Even being in the diaspora, I could not bear the trauma that came with watching the horrific videos of soldiers shooting at non-violent protesters on October 20, 2020. I shed tears. I was worried. I asked myself several questions, but I never arrived at answers. Some of my friends became numb and could not do anything for one week. Why? Because our brothers and sisters were shot dead and their bodies are nowhere to be found.
After the killings, it did not end there. The Nigerian government began the hunt for and the unconstitutional arrest of protesters. With many concluding that we are back to the 1990s, the years of General Sani Abacha. Many of us, now hold the belief that Nigeria no longer practices democracy but autocracy.
Also, following the #ENDSARS protest, I became a regular user of Twitter. On Twitter, I met David Hundeyin.
After I read David Hundeyin’s disguise goodbye to Nigeria, his friends, and his followers I became emotional. My conclusion, which I invariably personalized is that “I love Nigeria, but Nigeria does not love me.” Hundeyin said in the screenshots he posted on Twitter on November 16, 2020, “In the aftermath of the Lekki Massacre, a friend whom I left in the UK when I returned to Nigeria in 2013 asked me, ‘Do you regret moving back to Nigeria? Do you wish you had done things differently?’” According to him, he did not regret his decision. He wanted his freedom and wanted a place where he does not have to hide his Africanity. He added, “This decision was made easier by the idea that Nigeria was witnessing deepened democratic freedom, trade liberalisation, tech-driven innovation, and a society that was opening up to new ideas. Africa appeared to be genuinely rising, and at least until 2015, I was having the time of my life.” Here he is in 2020, 7 years after, Hundeyin exits Nigeria. I presume for the good.
This was my coded "goodbye Nigeria" column a couple of weeks ago. Nobody read between the lines, which was probably just as well, but I'm bringing it back for the benefit of non-subscribers. pic.twitter.com/Gl2ZHNr5aQ
— David Hundeyin (@DavidHundeyin) November 16, 2020
In him, I see a man that is self-aware and self-critical. I see a man who is a non-conformist. He wanted to see a liberal state that serves all its citizens in Nigeria. Alas, for him, the reverse is the case. I must say that the outcome of the END SARS protest fast-tracked Hundeyin’s exit from his beloved country.
Though, this is not about Hundeyin but about how I feel about Nigeria and myself.
I love Africa. I love Nigeria. But with the recent happenings that are ongoing, I doubt if my continent and country truly love me. I have strong hope and desire to someday return to Nigeria to contribute to her greatness with my knowledge and wealth. But I deeply doubt if I will not end up becoming like Hundeyin who left after witnessing the inhumane treatment of the Nigerian youths in 2020 (Moreover, as a vocal person and a journalist, Hundeyin might have no other choice but to leave).
I also see myself in Hundeyin, a verbose and non-conformist. When I get into conversations with friends, I vent my anger. Daily, when I go on Twitter to catch a glimpse of what is new, I often wonder if we can ever have an Africa, a Nigeria of our dreams.
Would I return to this “generalissimo nation” or not? I hope that I would not end up like David Hundeyin.
Today, we remember the victims of the 20.10.2020 #Lekkimassacre and extrajudicial killings in Nigeria. We will not forget. Our prayers are that justice is served and Nigeria becomes a better nation that fulfills the expectations and desires of her citizens.