Now that we have exchanged GEJ for GMB; now that we have a new president and as Nigerians living in Nigeria, submit a tray-load of wishes, those of us in London refuse to be left out.
I have asked some Nigerians living in London and they too have submitted their wish-list…
Evelyn, 40 something year old with two kids, she wants nothing more than to proudly show off her country to her kids. She says;
-We were in Nigeria in 2010. My kids where so happy to see the escalator at the airport because they love going on it on the underground every time we have to take the tube or when we are out shopping. But we couldn’t take the elevator that day because it wasn’t moving, one of the security men said it was spoilt but he would advise us not to go on it. At that time I remembered a story about the elevator stopping in transit because the light went off. When the kids asked me why we were not taking the elevator, I pretended I couldn’t hear them.
-I went to the village to see my parents. The ride was so bumpy, the kids kept asking me why the road was bumpy and I said told them I was done answering questions for that day. It was evening when we finally got to my village and of course there was no light. When the kids asked me why there was no light, I said because the gas had run out. When the generator came on my youngest ran to hide her face inside my dress, ‘I am scared mummy, she said, what is that noise?’ she asked, referring to the generator noise. I didn’t know what to say, I just looked at them exhausted.
-I know they didn’t enjoy that visit, but my kids are quite sensitive and wouldn’t want to hurt mummy’s feelings by telling me so out rightly. But I know they didn’t enjoy it. I want to see them as happy as they are when we go to visit their dad’s parents in Cork.
So can we fix that escalator, fix our roads and ensure constant power?
Emmanuel is a handy man, a plumber who owns his own maintenance company in London. He wishes his can be respected…
‘Being black, Nigerian, and male, it is not the same as being black, Nigerian and female. My mother is getting older so I try to travel often to Enugu to see her and I have a son in Germany so I go there often too. Each time I come into the UK, they keep me behind for one reason or the other. When I went to America it was worse, I was actually detained and they kept asking me why I travel so often [laughs out loud], and I said to them ‘biko, I can come and go as I please’. But these days that I travel with my British pali, I don’t go through so many checks anymore’.
‘I just don’t feel comfortable showing this red pali, there is nothing about me that is even British, when I open my mouth you will know I am an Igbo man. I just want to be able to hold my green passport with pride.
Lola is in her mid-twenties. She came to the UK when she was 15 years old. She speaks fluent Yoruba and is a final year medical student at Anglia Raskin.
-I don’t tell people I am Nigerian. I usually just say I am Ghanaian, not for any particular reason, maybe because many Nigerians are relocating there. One time my Ghanaian friend pisssed me off, so I stopped saying I am Ghanaian, because she gets so big-headed and all. I started saying I was Cameroonian, [laughs out loud]. It sounded so strange to my ears every time I said it, I knew I didn’t sound convincing, I wasn’t even convinced myself [lol]. I think the most ridiculous of all was when I told a prospective suitor I was from Cape Verde, [laughed out very loud].
-Well, it so happened he was partly from there…, Cape Verde. So when he asked me what part, I stuttered and feigned a headache. He looked at me with a disappointing look. He was a nice man, he never called me again [lol]. I just want to be able to mouth the words – I am Nigerian, and be proud.
-That’s all I want.
(If you live in Jand, feel free to add yours in the comment section)
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