No Good Old Days…

We are the generation with no “good old days.” And that’s a good thing. First, some disambiguation. When I say we, I mean young Nigerians. Those who grew up in the shadow of military coups, and disrupted school sessions. I mean those Nigerians who never experienced 24hrs of electricity or running water. Those who understand what it means to spend days on a queue for petrol even while the country posts record crude exports. Now that we know who we are, then we understand when I say there are no good old days… You see nostalgia is a strange thing. Regardless of how vivid a memory may be, in the end it’s just the version you saved. Some details will be accentuated, some obscured, much like photoshopped images. They are not false, but they are no longer raw. They are how you want to see them now. Over a couple of days I was reminiscing, and I think my childhood was happy, at least the part that had to do with me directly. I remember our fake spaceship that my brother and I flew round the galaxy taking potshots at passersby who were aliens to exterminate. I remember birthday parties and dancing to Adewale Ayuba. Crushes and heartbreaks; drawing lines down the middle of shared desks with stern warnings to the girl the teacher moved next to you not to dare cross. But I also remember the fear that was palpable in the streets at the height of the military rule, whispers of people disappearing because they said the wrong thing in the bus. I remember the TELL Magazine conspiracies, the failed coup attempts, the talks of breaking up. I remember my dad starting to jog in the mornings, to get his fitness back in case conscriptions start happening. I remember the shock and elation the first time by brother and I saw water flowing in the taps, filling the bathtub and splashing around. I remember a 3 week blackout and reading under the moonlight cos it was too warm inside and I really wanted to finish that story. We are here now, and what a mixed bag it is. Progress on some indices, major decline on some others. I remind myself there is so much more to do, so much more to change, so much more to accomplish. I think it’s imperative that we make sure that every tomorrow is better than yesterday because of what we did today. It’s our country to build or destroy. To develop or plunder. The outcomes are in the choices we will make everyday. When someday we are thrust into the limelight and power changes hands, I hope we do a better job than those who handed down this mess to us. And that will only happen if we start doing a better job today, at whatever it is that we do now. So don’t wait around, be the change you want to see.

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