As I prepare to embark on a journey that I ironically haven’t mentally prepared to make, I thought what better way is there to grapple with my anxieties about traveling than sharing them on my
forgotten beloved blog! I am currently packing (yet again) to move to a country I call my mother land despite having spent less than two months there in my twenty-four-years of life! I have accepted a television reporting job in Lagos, Nigeria and have a few more days until I’ll say adieu to my hometown Barnet, England. Question:
Since I am “returning” to my motherland, should I feel guilty about feeling slightly apprehensive about going?
Barnet is my hometown because I was born and raised in these neck of the woods. I attended nursery, infant, junior and secondary school in Barnet. I even half supported Barnet for most of my childhood — until I decided to remove the shackles of inevitable disappointment! In a nutshell, Barnet has always felt like home. Perhaps this is what rattled the cages of kids I grew up with that were angered that I supported Nigeria rather than England in the World Cup! To my fellow students, I was not only a traitor but off my trolley as well for supporting a country I had (at the time) never even visited. Bless their hearts — my Nigerian patriotism was probably too complicated to understand at the tender age of sixteen…
I grew up with my father telling me that on paper I am English but in my heart I must remember that I’m Nigerian. Aided by detailed lectures from my dad after asking questions such as how many states are there in Nigeria, I became deeply interested in Nigeria’s past, present and future. I didn’t travel to Nigeria until I was thirteen but from a very young age, I felt deeply connected to this far away place. In short — I’m a Londoner but a Nigerian at heart.
So as I soak in all the love I can get from my family and friends in the last few days I have left until I travel, I cannot rid myself of the feeling that I am going to miss my hometown more than ever. But why? After all, it’s not the first time I have had to say goodbye to my birthplace for an indefinite amount of time. I returned to London a few months ago– more than two years after moving to New York to study for a Masters. So what is it that makes this departure feel a million times more drastic? Funnily enough, it’s not the risk of armed robbery, shortage of electricity or even the increased kidnapping rate that’s got me rattled! Unfortunately it is the very industry I work in that has vastly contributed to my uneasiness about emigrating…
My sister was half amused yet afraid when I told her that because of all the Nollywood movies I had seen with demons fiercely present, I was scared most demons choose Nigeria as their home! Can you blame me?! If you have ever seen a Nollywood movie, despite “to God be all the glory” or “Praise be to God in the highest” and so forth being written at the end of a film, Nigeria is depicted as a God forsaken land! Watch the clip below to get a good idea about the use of demons in Nigerian films.
Perhaps the fact that I’m a bit of a scaredy cat is partly responsible for my fear of confronting a demon. In Nollywood movies, shouting “Jesus” seems to be a successful demon repellant but I’m praying beyond measure that I will never have to test this out :l
Jokes aside, I have received mixed reactions from friends and family members about my decision to further my career in Nigeria. I have definitely taken both the negative and positive comments on board but I have been most moved by words of encouragement about my upcoming move. When I was told by an auntie that Nigeria needed reporters like myself, I was reminded about a conversation I had with one of my favourite teachers while studying for my A levels in sixth form. After telling my teacher about some sort of misfortune that had occurred in Nigeria, his response was along the lines of this:
People like you really irritate me. You receive education here and receive knowledge that could benefit your motherland but instead of going back, you stay here with all the other knowledgeable people and complain about the place you won’t even help yourself.
More than five years after Mr. Khan said this to me, I find all the encouragement I need to move to Nigeria in his bitter-sweet dig. Wow, writing really is therapeutic! If I can use my British charm to get blood out of stone (get politicians to talk to me for a story) and contribute to accurate news stories Nigerian’s want to see, then it’s worth me facing some demons — not literally, please God not literally!
Anyway, I’m off to get some last-minute injections from a clinic to keep me disease free in Lagos. I will leave you with a video about the very best state in Nigeria — Akwa Ibom.