Those days in Naija though very young (born 199..), I really enjoyed myself…
I was listening to this programme on radio called “Nigba Tiwa ( it is a programme that bring in oldies to talk about their time as children) and the guest for that particular episode while narrating how things were during their time did mention that one of those things they competed with those days was neatness, they made sure their clothes were not dirty and well ironed because they would not want to be embarrassed by any teacher for being dirty.
I may be quite young, but I do remember meeting something like that in my primary and secondary school days, I remembered pupils/students would rather miss school than go in dirty uniforms or decide to hang around until assembly is over before they come in because they know they would be openly flogged and disgraced and as big boys and girls now, they wouldn’t want that to happen…I wonder if any teacher can still try such with any student today?
How did we get to this point, yes how? While growing up and even now, it is always a pleasure to listen to my dad tell me beautiful stories of how things were back then in Nigeria, this same Nigeria, and after each story, I just wonder and ask how did we get here?( topic for another day)
These days, a whole lot of things seem to have changed, life is now “care free” so to say, people no longer give a damn.
These days, you see children walking the street dirty, going to school in dirty uniforms, some even have their lunch box taken to school just as it is without being washed the next day, because mum or dad was too busy to check.
Home work, don’t even go there, these days, lot of children go back to school without doing their home work. I remember when we were growing up, though my mum, not so learned, ensures we do our homework, she checks our book to make sure that no page is missing, she check our nails, ears, uniform and everything everyday you get back from school, along the line, it became a routine that we were good at observing ourselves and she trusted us with the task overtime with only supervision once in a while, because of course she has inculcated that habit in us.
These days, I doubt if most parents have time for such, even the so called educated ones are worse.
As told, those days anybody( and even strangers) can correct a straying or stubborn kids, even if it has to do with beating, these days, even neighbours dare not try such as it would result into a fight even in the presence of the children, some Yoruba’s would even go as far as saying “ se mo fi egba omo mi le yin lowo ni? ( did I ask you to discipline my child for me), even teachers who have the right to correct , tread with caution, especially in private schools, you hit a child, prepare to look for another job, infact some parents would go as far as demanding for the sack of the teacher just because he beats their child.
Those days in Nigeria, I hear a stranger coming from far can decide to knock on anybody’s door to pass the night before continuing on his or her journey the next day, these days, both strangers and house owners don’t even trust themselves, how much more another unknown person, even neighbors try to play safe with themselves, how much more with strangers.
Those days I hear “wole-wole” as called in Yoruba( Sanitary inspection officers) go round houses and surroundings to check, as I hear, they go as far as checking your drinking water, your room, your clothes etc, just to make sure they are safe for you and if you are found wanting, there is a penalty and trust me, no one wants to face it, and this reminds me of a popular TV drama series back then, where the inspection officer got to a particular house and found “tanwiji” ( a kind of cockroach I think) inside their drinking water, the household knew it was trouble for them and to avoid government trouble, they had to cast a spell on the officer and he went mad and started the song that became popular back then which goes thus: wole wole ki lo ri…tanwiji wiji wiji tanwiji( inspector what did you see? I saw tanwiji)
That was how things were, government were concerned about the citizens, they could go as far as punishing them to get it right, not these days where they seem not to give a damn. (well with some exceptions though).
Those days schooling and learning was fun, you dare not come back home with bad grades at the end of the session ( ta lo fe fi jo), people compete with good things, the best grades, the neatest, the most outspoken etc, oh not these days, I don’t want to think about what our young ones compete with these days.
Respect for elders, that one has taken flee a long time ago (well, some of these elders are actually responsible for it sha) those days, a child would allow an elder go in front of them in a queue, they would stand for the elder to sit, these days, any elder that tries that (especially in a BRT queue) would get serious tongue lashing from the young ones( though am not saying there are no exceptions)
I can go on and on, and would not stop, but the truth is I miss those good old days, where students/pupils are inspected on assembly ground every morning, from their hair, to the nails etc.
Those good old days, when strangers and house owners trust each other with no fear of one attacking the other.
Those days, when elders know themselves as elders and the young ones accord them due respect.
Those days when jobs were ready made for graduate and the environment was conducive for entrepreneurs to grow.
Those days when people tell you “walahi” and you know they are being 100% sincere (not these days they have merely turned it into a slang.
Those days when we have more educative and informative programmes on radio and TV than now,
Those days when oh oh oh
Those days when being a child was fun.
And most especially, those days when evaporated and condensed milk was just N5.00k( oh I would drink milk everybody)
Oh I miss those good old days.