By Ify Chiemeziem…
As a little girl in Sokoto State, my father enrolled me in a government primary school taken over from the Catholic Church. I passed through the school not minding that the furniture were once stolen by the workers and we had to sit on the floor at some period; miscreants defecated in the school during holiday periods and the first batch of children that resumed were made to clean the place. Only God saved us from diseases.
My parents didn’t pay a dime. It was free education offered by Sokoto State government to every child living in the state.
After primary school, my father registered me in a state government secondary school. I was given free books every term and new uniforms thrice. I ate rice and beans with oil, pepper and salt (me-mai we call it) Mondays and Thursdays, then pap (koko) with akara (beancake) every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The state government paid for my WAEC.
My father didn’t pay a dime.
Few years later, I went back to my primary school and helped raise fund to buy new furniture, build a fence around the school to protect it from vandals and paint the school. I had to trek from shop to shop to talk to Igbo traders who were graduates of the school to ask them for money and they gave.
I was in Abuja when a message was sent that I should come back to Sokoto to receive an award from the school. I didn’t make it, but my younger brother represented me and received the certificate from the Sultan who came for the occasion. It was a big event. They recognised me for my contribution to the development of education in the state.
I gave back to the town that gave to me.
On my way to school as a child and as a girl, I often passed Sarkin Bendel’s palace, Eze Igbo palace. We attended cultural events in this palaces and we knew the traditional heads of these communities. The Sultan and governors consult them on matters concerning their tribes.
The old Sarkin Bendel’s Palace is iconic in my memories of Sokoto town.
Now I hear that a thing as common as Eze Igbo palace in Ondo State is causing wahala.
The problem is not Eze Igbo in Ondo State or the palace but the route which Nigerians are treading in the last decade. The road filled with hate and suspicion of one another. Every day, we painstakingly dig out one reason why we should fight and hate each other.
When is it going to end?
Read also: The coming of Internally Displaced Politicians (IDPs)
We should know one thing, if we cannot live together as a country, what the hell do we expect from the future?
Do we have a future together?
Today, a Yoruba man will become a president, he will remove all other tribes working in key sectors and put his brothers. Tomorrow an Hausa man will climb, he will kick out others and put his brothers. Next, an Igbo man will be in Aso rock and he will definitely prune the employment tree to make way for his people. And we still foolishly believe that this country will develop like this.
When is it going to end?
Those who wish to live alone, will get their wish one day.
We should be very careful.
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