Hey Hey Hey!
I pledge to Nigeria my country
To be faithful, loyal and honest.
To serve Nigeria with all my strength
To defend her Unity
And uphold her honour and glory
So help me God, Amen.
Hope you’ve not forgotten how to recite your pledge? (If you’re Nigerian.)
I thought about the pledge yesterday and how I’ve never really thought about what it means.
When I say the words, what do I really mean?
To defend her Unity…which Unity?
We have over 500 languages in Nigeria. Forget all that Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa you were taught in Primary School.
This Country is too big and diverse…
But, I truly think that if every citizen will take the time to think about what the pledge means, they might become more passionate. (Or not).
What does it mean to serve Nigeria with all of my strength?
Am I supposed to put her above all else, or pretend she doesn’t even exist?
As I walked away from the bank today. I got an idea that scared me, but I went ahead with it.
I approached the man selling memory cards on the road and asked him some questions. I wanted to know what he felt about the Lagos State Government asking hawkers to stop selling in traffic.
He smiled, almost as if he was very happy I asked. Haha.
This Memory Card seller said that if he was the governor he’d leave the hawkers, bike men, etc. alone!
(I’m guessing one reason will be because hungry passengers and drivers need Gala in this life.)
He explained how many of them hawk to fend for their families.
Have you ever seen someone running after a car to sell in Lagos?
“If it is me, I will leave all of them alone. I will leave Gala sellers and Okada men alone.”
That’s how he put it.
Before I left, he also explained that not all of them are true hawkers o, as some use that as an avenue to steal and harm people in traffic.
I’ve witnessed two spectacular robberies in traffic and I’ve still not gotten over them. One was at Mile 12 and the second one was around Maryland.
Let me gist you about the one at Mile 12.
There was traffic and this man had his windows down. Mistake- his laptop bag was on his passengers seat.
These two young guys went around his far, but he only saw one. That one came to the driver’s side and was saying something- probably pretending to sell something.
By the time the man knew what was happening, the other guy had carried his laptop bag from the passengers side. That was their cue to run! And they ran straight into Mile 12 market.
I’m certain that man didn’t find them that day.
One happened to us too. My sisters and I had entered free ride from Mid-Week service one night.
We had gotten to that overhead bridge that leads you from Toll-Gate down to Ketu and there was traffic.
The doors weren’t locked.
I noticed these four guys staring from afar. I don’t even know how I saw them because they weren’t that close, but I felt like they were up to no good.
SECONDS after the owner of the car locked all doors, these 4 guys ran to each door and started banging hard.
My heart almost fell out that night! Haha. They acted like they were about to remove guns from their pockets, but ran away when they saw that the doors and windows didn’t give way…
I don’t like to imagine what would have happened if the windows and doors weren’t locked. Gobe.
I don’t think the government has been fair to send these hawkers off the road.l though.
And it’s not because I don’t want a better society with structure, but because I haven’t seen anything set in place for them.
If you send the ones that are REALLY hustling off the roads (and carry them in those Prison vans until they pay 90,000 naira), don’t you think they’d begin to steal or rob?
Then again, if you leave them, who will secure the safety of civilians who have their windows down and doors unlocked?
As much as I’m all for asking ‘What can I do for my Country?’
I think it’s only fair for my country to also begin to think of what she can do for me.
I pledge to Nigeria, but does she pledge to me?
What do you think?
Should hawkers stay or go?
(Photos gotten from Instagram.)
On the 24th of September, you’d be able to hold your FULL copy of OUR book! Hope to see you at the launch.