On a faithful morning, I listened to wish me well by Timi Dakolo on my grandfather radio (The one he gave me as a birthday gift). I immediately connect with the music as it was a replica of what was going on in my head.
I have to leave this village by moving to the city, I need to do good things for myself, and my families and I have to use Benz like Baba Tawa who I heard he lives in Lagos.
Baba Tawa is the son of my grandfather’s niece, he comes home only when we are celebrating egungun (Masquerade) festival or when we are doing Christmas or sometimes when we celebrate the popular Muslim ‘Eid’ festival.
Whenever he comes around, he will tell us what life is like in Lagos and also brings shining bottles of coke that always got me curious. To me, Lagos is a dream place to be.
Just as I am thinking out loud, we also have some other youths who are planning to leave the village as well. We meet once in a week to discuss our upcoming traveling and eventually, after a week of deliberation, we made up our minds and left for Lagos. Some went early, and some left late (Like me) because we have to pick and sell cashew nuts to fund our traveling fares.
Eventually, I got to the city of my dream (Lagos). It looked troubled and challenging from what I am used to, I have to either swim faster or sink – just as my brother in Lagos said.
Few months after I left the village, Nigeria started having scarcity of tomatoes and it became hard to get few to cook with. I was thinking very fast and was wondering – is it not the same tomatoes that we cultivate for a living when we are at the village? The same tomatoes that is one of the laziest work we ever indulge in, oh no – we are all messed up (So I think).
With the constant migration of youths like me from the village to the city almost every day. With the constant running away from responsibilities of our great grandfather (Farming) and with the rise of rural to urban migration with 55% of Nigerians believed to be urbanized. Who do we think will feed us in the city that we are moving to, do we expect the old to feed us or how do we think about food security when all we are ready to do is shying away from the most lucrative business in the world?
After a while that I have been gutted by the stress in my city, I later made a headway and got a job. I was taught how to be responsible and how to give back to my communities.
Then, I realised how important it is to care for the few people who are left in rural villages. The whole idea got me thinking – if we that live in the city do not take care of the amenities of those that stay in rural villages (marginalised communities) by being a voice for them, how would we expect them to take care of our need for food ?
Just as my last article here reference – someone really have to do the dirty job, not that the job is a bad one as people perceived it, someone would have to do it to make the world go round.
At CODE, while many are busy under AC or their comfort zone, we are committed to doing the dirty job of caring for those in the village and creeks (the marginalised communities) and we have made it our mission to empower those in the marginalised community – if we do not take care of them, their health, their education, and their environment, do we expect them to take care of our food security?
When Dotun (Co-founder of CODE) should be celebrating his birthday with his loved ones, he was at the just concluded DW event in Bonn, Germany. When Hamzy (CEO of CODE) should be sleeping with his wife and taking care of the house with her, he is on the road somewhere in Kenya.
At the time Aminat should be cuddling on her bed in one big estate in Abuja, she was on the field sleeping in a slum for community outreach. when Rita should be sleeping in her husband’s’ arms, she was sleeping in the arms of a chair.
When Roy should have been preparing for his wedding, he is in a no – mobile network zone far northern Nigeria.
At the time when Steffia should be resting on her chair attending to only her work, she was busying wearing many crowns of different roles and when I should just be on my data thing, I was busy running my fingers on the keyboard and mouse.
Humanitarian work is one of those jobs that requires people to leave their comfort zone for uncomfort zone, a job that requires us to take care of those that will take care of us all as a whole – yet, with all the pains and the stress, we choose to be someone different, we choose to impact lives and we choose to inconvenient ourselves to make the world a better day.
At CODE, until we achieve our mission of empowering the marginalised communities – we would not back down. Until the federal government of Nigeria becomes responsible and choose to be transparent to its citizen, we would not stop bearing the name activist.
We are dedicated to being the voice of the people, we are dedicated to watching the government with keen interest and we are dedicated to doing the dirty job.
Image Credit: Alex Jones