Can't we speak up?

no picture Abel Udoekene Jnr
Se registró el día 20 de mayo de 2012
  • Artículos

"Children, are the leaders of tomorrow" my class teacher said, that was her first time in our class, then, I was five years old.

As a very stubborn student, I was quick to stand up and challenge her: "But Ma’, I am the class prefect, I'm the leader of this class" I shouted with the admiration and cheers from my colleagues. But my comment didn’t go well with her as I was beaten and removed as the class prefect.

Her actions in and outside of the class suggested that the only time for us to talk or do anything was tomorrow and so we keep waiting for tomorrow, hoping that one day, tomorrow will come.

But as I climb the ladder of life, with my eyes fixed on tomorrow, my mind keeps reminding me of the strife, tears and sorrows entail in this life. "Can’t we speak up?"

“If we are the leaders of tomorrow, as they say, why can't they give us a chance to have a say in our tomorrow?"

These question and more keep ringing in my mind day after day. I remember when I was 17 years old, only a few months after writing the West African Certificate examination.There was a little gathering in our village and the gathering was organised by an NGO to enlighten the villagers about the benefits of University Education. There I was, representing my family in that gathering because my father was late, but looking around, I was the only youth in the town hall.

The meeting started as scheduled, and we were given series of talks and advice concerning the benefits of education to our village and the society. After the talk and advice, the floor was open for comments and questions, but to my surprise after five minutes, nobody was able to say anything, the house was silent and calm. But when I raised my hand, wanting to ask a question, some people were shouting “Sit down, abomination!”. It was as if the heaven has fallen, I was flogged publicly for insulting the elders. "Can’t we speak up?”

During the last two years, I was confronted with a puzzle: when I visited a primary school, I saw close to 10 children kneeling outside a class room, "What happened, why are you not in your class?,” I tried to ask one of them, as she was trying to tell me something, a cane from nowhere landed on her back, "Shut up," a man his mid-sixties shouted. "Who are you? Are you the governor? Are you.." but before he complete his question, I had lost myself in thoughts, trying to find out what we are turning into. Can’t we speak up?

Why can't they hear us out first before nagging? What is the true meaning of “children are the leaders of tomorrow” or is it just a another empty phrase?

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