Isn’t it so wonderful to be back home in Nigeria, to spend time on the very land in which you grew up, to measure what has remained the same, evaluate the changes, and survey the landscape with an eye irrevocably altered through gazing at other countries and interacting with foreign landscapes?
To enjoy the sound of the rain falling on metal roofs, playing a natural music that no singer or choral band could match?
To see the local birds, and hear them harmonizing in the wild?
To enjoy the urban games of brown furry things running through clumps of bushes, hiding from the sightings of people going about their daily business, knowing that once people see them, they would be hunted down and killed? I remembered how I went with gangs of kids in my neighborhood, more than fifty years ago, foraging for wild fruits, hunting crabs, and harassing lizards just trying to eke out some romance around the walls of metropolitan buildings.
How things have changed since then.
Two days ago, we went into a pandemonium because of the rumor that Islamic Fulani cattle herdsmen had taken over the road between Ibadan and Ile Ife and were slaughtering villagers at the outskirts of Ikire. We were in a meeting with artists, writers and cultural administrators on the campus of the Obafemi Awolowo University when the rumors began to spread. We did not know what to do.
And now, as I type this note, I cannot sleep because the church nearby has turned up the volume of their loudspeakers to blast the silence and peace of the night, and run the entire neighborhood mad. My friend says she is having auditory hallucinations because of the church activities. She got up and began to draw, in the middle of the night. I rose, and reached for my laptop. It is becoming the only consolation.
They have taken the country from us, those who commit these atrocious acts of killing peace loving people during the day. And those who, thinking they are worshipping God, have killed the peace and quiet of the night, robbing us of sleep and quiet in the night.
I turned on the generator to cut down the noises of insanity that the neighborhood church is blasting at us in the middle of the night.
Where is the oasis to be found in this desert of desolation?
When will we be independent and free to roam and savor this lovely land that has been colonized again?
We shall, one day, overcome this inhuman and oppressive invasion by the church and mosque. God knows we will. We know we will