I apologize for not writing to you before now. That was because I was busy putting the superstructure over the foundation you made for your life the last time I saw you. I stumbled upon this picture of you and the memories came back. I remember the day it was taken, you had just resumed third-year and, as was your habit, you tried to keep a memory of what you looked like in pictures at the beginning of each school year.
The jacket, which is a tad too large for you, was the one Tope ‘Brown’ sold to you (that sly entrepreneur, little wonder he did well in commerce after law school. The red tie was borrowed from Hycent; you needed it to complete your appearance as a dress-code compliant student of the faculty. I see the gap between the white shirt and your hungry-looking neck. Your sunken cheeks are a grim reminder that things were rough then. You still had some hair on your head back then, before genetic codes, inputted by your ancestors long before you were born, caught up with you.
You do remember that Constitutional Law result you saw at the faculty that morning school resumed right? The entire class almost failed that course. If I rightly recall, less than five people scored B, while you had a scrap through with a C. But I can confirm to you now that none of those scores nor the final outcome of all academic qualifications made any real impact in life after school.
Today is the tomorrow you were working so hard for yesterday, and I can assure you things are beautiful now. I got this far because of your grit, tenacity, undeniable outliers, and of course, the God factor. I’m sorry you did not have the road map of our mutual journey that lay ahead. If you did, you would not be mortal. I believe God gave you just the limited data you could handle, to carve out your future. And in so doing, you had to make many unavoidable pioneer mistakes.
Forgive yourself, because you couldn’t have operated beyond your installed capacity, competence, and reasoning at the time.
To be honest, I think you were too hard on yourself many times. You were attempting to break generational barriers, and not having the understanding to expect resistance from various forces in the dimensions they presented. Against traditional expectations, it would have been okay for you to stop and cry many times before continuing.
Thank you for understanding early on that you had to create the future you desired, and for not making ‘hope’ a strategy. You can smile now because many of your aspirations are realized, and most of the things you worried about didn’t quite happen.
There are a few interesting facts I have to tell you – about various developments since the last time we talked:
The internet has since changed the world, and even Nigeria could not afford to be left behind. Do you remember how you spent hours at the cyber café to do some research for your dissertation during undergraduate days because you needed contemporary data? Now, we can access such data at the speed of thought, and by punching a few buttons on our laptops and smartphones. We now have cell phones and no longer use NITEL phone cards – it doesn’t even exist anymore. We can even use cell phones to operate our television as a remote control. It’s a whole new world, I promise you.
Power supply steadily got worse in Nigeria so much that even though successive governments have spent over $16 billion in that sector, we still don’t have constant power supply.
What else is new? Ah yes! Remember Sani Abacha? That former dictator who stole so much of Nigeria’s money and stored them in foreign banks? He was the reason mama had to cook with that locally made ‘sawdust-stove’. The US recently returned over $311million of that money to Nigeria.
COVID-19, which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of people, crept up on us this year. I will have to write you a separate letter to give you the details regarding this. For now, just know that the world went on a reset.
Let me thank you again, Moses, for your courage and the foundation you laid, which paved ways for me. Thank you for self-rescuing and not waiting for any cavalry. I shudder to think of the consequences if you had believed that Nigerian pretentious lie that ‘the children are the leaders of tomorrow’ or the several visions Nigeria kept singing in our ears – like vision 2020 (i.e., by 2020, Nigeria will be one of the 20 largest economies in the world, able to consolidate its leadership role in Africa and establish itself as a significant player in the global economic and political arena). The people in leadership, when my grandfather was young, are still leaders, now that I have my own child. They insist on using the ‘tomorrows’ of our three generations.
I must stop now, dear Moses. I promise to touch base with you more often from the future. Until then, relax and binge-watch your life in reverse.
Your future self.
P.S: We hardly write or receive paper letters or collect the stamps from the envelopes into a scrapbook, like you loved doing, anymore. We mostly write messages in shortcodes or emojis, and through social media when we are not craving validation on an app called Instagram.
P.S.S: You should see how high school students communicate nowadays, you will cringe!