TRIP TO EUROPE
It wasn’t as sweet as the pulpy orange in his hand, his desire was like chaff in his eyes as it was said to fade away few hours ago. Now he is on his way back after some disappointment.
‘what would have caused it if not the fear of this corrupt land?’ Josh yanked.
The road was against him in thought, he thought of it to have negotiated with the embassy against him and had some hold-ups on his way to the embassy.
Josh and his father had woken up so early, so early at the dawn of the morning; when the moon had not gone to sleep, when the vigilante lamp is still glowing, when the cock crow its first. So early to beat the crowd, before then they were been beaten by much crowd that filled the United Kingdom embassy. The crowd caused them to go early this day to beat those asleep wishing to get visa but still they met some road jam. This year had been unbearable as many wants to fly abroad; the harsh economy of the country had put many heads to ground.
Josh was to embark to the United Kingdom, to Oxford where he wants to further his dream as a writer. He once had plans to enroll for one of the school in the country but they were on strike, Asuu strike which was nationwide affected all public universities except some that pulled out, the strike had caused many to forget about schooling and go in search for work, some were learning skills, trade while some wasted time waiting for it to be called off. Some students have spent seven years for a four-year course because of strike, that alone had been a major reason why he declined schooling in the country and decide to set for Oxford. But the high commissioner at the embassy had rejected him, he thought of why but couldn’t figure it out, his father had consoled him that the country, the spoilt land has corrupted even the good heads. His father knew that the mass killings occurring in the country is nothing to write of and had been a major problem in the country. From the Boko Haram killings in the North to the herdsmen killing in different parts of the country, his father concludes it to be brutal and the government needs to make hay now it’s day. The land is in mess and her citizens are rejected even by the head of Commonwealth; their ex-colonial masters, the people who cherished Nigeria more than any west African colony but now things has changed, Nigeria is no more trusted; unlike before where free pass is given to Nigeria and other west African countries now visa is being issued to go to England.
Perhaps the United States would have been more better; Uc Berkeley or one in California, Virginia or Massachusetts rather than Oxford. He knew that the State’s embassy wouldn’t have rejected him, his mother had suggested that he apply for one in the country perhaps Uniport as her choice of institution for him. He knew that since his trip to Europe had been shattered he will be forced to go to one in the country.
As they drove home in the late noon, worried. Josh saw every scene as working against him and his trip, he wished to be in the flight to London but he was in his father’s car heading back to his house, the same house he had waved goodbye till further notice, the same house is about to welcome him surprisingly, he had told his friends that he will be leaving for London but now he has to plan another story to tell, he knew this one isn’t super story as it isn’t going for good.
The night wasn’t dreaming for Josh, he couldn’t imagine himself still in the country, the same land he said to be rustic
‘what am I here for?’ he thought as he seemed to cry. All alone he sat on his wide bed but it was of no comfort to him.
‘how long will I be in this rustic land that pays not?’ he soliloquy, ‘l would have been in London or about to.’ he cried as he stared at his room in tranquil state, it was late but not mid, his parents were discussing about his misfortune.
“Josh will still study abroad.” His father said, that word encouraged him to excitement as he eavesdropped.
“But honey, how long will he keep trying, it is but the second year…” His mother alarmed, “enroll him in one of the country’s university.”
“No!” His father exclaimed, “this country has no certificate.”
“Graduates are everywhere, if their certificate is strong it would have provided jobs for those graduates.”
“It’s the government not the certificate.”
“Oh Rose, what do you know of school?” I have Bsc in Economics, HND in finance and banking… Was it not till I bribed the manager of Zenith PLC before I was given the job that would have fade out of my sight.”
“That was then, now if you are qualified you will be given an opportunity.” His mother stressed.
“Your brother Chima who graduated with second class in Mass communication, what has he gotten? Is he not still looking for a job, why is he not given one?”
“He applied for a presenter in Ray FM…”
“Okay oh!” He cut in.
“But Nigerian schools are good.” His mother said. Josh spanked his table when he heard her. Nigeria schools that are not among the top one thousand in the world, Uniben was the first in the country followed by Covenant university, he checked for Uniport which is not among the top ten.
‘how can I go for it and leave one of the world best universities- Oxford.’ he thought.
“How is it good?” His father asked, “see, don’t talk what you don’t know. School of nursing is not university that you can tell much.”
“But it has helped me to open a pharmacy.” His mother said as she served the table. It was dinner time, Josh was in his room, eavesdropping. Sometimes he passed listening to their discussion as he pretends to collect some thing.
“That’s for you, for me we will go some other time.”
His mother paused, “if you succeed how about his welfare? Accommodation, feeding. Mrs. Constantine though in States told me that their accommodation is expensive…”
“That I will consider when the need arises.”
“How of this negro and racist chart?” His mother asked.
“What’s of that? This is the twenty-first century not the nineteens.”
“That’s for you, my boy won’t suffer racist and tribal indignation in London.”
