By Aina Ademola
Banjoko, Onigbese! moma gba owo mi leni!, (Banjoko! Debtor!, I must collect my money from you today!). It’s the frustrated landlord seriously yelling at Banjoko’s door demanding his two year rent.
Banjoko Quietly behind the curtain, fidgeting and sweating all over his palm whispers to his pregnant wife “Tell him I have traveled, I am not around, I haven’t been home for the past five days”
His wife approaches the door meeting a very furious tribal marked Ondo man vibrating, demanding his house rent he isn’t ready to hear another same story; obviously he’s also affected by the African political system of oppression and inequality. She says to him “Baba, my husband has traveled since a week now when he comes he’d pay you, he has gone to look for money” the agitated and frustrated landlord replies “sofun wipe ko le sa momilowo” (Tell him I said he can’t escape, he must pay me!). Finally, he leaves.
Banjoko, an unemployed 37years old graduate of mathematics & statistics from the University of IFE with 3 kids who have been affected by the vicious political-economic system pervasive over African can’t afford to make ends meet, he lives from hand to mouth. He decided to push to the streets again hustling and bustling looking for a befitting job to take care of himself and his family. He was finally called for an interview at a company in Lagos, he hit the bad road heading for his interview. “Surulere, Surulere”! the bus conductors with a ripped jean, face cap worn sideways and with a sachet of gin in his hand screaming his lungs out wanting to fill up the bus with passengers to hit the road, evidently oppressed and affected by this same vicious African political system says to Banjoko “Alaye, Shay change wa?” meaning Mr man, do you have change? Immediately Banjoko pays him. Now they have hit the road, they enter one pothole after other passengers are complaining, the car was sounding as though it was about to collapse, the corrupt political elites have the welfare of the citizens in their stomach, mismanagement, corruption, and embezzlement is the order of the day. No good road to ply; if you do, you may go and not return because of the precarious condition of the road. He gets to the company, he reaches the panel, questions are being thrown at him, he was asked ‘How many years work experience do you have?” Banjoko replies ‘I haven’t gathered any experience yet, this is my first opportunity’, apparently he hasn’t gathered any experience since he finished university, unemployment is his only experience. He was told he was going to be gotten back to, but as we all know “I’d get back to you” is a corporate way of discharge and dismissal. On his way home he was stoped by the FSARS men, at a checkpoint he met an angry looking, tattered and unkempt police man, yelling ‘come down, I say, I say you should come down!” he obviously can’t argue with a man holding a rifle, he obeyed he came down from the bike, they requested for his phone, the policemen went through his phone, they found nothing incriminating but he was still told to pay before the phone is released and before he himself is allowed to go, Banjoko exclaimed “I know my rig…” he could complete the sentence “I know my right” before a thunderous slap landed on his face before he knew it, he was forced into a mini white bus parked by the roadside, inside the bus Banjoko was told “we’d waste you if you don’t settle us here now, we’d kill you and no one will know about it” Banjoko was forced to transfer all the money remaining in his account to the policemen, he was thrown of out the vehicle on motion, sustaining many injuries. We obviously can’t blame the police this is how the system subjects many to vagabondage and crime. Every single living thing in Africa is affected by the policies of these vicious political elites.
After all this drama, all hope was lost on finding a corporate job, he decided to start up his own business, no electricity to make his business flourish, no good roads to ply, no standard education, just like lightning, in Nigeria lecturers are always on strike, no reliable academic calendar, a four years course may end up being completed after 8years. This is the vicious cycle of the life of an average black man. How can you convince us that education makes you the leader of tomorrow when we are surrounded by rich thieves and poor graduates? It is said that the dream of an African is to leave Africa and escape to Europe. In Africa, the masses die to earn a living. How can a bag of rice be equivalent to the minimum wage? How can the citizens be suffering and senators are collecting hardship allowance as part of their remuneration? How can the senators hoard palliatives that are meant to relieve the citizens of the hardship during the coronavirus pandemic? How can peaceful and harmless protesters be massacred just because they were displaying their constitutional rights? How can Boko haram be given amnesty and protesters are being arrested and locked up? How can the tertiary institution be on strike for over 8 months? How can a president be so concerned about America’s Democracy when his people are complaining about gerontocracy and an oppressive oligarchic system disguising as a democracy? How can someone who has a corruption case in court be vying for political posts? How can a president not talk to his own people? How can politicians fly to Europe for medical treatments and not use the one they provided? An average African isn’t safe in his motherland, anything can be the end of him, if he’d suck he cannot afford to use medical facilities; if he plays the road he may not return home because of the bad conditions of the road, if he perhaps successfully passes through the road he may be stopped and extrajudicially killed by policemen who are also frustrated as a result of the evil people we have in political offices. Who bewitched Africa and African leaders? How can a president call his people lazy when he didn’t provide any serene environment to make them prosper?
What’s the black man’s cry? The black man’s cry is a cry that seeks to put an end to oppression, a cry that seeks to put an end to exploitation and degradation of the highest order, a cry that seeks to put an end to maladministration. Are we going to continue this way? Definitely not! The prosperity of the black masses lies in the stomach of the few black political elites, our leaders are our problems! There are millions upon millions of Banjoko in Africa, but I tell you a time will come that the oppressed Banjokos will arise and crush the system of oppression and make the oppressor take to his heels, running for his life. One day, just one day, Banjoko will realize he has nothing to lose but his chains and he’d be ready to bring his freedom, liberty, equality, and justice into existence by any means necessary!
Africa is pregnant, pregnant of freedom!
This article is dedicated to the oppressed black people all over the world
Aina Ademola can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org