SHADOWS: Where is home? Please, take me Home II


Ik Ogben (Luton, UK)

There is no easy way out. ?Every die na die, e no matter wetin kill am?. Each road has its rocky side and moments no matter how smooth it may seem. It will have its challenges that are unique and peculiar to that journey. I have seen things well-balanced fall without any noticeable pressure. I have seen trees strong, stout and well-rooted to the ground being uprooted by a passing wind while the old and dried ones count yet another glorious day. Sometimes you stumble and fall. At other time it could be a painful laughter that makes you bare your fangs like a cobra in a macabre dance of life and death – especially when you hit your hand, elbow, foot or head against the bed post or any hard object, you see stars and laugh a forced bizarre laughter that pains you to your groins. Then you asked your soul (if you believe in that), what prompted you to go there or do that thing at that time or place.

During my secondary school days (high school) there was this debate topic: ?The Doctor or Farmer, who is more important?? What do you want to read, that I was the chief speaker, or choose the farmer and won? Who dash monkey banana? I was hiding at the back, coiled at the window pane while peeping from outside. The point here is, I learnt, there is no profession, job, vocation or course that is more important than another or harder still than the other. It is the gift you have that you will exhibit. There is no course that is more important when compared to another. I remember when we were in the university studying education we were looked down upon by those studying ?more prestigious courses? like law, medicine, pharmacology, and all the big names. Ironically, in Britain and most Western countries teachers? are revered and pampered knowing that they do not only shape the future of their children but the hope of the whole nation is hinged on this noble profession. But in Nigerian they are down-trodden and scorned by all and sundry, like Franz Fanon will say, they are the wretched of the earth. Medicine will time depending on individual cannot be adjudged to be more lucrative than Igbo, ask Dele Momudu who told us he studied Yoruba at Ile-Ife until he met M.K.O. Abiola. It was said of one man was studying sociology in the university, when he got home his father asked him what he was studying, he said sociology and anthropology. His illiterate father held his head and shouted, akukwo, iguru. He did not only double his son?s pocket money he went about singing his son?s praises that he was studying all the white man?s book. 


Life is about choices. One of the major reasons I chose to come to UK was for linguistic excursion. I wanted to interact with the native speakers of a language I studied up to graduate level yet I struggle to speak it well or pronounce words correctly. I used to blame this on the fact that I was not privileged to go to nursery school but instead I went to Otakara where we used slate and chalk instead of exercise books. Thereafter, I went to Elu-Oke Primary School, Agbor. Anyway, there are a lot of people who went to Ota-akara and Elu-Oke yet speak impeccably well and use RP which is the standard way of pronunciation (I will leave this till another day). So, my inability to speak or pronounce rightly is my fault. Perhaps it?s my short tongue. Perhaps! And perhaps!! Would you please excuse me (After all, ndi ocha ama su ika)? Anyway, it has paid off I tell you.


During the last quarter of the 2oth century the world had already started appreciating the concept known as globalization. This implies the unification of a people and all people. Both in terms of economic and social sense and even more, it?s an integration which is incorporated with the use of information technology and in a bid to bridge physical boundaries that separate humanity.


Why is ?home coming? so important for us? I hold nothing against that. But let those who choose not to come be, even if they are considered as the prodigal sons and daughters of the land. Let wherever they lay their heads be their home as long as they find peace. The ones that want to sell their father?s house or their shops like Samson to travel abroad please make haste before the streets paved of gold will rust. Let the returnees be. And let the custodians of the land eat with two hands and salute it with palm-wine. Those who have found peace in a foreign land let them rejoice, for the new-Jerusalem is in sight.


I rest my case.


Ike Ogben


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