Becoming A Parent At 15

weekend muse with kunbi black penastory

Life has been terribly hard since the inception of this #ChangeRegime. Nigeria has now become a synonym for hardship and suffering. People are hungry, jobless and have no means of survival because everything seems to have gone up. Initially we thought it was going to end with the fuel subsidy removal but as if that wasn’t enough, the dollar and pounds decide to become sworn enemies with naira. Now you go to the market and all the traders seem to have become artistes hoping to get signed by Don jazzy as they have all come up with the track “Na Dollar cause am ooo!” Gosh! Its soooo annoying.

I am very certain that Nigeria’s first prime minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa would currently be in a restless state in his tomb as his face and relevance is gradually being forgotten. It wasn’t enough that despite all his sacrifices for Nigeria and her independence, they put him on the least note and now his face and efforts seem to have become worthless that he can’t even afford common “pure water”. What a pity! Alvan Ikoku who was just a common Minister of Education is now more relevant and useful than a whole prime minister.  Mtschew!

Well, unequivocally, I would state that I am certainly not amazed because I have long since realised that Nigeria is a country where the unexpected happens and everybody closes the chapter with the popular remark “Eyah! Sorry ooooo!” and they move on so quickly that you begin to wonder if a misfortune wasn’t just witnessed and experienced by all. The bitter truth is “na only when the soup sweet we know”. Things keep getting worse by the day and while some people have died of frustration, some are taking out their frustration on others by becoming corporate beggars in the day and ruthless robbers at night while others have grown faster than their ages and in doing so neglect the social condition and strive to survive. A very good example of one of such people is Joyce. Joyce happens to have become a parent at just age 15. Trust me, it is not what you think. Joyce is too focused on finishing school and changing her family’s poverty stricken situation for her to indulge in a sexual relationship not to talk of adding another baby to feed. Becoming a parent doesn’t literally mean having a baby because one can become a parent of someone else’s child the moment he or she picks up the role of a parent which involves caring and loving of such child effortlessly. 

Joyce had long since taken up the duty of living and caring for herself the moment she clocked 15. Like her other siblings, becoming 15 in her home was like a sentence and allowance to becoming self-dependent. “Joyce…my daughter, happy birthday. You know that you are now 15 which means you are now a woman. I don’t have money to continue sponsoring your education.” She tried to gain his sympathy by letting down a stream of tears. He continued as if he didn’t see the waterfall rolling down her cheeks, “I want you to go and learn tailoring work with Mama Nkechi from tomorrow.”

Tailoring? No way! Joyce wasn’t going to kill her dreams of becoming a human rights activist lawyer like Festus Keyanmo or popular singer Falz’s dad – Femi Falana. Die over a sewing machine and if she didn’t want to, she had to pay her school fees of N39,000 naira herself. I met her at the Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos on the 2nd of August, 2016 going from class to class with a weight check machine in her hands. “Uncle please come and check your weight for N50 so I can use the money to pay for my fees”. I didn’t know when I started to cry not just for Joyce but for Nigeria in general and how her future was gradually changing in the era of #Change.

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