I explained that my income has been precarious and I have to support my disabled mother, who really can’t be left alone, particularly since she ended up in the hospital at the beginning of this year.The odds seem to be stacked against me ever seeing my father.
Other will be continuing the debate which has raged long before Nigeria gained independence: Is Nigeria a real state or just a geographical expression created by colonialists? But the country has shaped me because that’s where my father lives and where I long to visit and see him. He is loved by his neighbours, who respect him as an elder and call upon him for advice and to mediate disputes.
Others will be asking a recent but related question; is Nigeria a failed state? These people took him to the hospital when he had a stroke two years ago, paid his medical bills, and called upon a traditional Ijaw healer to speed up his recovery. Nigeria is its people, who are diverse and divided.
But my knowledge of my Father’s German proficiency would have an unexpected effect on the trajectory of my own life.
In my Grade 10 year, during which I spent mornings attending classes at the now demolished Laurentian High School and afternoons getting visiting teachers because I couldn’t cope with a full day of school because of my overwhelming social anxiety, I decided to do something different, something to engage me intellectually and quench my at that point insatiable thirst for knowledge.
My father is very happy that Goodluck Jonathan, an Ijaw, is now Nigeria’s President.
It’s kind of like the equivalent of Barack Obama for the Ijaws.
And I believe, although I am only an outsider, that Nigerians can make the most of the bad situation that is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, despite how badly things have fallen apart.
Further Reading: My father calls me on a weekly basis.
But more than anything, he wants to see me come to Lagos.
He was deported when I was just a baby and has only seen me in pictures since. Often, we end our phone calls with German Farewells.
I would feel much safer travelling to other African countries. I dream of going to Lagos, seeing my father for the first, and probably last time, and hanging out with musicians, painters, playwrights, poets and novelists while visiting NGOs working on human rights, ecological rehabilitation, and literacy.