, we demand justice, we demand reward for service.
Their generation had water, more power! God, they enjoyed the facility when it was new. They read the new books. They had quality and they were pampered. Somebody washed theirf clothes, laid their bed. Porters carried their bags to their rooms. They were treated with dignity, with respect.
They think we are fools. They call us lazy and spoilt. They forget that they raised us. They were busy stealing and crumbling the nation. Yet, they blame us for their failures but we are not failures. These people failed us but will never take responsibility. Such cowards! They fought to gain power, and continue to fight to die in power. They make laws to keep my generation away. They say we are young and stupid and should not be trusted but they were also young but selfish, greedy and self serving.
These people drank milk everyday and bought CocaCola for kobos. They traveled in trains and did not forget to destroy it when they got new toys. They ate their cake, our cake, up to the next stars’ unmade. They only managed to keep their wards, children and cretins away from the mess. They send them faraway to take out of the cake others made for their children. The foreigners that they called thieves.
My generation never had water, no power. We met the rotten facilities they left for us. The books are old and outdated. They never planned for us. They ate it all! The porters that carried their bags, we dare not look them in the eyes. These people use them to oppress us in our rooms and our faculties. They aimed for our dignity and never reciprocate our respect.
Ask Kenneth Dike what is left of his memorial fountain of wisdom in faraway land of University of Ibadan. Rusted, torn, dusty and old! The school that produced Achebe, Soyinka, Onasode, has been left to rot. They left us crumbs and would not let us nimble in peace. The least they could do was bury their head in shame and allow my generation right their wrongs.
I do not blame these people. No, I do not hold anything against them. I blame us- my generation. I blame us for being naive. I blame us for being too trusting. I blame us for looking up to them and worshiping at their feet. I blame us for seeing them as gods, all knowing, never do Wrongs. I blame myself, I blame you because we are all guilty.
But I see…
that my generation will stand now that our eyes are open. We will stand against their tyranny and defy their threats. We will fight for justice and never relent. We have said NO to their oppression in my citadel. We will do it again in yours until we reclaim what is ours and build a place for our children. We will never tell the stories they told but we will tell our story; how we built the walls they crumbled.
My generation is strong. In the midst of the lack and the want, we strive. My generation is brave. We never gave excuse we fought on to be better, to rebuild a broken nation. Some of us fell, some of us got discouraged, some of us were bought but a lot of us still stand. Sweating until every drop of our sweats calm the land. We are fearless and unlike these people, we think about our future- the stars yet unmade.