“You are too old,” his father sighed.
“Neither are you young, you are four years older than I.”
“That’s for you.” He turned to the television.
“…we won’t end the on going strike- Asuu… Marketers complain of inadequate fuel distribution… Herdsmen killed some in Adamawa… Some women and children were killed in a community in Bornu state…
“Do you listen to the news in this country, no better news.” His father said as he went to the dining.
“Josh, won’t you like Uniport?” His mother asked as he joined the dining, he shook his head in disagreement.
“Don’t worry, we will be going another time.” Josh father said as he picked up chunks of fried plantain and wolf it in his mouth.
Josh was full of happiness, a bit of hope appeared as he smiled, he focused on his mother as he wanted to hear her comment but she kept calm and engage her precious time gathering a spoonful of beans porridge and driving it into her mouth, quietly. He took a sigh as he sipped his glass of water.
“Will he still continue his high school?” His mother asked finally.
“Um, yes!” His father nodded in acceptance, “he will continue his final year in high school, at least he wasn’t done when we applied for his trip abroad…”
“What’s the need when he got his certificate and all credentials ready and is prepared for the university.” His mother questioned.
“Knowledge is power!” His father interrupted.
“He has to increase in his degree of knowledge…”
Josh kept his head down as he seemed not to listen, he was trained to not interrupt his parents conversation.
He kept his time eating his delicious meal which took away his thoughts of disappointment, but when he finished eating and went to his room, his eyes were widely opened.
“Josh, you are not sleeping?” His mother asked as she appeared at his door post, she saw the ray of light reflecting from his room and knew he was still awake.
“I can’t sleep as I keep thinking about how I lost my fortune to London.”
“You are not the first to be denied visa, neither will you be the last. So have faith that when you go there again you will be given visa.”
Josh watched his tears as they gushed out from his eyes, he shook his head in dismay, “mother how long will I wait? How long will I be in this disastrous land…”
“Shh…!” His mother gestured with her hand on her lips ordering him to hush as she walked up to him, “what do you know about this country?”
“Mum, I know not much but the land is bad, the government is not helping matters. People are stealing public funds daily and all the government can say is that they are fighting corruption, is it a blind fight or what?”
His mother interrupted, “how do you know, the government is trying…”
“Okay mum, why are the universities on strike, if the government is trying why haven’t they combat against the strike and pay the money Asuu is demanding.” He asked.
“Please sleep! You just had an unsuccessful experience today so you need a perfect rest.”
Josh lay on his bed as his mother covered him his mattress, although he dosen’t need that but an explanation.
“Good night…” His mother kissed his forehead. He seemed to have a pack of hope, but it wasn’t the quantity needed. As he slept he wished they call him back.
The perfect day was full of remembrance and wishes, it wasn’t for good but humiliating, the sun seemed to be on his side as it refused to shine with excitement. Josh wished the high commissioner will stare at the cloud to see the sun bitterness at his action, but rather the commissioner will be relaxed in his chilled office and pay not time to the environment.
He wished the chairs, table and accessories especially will stop functioning. His major wish was that the commissioner will remember him, but…
“Haha…” He laughed.
“But can you imagine the commissioner running after you?” James said.
“That can’t happen, the man have millions of people to attend to.” Chike interrupted.
“What if it was a big government officer or a politician, won’t they allow?” Josh asked.
“But you ain’t them so…”
“That’s corruption!” Ike yelled as he interrupted James.
“What’s corruption?” Chike asked.
“How can there be favouritism.”
“But at least it’s better than out local tribalism especially in politics.” James cut in.
“What deal is the different?” Josh snapped, “favouritism, tribalism, nepotism, racism and all the isms is hindering progress.”
“Have racism stop the States from progressing?” Chike asked.
“Gosh! It’s the twenty-first century and you are picturing the nineteenth century.” Ike blabbed.
James chuckled, “no century in racism, even now it’s existing.”
“Are you trying to eradicate my travel because of ism?” Josh asked.
“No but men…”
“Perhaps they stopped you in time.” James interrupted.
“You would have crushed on their ladies.” Ike blabbed, they all laughed at his comment.
Though it was a bit silly but funny, their break period was still on and had thirty minutes on the go. He stared at Rosemary one of his classmates he had been crushing on but lost interest since he started preparation for London, also with her cold shoulder. He had exclaimed widely that he is going to Europe! He had drew a cartoon of Europe and him from Nigeria to the country on the board. He pictured in the image of him traveling through one of the international flight although he knew not the airline that will take him to Europe. His destination was London, where he do exclaimed the capital city of soccer; he had wished to be there and watch some premier league games live. Each time he stared at the map he tried to estimate the distance between Nigeria to London; London to Oxford, Liverpool and other cities in England. The country looked small in his map but he knew it will be a wide experience all through his stay at London.
“So far so good, what had democracy brought to this country?” Ike raised after a pause.
