'And the award goes to…' The crowd goes wild, a standing ovation with shouts of praise ringing from all around. Familiar faces past, present and future glowering with satisfaction yell 'Speech! Speech!' I stand up, my confidence glaring, my strut overconfident and my smile misplaced as I walk up the stage to receive my award. I take a stand directly under the spotlight, right in the middle of the platform. I don't need a microphone, my words come were their own amplifier, I raise a hand and a sudden hush fills the room. 'I am young,' In another world this is an advantage, to aliens, I am worth something. An able-bodied youth that will protect their homeland and one day build their economy. The welcoming of a successor to leaders in transition, a key to a luminous future. Then there is the world that I live, where I am lazy, weak and useless, a bane to the existence of my elders. I am languorous and pessimistic as I waste my life on things that do not even bring me true joy. But I was not born this way. You see at my Genesis I had a clean slate, a myriad of options lay before me. And it was the duty of the sages in my community to guide me on the right path so I could become something of substance. This is where failure began. When the so-called patriarchs of my dear land, who were too busy sniffing up white arses, brown faces turned darker by foreign faeces, to care what I was to become. My role models who myopically rob their own pockets. Fogey pregnant men that do all that is within their power to keep my realm gerontocratic, so they may never have to deliver. I ask what example can a human with no morals set. Then there are the parents, the omniscient ones that force and beat me into conformity. That tied my dreams of creativity down like a balloon to rock and thrust their version of reality upon me. "You cannot be an actor, you will be a doctor," "You cannot be an athlete when you can be a chemist," "You cannot be a musician, that is not a profession" My progenitors, their word is law, I obey. They delay my independence for the fear that I would become wayward. Suddenly I am shoved into a world I do not understand when they deem it time for me to be an adult. Ohh and I must not forget the unsung heroes of my miseducation, the teachers and the preachers. Those who instruct me on the most old fashioned and conservative way to live my life. Spent old bores that squash my free-thinking, training clones not individuals, followers not leaders, in learning centres they work on my eyes not my mind nor my heart, not even my hands. What exactly do I do with such baseless beginning? I will tell you, nothing, I just sit at home and waste my youth. So here I am with eyes but I refuse to see, a brain but I refuse to think. Will I remain a rebel in ways that only leave me with more scars or worse strive for more mediocrity? In a void-less paradigm, in a world without depth; in a country without a voice, after decades of using lies to keep me in check, I stand now stuffed on untruths and I accept your award for Repressed Nigerian Youth.
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