…if we have a country

thinking man

Dear Suzzy,

Contrition overwhelms me as I pen these words. I am ashamed of myself because I lied to you and made a promise I knew would be hard to keep. On a second thought, I forgive myself because you pushed me. You pushed me when you kissed me the other night and made me promise to take you to Nigeria on Valentine’s Day.

I must have been hypnotized by that kiss or the food we ate afterwards.  I am certain that I wouldn’t have made such a weighty promise if I was in control of my senses.

I hate to disappoint you my dear but we have to cancel the arrangement. We cannot spend Valentine day in Nigeria because my country will be at war on that day.

I know how eager you are to visit Africa and Nigeria. I know how much you look forward to meeting the nice people and seeing the beautiful places you have read and heard about. But your curiosity can wait another year my dear.

If you don’t want to have Valentine memories tainted in tears and blood then we should remain here and cuddle on that day. With the super-fast internet at our disposal, we can watch the madness in my country from a distance. Our love is young and sweet but I fear it will never be the same if I take you home this Valentine.

Suzzy my dear, you are probably wondering why I am so scared when all that is happening is just an election to decide who will be president of my country. But you won’t understand. You have lived in these peaceful climes for too long and you think elections in other parts of the world are the same with what you have here.

But you are wrong my dear. In my own part of the world, elections are like war. We go to the polls afraid of what will happen when the results are announced. However it turns out, tears, blood and wanton destruction of property are normal features of elections in Nigeria.

You ask why it is like that?  It is because politics in my country smacks of desperation. Those who hold power sit tight even when they have performed below expectations and those who want it will throw everything including the kitchen sink to actualize their ambitions.

My dear Suzzy, we can’t make this visit to Nigeria because the forthcoming elections may be bloody. Everyone is afraid the country may go up in flames regardless of the outcome.

Have you forgotten what my friends in Berlin said when we visited for Christmas? I mean, you saw the trepidation in Timi’s eyes when he told us his parents were planning to relocate temporarily from their home in the Kaduna because they fear a riot might start when the results are announced.

Joe my friend in Lagos, said some people were already planning to go to Ghana, Republic of Benin and other neighboring countries during the election. That’s what happens every time we go to the polls in my country. Those who have the means run away until the madness abates. The poor and innocent ones are always at the short end of the stick. Some die. Others lose their homes and means of livelihood while another group of survivors will spend the rest of their lives nursing physical and emotional wounds that will never heal.

Suzzy, do you know what is really annoying this time?  We are to choose between two men who probably don’t deserve to be president of any country in the world.

Unlike your own country where you have to choose from a pool of brilliant minds, with enviable track records, election in my country is based strictly on ethnic and religious sentiments.

My dear, do you know how difficult it is to choose between an incumbent president who has failed in many areas and a 72-year old retired General with a questionable past?  Joe says it is like standing between the devil and the deep blue sea.

You know another annoying thing as we prepare for this election? It is the fact that no one is asking the fundamental questions. On Facebook, Twitter and other social media platform, the re-packaged General is portrayed as our knight in shining amour.  To his teeming supporters, it is a sacrilege to express contrary opinions about him.

They sound as if this man who overthrew a democratic president some 32 years ago has the magic pills to cure all that ails Nigeria the moment he becomes president. As though voting for him will instantly mark the end of the epileptic power supply, equip hospitals without drugs, revamp universities of shallow knowledge, fix blood sucking expressways and better the lives of millions of impoverished citizens in one day.

As for the incumbent President, the cookies are crumbling around him with every passing day. They say he is weak and inept to rule a complex country like Nigeria and he is not doing much to change that opinion.

You know what is most funny about his re-election campaign? His followers compare him to Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Lee Kuan Yew and other famous leaders and then urge us to give him more time to transform our country.

So Suzzy, do you see why we can’t go to Nigeria for Valentine this year? Let’s just watch from here and pray God and the angels protect our loved ones who can’t get out of the country.

I know how disappointed you feel right now but I promise you in the name of our love that we will spend the next Valentine in Nigeria…if we have a country after 2015.

With love, now and forever


Vincent Nzemeke is a Nigerian currently studying in Germany

15 thoughts on “…if we have a country

  1. Thanks Veen,
    I luv de quick flow and objectivity devoid of religio-tribal cum personal bias.
    It sparks from a qualitative literary backgroung.
    Keep it up de future is bright, as we await a week today.
    Don’t forget to tell Suzzy dat Naija can be more enjoyable during de Xmas. Dat should be a better option and consolation!

  2. Wow. Nicely written Veen….. but you know the repackaged 72 year old General is actually using official army age… Suzzy, since Veen is an Igbo boy, you would enjoy the Christmas season better than Valentine so don’t feel so bad.

    • Lol…Uche, takirizy. Veen will soon be around to answer for the pessimism. But nne, about this postponement gist, has it been confirmed? All I can see are unconfirmed reports.

  3. “those who want it will throw everything including the
    kitchen sink to actualize their ambitions”, what a sight it would be *laughing*. But seriously, the thick cloud hovering over this nation is heavily loaded with “live bullets” all because of election. But then, the young can decide whether it would rain or not.

  4. Hey guys, Suzzy really wants to come to Nigeria. She is fascinated that Lagos- which is just one state in Nigeria- is more populated than her entire country. She wants to seat in traffic for hours munching on gala and downing it with Lacasera.But I can’t guarantee her security. To parody the famous Idi-Amin speech, I can guarantee she will have fun visiting Nigeria but I can’t guarantee she will leave the same way she came. It sounds funny but that’s the truth about our country. This is fiction but it paints a clear picture of the state of affairs in our beloved country. Gerald my younger brother called last night to say his exams in UNILORIN were postponed because everyone has to go home for the election. I also know some Igbo friends who are moving their family members from the north until after the election. It is that bad. I am sure we will still have a country after this election but I also know there will be casualties. May you, I and our loved ones not be among them. Amen.

    • Amen, brother. Now that the elections have left Valentine’s day alone, Suzzy will have even less ground for emotionally blackmailing you. One part of me wants to yell “Come home!” to all my friends and loved ones in diaspora, “come home, guys, let’s do this together”. Another part of me, a calmer introspective part, will not do that. If the worst happens, the ones who weren’t here to live it might just be the only hope. But God banish the thought. Amen.

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