One Code – Henrie Adesina

200 million people. One code. Every morning the bus driver gets up by 4am to say his prayers to his God in a dingy room infested with mosquitoes. Somewhere else, a night guard closes his shift with a deep yawn and stretches. He is grateful for another uneventful night —boring is good. The fact that they don’t have surpluses to indulge their fancies or even cover the basics doesn’t show in the gayness of their speech by noon, when they laugh with abandon at silly jokes or take friendly passes with the daughter of the woman who sells moi-moi down the street. Their resilience to survive in the midst of hardship and to take difficulties with a certain humor is awe-inspiring.
Every evening, the nurse from the General Hospital gets home from a tough day at work. She’s lost a patient to completely avoidable circumstances if the right equipment was available. Yet she brushes away her sadness and smiles to give her kids the love and happiness they need. Her salary, months owed will probably be halved when it comes but she struggles and smiles anyway. Elsewhere, a student gets home from tutorials after another long day of lectures; the lecturers speak every so lightly so only the first two rows in a class of two hundred plus students hear him. The tutorials are necessary because the few who hear don’t understand. The key to their future truncated because of unpaid salaries and incessant strikes. Yet he won’t miss the 8pm football match where even the girls who don’t file the sport scream with joy their support of the red jerseys. Their resilience to survive in the midst of hardship and to take difficulties with a certain humor is awe-inspiring.

200 million people. One code. To survive on the midst of hardship, to smile and find reasons to be happy and helpful when they don’t have to. In a closed door meeting, where no tribe, religion, language or ethnicity matters, a group of politicians and influencers sit tired round a table. The obvious affluence of their clothes and the room’s decor in sharp contrast to their faces. “How can we ensure we keep and increase our wealth and privileges?” Asks the first, his husky voice resonating over there silent din of conversation in the room. “Simple,” says a honey smoothed voice, “the way we always have. Give them false hopes and feed on their ability to adapt, their resilience but ensure it ends in silence. Let them feel but not speak, complain but not act, think but be too weak-willed to do. Sow discord that we have ethnic biases, religious sentiments, and various reasons for leadership instead of competence. Leave them as fools.” “It is well,” reply the rest, “their resilience and adaptability without enforcing their right is their undoing.”

In a thousand hearts of a new generation, a new song rings, “We choose the life we want. We do not inherit the Earth and its resources from our fathers but borrow them from our children.”

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