I don’t know how to express the way I feel this Monday. I messed up a radio interview program with an NYSC official, Mr. Paul, the head of human resource and the whole day became messed up for me. I blame myself but also oga Mark for this failure: he distracted me by prompting questions that did not flow naturally. I wonder why he gives somebody a job and will not let the person do the job. But today didn’t end too badly as I did a discussion program at night, it was quite therapeutic. It seems I am made for the Radio. I enjoy myself very much on air. What do I not enjoy?
I had started reading ‘Arrow of God’ by Chinua Achebe; a book I borrowed from Oga Chris at Sunrise media where I work in Makurdi. I decided to go back to the books after the intelligence quota test oga Christ had helped me conduct. I discovered that I have greatly depreciated. Reading this book has revealed more shortcomings in me; that feeling of incompleteness. I will draw up a reading plan, and read at least one book a month. I find Achebe’s story writing style extraordinarily beautiful. I am deeply convinced that I am nothing close to being as good a writer as he is, his command of language and use of suspense is unmatchable.
In this book, Ezeulu who is the chief protagonist finds himself trapped in a society where things are not as it ought to be. The dilemma is that the people thought he was the mad one.
I am just playing Ezeulu in my thought, I marvel at the level at which my generation has changed; young graduates do not know how to spell simple words and they behave like people who have never broken a chalk. Well, I still believe that it is not a matter of how far one goes but how well. Although some graduates are different: impressive in their use of diction and rich vocabulary. Joy readily comes to mind when I think about this. I thought she was a foreign trained graduate until I asked her and she said she graduated from the university of Ibadan. All that Joy talked about when we met at the last orientation camp was novels after novels. To impress her I just nodded like I was following until I couldn’t keep up. I had to lie that I was running an errand for my platoon officer and I quickly disappeared.
When you analyze the current national paradigm, you will realize that in Nigeria readers are not leaders. You can readily hear amongst contemporary youths the resounding mockery of academics and all it stands for. Phrases like ‘school na scam’, ‘Na who book help’ have become common clichés amongst young Nigerians. The reasons for this wide spread contempt and apathy for education is not farfetched: it is encapsulated in the Igbo saying that “when a man acts like a rat, the cats will play with his ears”. Our Nigerian government and educationist have bastardized the system. It is no longer lucrative. But don’t be deceived: it still pays to read because it sharpens the mind and makes one a better individual.
It is five days for me to leave this camp. I want to leave yet I want to stay back here for the psychological protection it provides. But this Wednesday, I have made a decision to face my fears. After all, one does not defeat an enemy by hiding in his shell.
The visit of one big man from the NYSC area headquarters made me more resolute on this decision. The whole camp community lined up awaiting his arrival. I thought we were expecting the arrival of the president of a country. I wished in my heart that someday people will give me this kind of reception accorded to this big man.
I did my first voice advert today in the studio, I didn’t get paid much but the compliment I got from the client was much more than a million dollar. He ‘said oh boy you sabi this work well oh, in fact come my shop come take drink’. I went and I came back having severe headache, it seems like the drinks have activated the malaria inside me. Kai! This life no balance at all, person cannot enjoy one day in peace.
This Friday, I heard Francis talk about the spirit of a dead relative coming to speak with him and deliver messages to him. In as much as it seems ridiculous, I believed him, I know the spirit of our loved ones do come to us. I had a friend, Harold Ajie, who was very close to me. May his beautiful soul rest in peace. I see him in my dreams sometimes and each time I see him, he seems quite happy but wouldn’t talk to me. Hearing Francis today I envied him, I would love to believe that my dreams were also an apparition; I will love to hear Harold give me messages.
In the studio this evening, I did a love call-in programme, inspired by a telephone conversation Eunice was having with her husband for hours that she completely forgot that I was sitting next to her. Eunice and I clicked the first day we met. She is very funny, eccentric and very flirty too. I didn’t know she was married with kids. I asked listeners to call in and talk about a special person that they love and would want to see at the moment having stayed for so long in camp. And to my surprise, only my boss and Frances called in. I was very glad for their support. I would have loved to see my office crush back at Makurdi. I would have loved to see her smile again and call me ‘My dear’.