“Far far progress!” Chike mentioned.
“What progress? This is one major problem in this country, you have an idea but can’t say it, you say it but can’t make it effective…” Josh alarmed.
“For me Jonathan’s government was the best.” James said.
“Because you profited from the mass corruption, money looting.” Josh argued.
“No! Not that, his government was really democratic, he wasn’t about tribal activities…”
“Was it Obasanjo or Yar’adua that was tribal?” Chike argued.
“None had added a positive change; if you say Jonathan, wasn’t it his wife that EFCC held and accused of taking her own share of the national cake.” Ike said.
“Taking shares of the national cake is common, it is daily petty activities for those in power. They are after themselves and their people not the country.” Josh said.
“Military performed better.” Chike snapped, especially the Gowon, we can see how he swept away the Eastern troops who were after the country’s division. If that happen now I bet you that this country will be divided.”
“The civil war is no mean feat for the military.” James said.
“But how do you compare Gowon’s era with Murtala’s era?” Josh asked.
Ike sighed, “what did he do?”
“The same democracy he fought for had been turned to corruptcracy.” Chike said.
“But guys, let’s think of it…” James paused as they stared at him, “since ’99 till date which important development that has happened that didn’t happen from ’60 till ’99?”
“Democracy! Technology…” Ike replied.
“For me nothing much than militancy, crisis, killing, vandalism…” Chike said.
“And the latest yahoo scam! Which is becoming popular.” Ike laughed.
“But Yar’adua seemed to be positive before he deceased.” Josh said.
“What were his moves?” Ike asked.
“Um, at least his seven points agenda!” Josh replied.
“The one that was enforced or flattered.” James said.
“But during his tenure fuel price was twice lower than the current price.” Josh said.
“Subsidy!” Ike yelled, “why do we patronize subsidy?”
“But we have refineries and subsidy was on, it is just like a business.” Chike replied.
“But we ain’t helping matters by eyeing outside when the solution is inside.” Ike said.
“Why foreign policy?” Josh asked, “wasn’t it for the good and betterment of the nation especially her economy?”
“But is it helping? Are the solutions coming.” Ike asked.
“Maybe they didn’t ask.” James said.
Josh snapped, “only in time of difficulties, like the Ebola virus that was spreading like wildfire. They cried for help and was granted.”
“What of the present state of the country, can’t they cry for help? One dollar is equivalent to three hundred and sixty five Naira if not more than, prices of food stuff are inflating day by day and our Naira is being devalued. Check out the rapid increase in population which is storming the world’s record.” Chike said.
“There are bad memories of this present government, I think that was part of why Josh was denied visa.” Ike sighed as he shook his head.
“Yea, maybe!” James added.
“But not all are corrupt.” Josh said.
“A book is not judged by the cover else you will be biased.” Chike replied.
“But will you try again?” James asked.
“Yea,” Josh nodded his head.
“But if we tell of the change in this country…” Chike start up.
“Abeg, can we digress. I see Davido storming again that year.” Josh interrupted.
“What is that to mean? Has he ever overshadowed Wizkid.” Ike asked.
“Yea, he is the best.” Josh argued, “Wizkid is the kind that loves showing himself.”
“Because he got all it takes to be a superstar.” Ike cut in.
“If not fia, it will be manya, aje, amaka… Nigerian musics and are really crazy these days, the industry should be reformed like the days of Osadabe, Raskimono…” Chike sighed.
“Ehen highlife and juju music has fade away, it’s now rap, blues, hip hop music and the rest.” Josh said.
“One day my mother asked how many girls are in this country, that each day she listens to Nigeria circular music it’s about love or in allusion to a girl…” Ike said.
They all laughed vigorously.
“But she is right, we hear songs about love but still hear break ups even from those artists that do sing love songs…” Chike commented.
“You still watch local music videos, when trending stars like Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Drake are shooting the world.” Josh got spanked.
“Anyway I think we need to look at our result, if we are making progress then we know it’s the best for us.” James said.
“What do you know about foreign music?” Chike asked.
“The motivation, listen to their lines and you will be like wow, the rap and roll…” Josh said.
“Really! For me it’s those that fuck words, exposure of body… Nothing motivating.” Ike said.
“Exposure of body, that is like a music moving tool. Now a days it’s like much nude much sales.” James mentioned.
“Josh, Rosemary is having feelings for you…” James whispered after a hush.
“Like mad!” Chike added.
“Watch the way she flutter her eyelashes at you when she passes.” Ike smiled.
“See guys, I am not…”
“Nothing like I am not! There is a reason behind it…” James said.
“And what’s is that?” Josh asked looking confused.
“But guy she is ready to face you, the game is on. Get in, get her and score.” Ike winked as they guffawed.
“Can’t believe Ike saying score.” Josh laughed.
“Yea, you know the post, just…”
“Okay, fine! I will play according to my coach, how many goals?” Josh asked as they all laughed…
…To be continued…