Yesterday evening – it could be months from the day you read this, I went out to get some items after a light shower with my second generation cousin, a girl of seven years – you see how English is causing trouble. In Nigeria, she’s my small sister or my sister’s daughter but in typical English, she’s a second generation cousin – beke bu agbara!
When we got to the store, she climbed the woman’s table which was cleared of goods since it was already past dusk. While we waited for the seller who was attending to another customer, my little cousin popped some questions that got me thinking. I have decided to write about our dialogue to celebrate her wisdom. Read on.
This was the Dialogue:
Cousin: Why are they selling everything costly?
Me: They have to make money or they won’t be able to buy more things to sell.
Cousin: I don’t like it, if it’s me I will sell everything they’re selling 100 naira for 5 naira and give away the lesser ones for free.
Me: If you give away your things like that you won’t have money and you will starve.
Cousin: No, I won’t starve, all the people I give things will be happy and give me money.
Me: (Thinks to myself) I wish life was that easy, (deep sigh).
She: Why are things costly in Nigeria? Is it because of Buhari?
Me: (Gives a wicked laugh and thought to myslf) Who told this one all these things?
Cousin: If I am a president, I won’t let people suffer. I will reduce the price of things so that everyone can be happy.
I posted those on my whatsapp timeline and one of my friends had this to say:
What childlike innocence, please tell her not to grow up too fast, adult life is something else, (mock tears.)
This got me to the verge of tears. You see how innocent her heart is and the wisdom God has poured into her? And I ask myself, what’s the hope for the children of this nation like this little girl? She doesn’t have any idea how bad the system is, how some children go hungry every night, how some of her mates in the north are facing terrors of death every day, how a boy couldn’t chase his dreams because he has epilepsy. But she knows there is a problem and there is someone who has the capacity to solve that problem. That someone is everyone of us.
I say this, we were not born with corruption infused in our bloodline, we got it from somewhere – the system. This system of carnivorous wildness in broad light, of monkey dey work, of mugu fall…, of share the loot and let the poor suffer, it’s this system that corrupts us. It started somewhere, it definitely started somewhere.
She has repeatedly said the same thing in many childlike words, I see her empathy and I fear, I fear because she’s in the system and this system only corrupts. I fear that she will loose her empathy when she begins to understand how things playout here. I also fear because many are truly loosing their empathy because of the harshness of the system, like they say – if you can’t beat them, you join them.
Share your thoughts with me. If you were a president, what will you do?