Mother, do you recognize my face? See I haven’t changed much. You remember my sheepish smiles. I still wear them. I have tried severally to remind you about who I am but you seem to grow more distant. I swear I’ve changed. I’m older and wiser and stronger. You remember how you shove NTA at me and stuffed all its contents down my throat. Well, that was what you had at that time and I’m grateful for them. My childhood memories, hang, like my muffler around my neck. I remember Cadbury Breakfast Telly shows and all the cartoons I watched. I doubt you remember watching some of them with me. There was Superted, Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, The Little Prince and Jabber Jaw. How will I not speak of Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Kidi Vision 101 and Voltron. Oh no! there was Doctor Who, Fawlty Towers, Some Mothers Do Have Them, The Adventures of the Famous Five, Rent-a-Ghost, and Behind the Clouds. Little Mama would give me One Naira and Fifty Kobo to buy a loaf of bread so that I could eat as breakfast with Pronto and Dano Milk before going to school the next day. You were not exactly the perfect mother at that time but I wasn’t complaining. Maybe I knew too little to complain. Mama provided my basic needs and I thought she could sustain providence because of your benignity towards her. As little as I was, I was an observant child as well as a keen listener. I didn’t have 2000 channels in my face or the internet tugging at me. I could observe, eavesdrop, relay and remember as young as I was.
Adolescence ushered me into one of the best Federal secondary schools in Nigeria and if you recall, I passed my WAEC very well at one sitting. Then, I attended the university. All done in your lifetime. It baffles me when I hear that students now are failing WAEC and JAMB massively. Mother, your grandchildren are failing because the education sector cannot help them again. Those who pass through schools under your care are not employable because the system does not produce many employable graduates. Most of them need to pass through school again under the tutelage of your friends in Europe. Many business started under your care since you were born, how many of them are around. Some left for your cousin’s place Ghana. They complained that you were too harsh and insensitive. I remember how you would throw your hands back in disdain and hiss after them, throwing more of their luggage after them. So how much as this helped you?
Mother see the wrinkles on your face. You are fifty one years and you look seventy already. Is it this government job that is taking a toll on your health. See your fine black hair are becoming white hair, running down your neck. Mother speak. In the absence of speech, write. We need feedback. We, your kids have contributed to your well-being. Alas! You pride in gallivanting with rags. How do you think I feel whenever Warri reports to me that you still bed wet and that you haven’t mastered your excretory system. You keep people and things you should have long flushed. Nnem! What have you done to yourself. I heard that you suffer burns in your pelvis. Kaduna, Borno and Jos narrated how you suffer itch from serious burns every day. You have been invaded by microbial and inconsequential entities that explode in your body every day. My lecturers called it Gonorrhea. This is something you should have dealt with a long time ago. It will continue to terrorize you till you reach menopause if you don’t address it now.
Sometimes I wonder in my mind, I don’t have the courage to ask you though. I sometimes think that you are a prostititute. Please don’t mind me o. I’m just thinking out aloud. The rate at which vagabonds come in and out of your room is alarming. The funny thing is that they keep carting away with your valuables and they never give you anything, yet you still swing your legs open with delight. Do you remember the word called dignity, that word that hides somewhere in your pledge? Do you still have any of it left, I dare to ask?
Things are going wrong under your watch and you kept quiet. When I expect you to twist ears and give dirty slaps to the ones that deserve it, you do not. You know the way you used to slap us, especially those of us who obey your bidding to the letter. The annoying thing now is that you haven’t kicked the bucket yet some of your children have strategized on how to divide your properties and split earnings. You have still kept quiet. Is it only your eyes that you lost? Have you lost your ears as well. My friends have come from far and near. They have decided to support you and rebuild you but you are not helping. Your concubines are frustrating them. If Polyandry isn’t making you a better person, why don’t you try monogamy. Mother, I’m tired sincerely.
How do you do it mother? How are you still able to sit in front of the fire and clasp your hands in prayers that God will help you from the trouble you have put on yourself? Is it hard for you to see? Do you know that you are suffering in the hands of the people you have given your life to. You are slaving for people that should serve you. How are you able to sleep with this leakage. Mother your body loses lots of oil and blood everyday and you still toss your head to the side like a drugged woman and gibber “It is well”. Things are not well o mother. Things are not fine and I am not complaining.
I didn’t intend to write an epistle because I know you will not read it. It is another wasted effort on my part but I will keep trying. I will not keep quiet. You have neither listened nor attended to our numerous petitions in the far or recent past. Here are my few cents. If this letter does not come from my hand, let it reach you through the people that you have sold yourself too. You remember the adage that says that the house rat should take heed and inform the bush rat. That is the situation now o. Mother, go and see a doctor. It seems like a joke but I’m serious. Forget about those doctors that tell you that you are HIV negative when you are indeed HIV positive. Let him advice you on how to stop oil leakage, mineral wastage and blood spillage. When he prescribes drugs for these ailment, kindly ensure that you use it well as prescribed. When you are well, you will have the energy to cut all your excesses, get more capable people and perhaps fix the electricity issues in your home. Until then, you won’t be able to teach your grandchildren practically because you also lack what you teach about. It is not enough elect the people that will serve you well, you should also create a maintenance department that will ensure the sustainability of their projects.
Mother, I have a lot to write to you. I was trying to tell you that I have changed and maybe that’s why you don’t remember me or some of your other promising kids. However, I have come to understand that it is you that has changed ma. You are different from who you used to be. Your make-up is all so artificial and as much as you try to hide it, I see the lower eye lids sagging in sadness. Don’t feign happiness. We know you are not happy. We aren’t happy too. We know your Naira was valued for two British Pounds at a time. We also know that you were ill-advised at another time and you lost your dowry value. However this current state of yours is calling for serious attention, maybe rehabilitation. We need you to help us help you but you must first remember who you are.