The Short Story
The African Dream! It all began in a little poor, peaceful, under-developed town, called Bauchi, in the Northern part of Nigeria. Poor, but peaceful town….at least it was, untill the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram turned it into a shell of its once, little, poor, but peaceful self. This Nigerian Child had a dream. It wasn’t much back then, but it steadily grew, with every passing school year, with every passing school grade. So driven by his dream, this Nigerian Child finished primary school a few months before he clocked 9, and got into university at the tender age of 15. And then things started to take a turn towards South. Nigeria, being one of the developing African countries, wasn’t as blessed as the developed countries in the Western world, with advanced Educational institutions, adequately qualified teachers and state-of-the-art infrastructure. Besides, a great portion of the population, survive on less than £2 a day! Yet this Nigerian Child, now a Teenage Nigerian Boy had a dream and was driven by this dream. So he plodded on, with support from family. God bless them.
Due to the poor and unstable state of the economy, made worse by poor management in government, this Teenage Nigerian Boy, spent twice more years in University, than his European counterparts. Why? The poor quality education, was made worse by incessant and protracted University strikes, brought about by unpaid wages, as well as terrorist activities of extremists in the Northern part of Nigeria. By the time this Teenage Nigerian Boy graduated from University, he was now, a Young Nigerian Man of 21. Undeterred, he still he held on to his Dream! Spurred on by his Dream, this Young Nigerian Man faithfully partook in the compulsory, but voluntary, one-year service of his Fatherland, without prejudice. But he had misgivings, as to the attainability and sustainability of his Dream. So, this young Nigerian Man with a Dream, and the support of his poor ageing parents, and six siblings who looked up to him, scraped together just enough funds to send him to a land of promise, for further education. The right education to equip him with the right kind of training and skillset, to make his Dream a reality. This Young Nigerian Man with a Dream, came to the UK, and became a Young Nigerian Immigrant with a Dream!
In the UK, this Young Nigerian Immigrant began to rediscover joy in learning, and preparing himself for the day his Dream would become a reality. The UK offered him opportunities that he could only once imagine, and see on Television. The culture remix, the weather, the peace and orderliness, the learning experience, the state-of-the-art infrastructure, the qualified and friendly teachers on the Master’s degree programme, the food (especially good old fish and chips!), the friendly and welcoming people, the sights and sounds of the English life, the rich history of the English people, the efficiency of services, the availability and accessibility of basic amenities, the fairness of the Justice system, the efficacy of Law & Order, the public safety, the peaceful co-existence of multi-religious and multi-ethnic communities, etcetera….the list is endless. It was not until now, that this Young Nigerian Immigrant began to fully visualize his Dream – the Dream he had for his country, Nigeria. His long-term Dream for his beloved Country Nigeria, was already a reality in England…in fact, has been a reality for donkey years! All these, reinforced and increased his faith and belief in the attainability and sustainability of his Dream for his country, Nigeria.
So, after he successfully completed his Master’s degree, and after a brief working stint to gain useful hands-on experience, at one of the Fortune-500 IT companies, this Young Nigerian Immigrant embarked on another challenging journey to equip himself with what was to be his last, but necessary skillset for preparing him for his Dream. He embarked on a 4-year PhD programme. He wasn’t daunted by the fact that as an immigrant, he would not be entitled to student loans, bank loans, bursaries, or any form of Government funding. This Young Nigerian Immigrant was not daunted by the fact that his poor, but ageing parents would not be able to afford the huge cost of paying £11,000 yearly tuition fees for the next four years. The challenges abound all around, and the future was fraught with hurdles. The future terrain looked rough and dark, but he believed in seeing a light at the end of the dark tunnel. He had to believe, because he had a Dream – to make a difference back home in Nigeria, his Fatherland, torn apart by Boko-Haram terrorists, corruption and mismanagement. This Young Nigerian Immigrant is only but one person, but he believed that a drop could make a ripple in the sea. So he rolled up his sleeves, and got down to juggling full-time education with a string of different part-time jobs, and sometimes, voluntary jobs, mostly unrelated to his line of study, but still equipping him with valuable life lessons and experience.
Fast-forward to three years later, after toiling with sweat and blood, under rain and sun, in all seasons, he managed to pay his way up to his final year on the PhD programme, with the help and support of family, loved ones and well-meaning friends, who shared his faith in his Dream. Now, he has one year left to go, one final hurdle left to cross, and is still looking the challenge straight in the eye! But alas! He is running out of steam. The pressures of the final year and its workload is telling on him, and making it increasingly hard to juggle full-time education with part-time work. He is not afraid to work more to pay his final tuition fee. But wouldn’t that amount to sacrificing all for nothing, since he is at the stage where he really needs to devote all his time and energy to ensure that he makes it to the finish line? What this young Nigerian Man needs to finally take with him back to his country, Nigeria to start work on his Dream – the Dream of a better Nigeria! The Dream to ensure that every young Nigerian Child would not have to face the same struggles he once faced, as a young Nigerian Child in Nigeria. The Dream to create a better, safe, peaceful, fair, friendly Nigeria, where the services work, basic amenities are available and accessible to all, standard education is affordable and adequate, foreign investors can come in, bilateral trade and development agreements can spring up between Nigeria and the international community, and Law & Order can once again thrive. Alas, this young Nigerian Man needs all the help and support he can get to set the ball rolling for this final lap of the journey. So, his Dream can become a Reality - for the Nigerian Child and the Nigerian People. As Tesco puts it – “Every little counts”. Please, can you help?