SKY IS THE LIMIT
I learned one thing from this experience; all that glitters isn’t gold. It all started out innocently enough; a wedding. The plot was unfolding before I left the U.S.A but I didn’t have the slightest idea of what was really going down. I flew to London. for a wedding, family that welcomed me with open arms and their friends made me feel at ease. I had been going through some rough changes without letup; I needed a break. The wealth indicated in the ceremony and pageantry aroused my curiosity; who were these people? I left London. with a seven figure salary and an appointment with Africa.., Nigeria to be precise. I felt good about my future and the work I was set to do with the company. I got back to London after two months of reprise in America; the paper work was held up in Nigeria. The tic for tack was running strong in the embassies and halls of government; visas and passports had become a weapon. We were moving fast after the deal was approved; on to Paris. I was given a position on the board of directors and signed a contract worth millions of euros just for starters. I enjoyed Paris. We were off to Luxembourg for another round of talks and signings; more multimillion euros contract and a promotion to boot. I was to go back to the main plant after returning to London to assemble a package for the office in Nigeria, it was a priority job. The routine in Wadgassen was simple; go to work, eat, and go to sleep. The town was a sleepy relic of the olden days existing right now. The weeks went by and kept focused on my work. I got back to London, stayed a few days and loaded up for my trip to Abuja, the capitol of Nigeria. The night flight was rough and bumpy. I was greeted at the airport and swished to the home of my friend and employer. The hustle and bustle caught my attention from the onset; survival. I was introduced to the all the right people from the pulpit to the halls of power in the Ministry. I was introduced as the American Computer Genius who would help save the steel industry in Nigeria. I played my role from the bush to the Presidents Palace; I was prepared for this job.
I felt a storm brewing when my financial disclosure, check amount, was inadvertently laid out on a desk for everyone to see placed a wedge between me and the peons. I was given the cold shoulder by many of the men that would later be under my supervision. I began to have lady friends and the cat came out the bag; I allegedly had acquired a year’s lease on a suite at the Embassy Suites for this reason; things had evolved into messy. I was being watched and admonished to slow down in uncertain terms but this wasn’t the real problem. The project was put on whole. My counterparts in Europe. were ordering cars, laptops, and expense accounts while I was sent to the bush to represent the company at the mine. I was able to merge with the land and contemplate life from the womb of my spirit. I overcame all my pain and consolidated my realization of the ultimate truth into a daily process. My strength came back in the sense that America drains you every moment with all the media exposure and perceptual twisting but Nigeria reunites the bond with nature and nurture. I was going down that dangerous road on the way to Okene in Kogi State when it prevailed on me the dichotomous structure of this country. I got out of the vehicle and fraternized with the people and saw how they lived. It was a cultural shock and a depressive that would haunt me the rest of my stay in Africa. What had happened that a few had so much and the many had so little? I would help for the rest of my time in Africa; giving to those who can’t give back the way. A big shot asked me was I a charity; what if I was? The trust me and my employer dissolved as my freedom ways betrayed his plan. I was his American nigger; articulate, well dressed, and friendly. He could not have asked for more since everyone I met could sense I was serious about making a difference in Nigeria, it was not rocking the boat talk I indulged in but talk of the importance of ….Nigeria…. in the destiny of civilization. The ramification of nation building with all the tools at its disposal was a God send; it cannot be avoided. We were in the Big Ministers Office, “Do you trust him?’ he asked my employer and friend, and he didn’t answer. I felt a hole in my hopes of being able to finish my mission begin to grow that day. I lost respect for him and his dream; I had given my time and efforts to make this project a success. He had just used me. I don’t blame him though because the enemy was within; the ministers, directors, lawyers, and procurement squad had it in for him and his European friends. They would rather see the Itakpe Iron Ore Mine rust than see them operate it again; the taste of colonialism was still there. The Indians had spoiled the steel industry in ….Nigeria…. from the top to the bottom with their international strategic plan which went unnoticed by the steel department. The price of steel had fallen at the time when the rejuvenation of the steel industry was on the minds of the budget people so it has become even more difficult to transfer money on. ….Nigeria…. has a choice to make regardless of the price of steel, regardless of the politics, regardless of the Europeans, regardless of the rust; choose to operate in the realm of a super nation or choose to wait for Tarzan to save it.
I think about those days when hunger shone from my friends eyes and a good meal made it OK again. I remember the children begging after church in the streets, the mothers sitting in the heat with no food to eat and I had it to give. Maybe one of those days saved a life or saved a destiny, was it all fate? Those days when we laughed out loud and retained our humanity in the midst of chaos; days I will never forget. I remember the tears we shared because God might not let me make it back to ….Nigeria….; hurting days they were. I made no promises. I just keep running with Jesus. God bless ….Nigeria…..