An Open Letter To The Youths Of Akwa Ibom State

29 Sep
By Clayton ”Bane” Udoh
Clayton Udoh

Clayton Udoh

My Dear Brothers And Sisters,
                                                  
                                                  The bible talks about the children of Issachar who were experts in discerning the times and seasons. Hence they were able to make educated decisions. 
So where should I begin ? I will start by saying I am not an elitist. I am someone who was whipped in Primary School back home. Went through all the rigors of doing Morning duty in boarding school and cutting grass with a highly barbaric cutlass in the name of compound duty.  I was a person who went to the stream like others and fetched water with a highly unsafe iron pail and walk with the water on my head uphill. Yes at some point, I had the size 50 container put on my head and I would need people to bring the water down from my head. 
I experienced the black outs and the lack of water running from a faucet.
My university days was something else and when I look back at the practices of the lecturers in the name of enriching themselves, and enlarging their lives, their freedom to sleep around with their female students, while we received a substandard education, it was as criminal as it gets .Then there was the lost,cult boys,future 419 guys, everybody thinking that you had to work for an Oil company to be called human etc. 
                              However, I finally went for my Youth Service and I met an Igbo guy that would forever change my life. We used to discuss and drink beer into the wee hours of the night. I told him I was an American citizen by birth and he made it clear to me that he had no story to tell than the fact that he would contact me once he was out of Nigeria. One thing was clear to both of us,we needed to get out. He always thought big and he refused to be a hero worshiper.
So what is my point in this story ? It was first a dream ,we held onto a dream and we believed that it will happen no matter what. Our lives were sworn to the dream and we made up our minds that we will rather die than the dream be cut short. Our drive was simple, we will not be involved in the corruption and that we want to live good too. Our dream was the only way our descendants would have a chance at a real life.
I had seen it all, the dehumanizing effect of fighting over money given to the youths by corrupt politicians. While I was standing in the hall, watching the youths engage in slapping the life out of each other over the crumb money, I would wonder,”How come he has the money and we are killing ourselves over the crumbs?” 
Yeah,after sitting in a Taxi cab that had us packed like Sardines from Abak to Uyo ,then you would finally make it to the “secret” location for a political meeting only to discover it was jam packed .Someone would come to address you , some political fat cat and you could see it oozing out of him. He is privy to information that is withheld from you,he is privy to funds that is withheld from you ,he is privy to opportunity that is withheld from you ,he is privy to the life you so desperately want to have. I mean the playing field is so uneven and you just stand there in the crowd listening to someone speak that in normal cases nothing he says would be worth your time and emotions. 
The person addressing you is not the sponsor involved in the scholarship that was awarded to you, or the Agricultural grant given to your Dad, or the new job your sister acquired and is packing her things to go for training in Germany. His standing to talk to you is based on a system in which he has taken all that rightfully belongs to you !
It was amazing that I would revisit the lives of such individuals while I was still in Nigeria ,teaching in a Senior Secondary School and behold even with all that they had acquired and had looted they had become broke like church rats. 
So what was the use ? The politics I was struggling for, is the same that my Father’s mates were trying to get into and is the same that men, old enough to be my Grand Father,were still marking time for. When would they ever retire and allow me to have a chance ? They hustle until the day they die and hence you hear of the professional politician ? People playing politics like it is an everlasting job ?
Today I would never describe myself as a millionaire but I can tell you that I am self-sufficient. I have seen enough that no man can wow me and I have developed myself enough to the point that I can never be under anybody based on a system that deprives me of all that I am entitled and gives it to the political fat cat. I can say to every youth I would meet ,that your dream should be about breaking out of the system and becoming sufficient to where the stolen money and the proceeds from it does not wow you. 
Last week in my Linked In account, I received an email from one Geophysical Engineer residing in Dublin working for Shell. It was Okoro the Igbo guy I knew during my Youth Service. He stuck to his guns and he followed his dreams and he made it. In the letter he reminded me about how stupid our dreams sounded then but like he told me, he was not going to sacrifice his dreams for a life of servitude to men. Nor was he ready to spend a whole lifetime regretting about what he could have been in the end. He stuck to his dreams and he pursued it relentlessly and one day he realized that ,” This is me drinking a glass of beer here in Scotland” . 
What is your dream ? When will you realize that no man on earth can make your dream come true?  When will you realize that there is always a price to pay for anybody who claims he will do the most for you (nothing is free) ? When will you realize that you are the only person that can execute your dream more than anybody can ever do for you,because only you can perceive the dream in your mind. 
I have heard the complaints about the lack of money and resources. What would you say ,if I told you, that less than 0.75 % of the successful people on earth, had the resources at hand to execute their dreams. For others,they knew there was a dream but how it would come to fruition was another story entirely. It was like driving in the night on a highway,you could only see so far, but as the journey continued the pathway was continuously revealed to you by the headlights.
Like the Children of Issachar could you ever study the system and the season and begin to make decisions that are not because of your own selfish desires but for the good of your descendants ? Could you explore and bring to bear a ruthless determination to succeed that overshadows the nonsense and darkness the politicians have brought on the land ? 
The internet has the phone number of  hundreds of  Admissions Officers for the myriads of university websites worldwide,could you rather call that number and begin an adventure that could surprise you ? Instead of recording another person with that phone to go and give to a political fat cat so that he could give you crumbs ?
Could you learn another language or skill or do something that can put you in a position in which you are needed badly in Tokyo ? Do you have a dream fit for a living God ? A dream that makes God stand up on his throne because such dreams can only be executed by a God?  Or does your dream revolve around PDP and the political fat cats ? Does your dream revolve around four year political terms in Nigeria which involves you being covered in juju to survive every cabinet shakeup ? Does your dream involve you wishing  that the political fat cat depends on you to kill his enemies? Do you also feel those people you will destroy will die in vain and that your descendants will be blessed ? Does your dream revolve around Obong owo ? Honorable ?
I leave you with one fact,you cannot attain anything that you cannot visualize. The guy with a private Yacht worked towards it and knew that when it is time he will get it. The guy driving a Ferrari worked towards it with intent. That’s why a man can have a lot of money and drive a Lexus or Mercedes Benz while another would drive an Alfa Romeo or Maseratti,you can only acquire what you know. You can only acquire what you visualize in your dreams. For some of us our place of origin has become our death trap.
I almost fell into that trap when I was in Nigeria, trying to be the perpetual holy person, fasting, praying, attending prayer night, attending prayer convention, waiting for my message from Angel Gabriel. Using the blood of Jesus all over my body like one would use soap while bathing. Meanwhile faith without works is dead.
You have prayed for Twenty to Thirty years now. From the time you popped out of your Mom you have been taken to church and you have been in church ever since. Is God deaf? When will you finally make that move knowing that God is with you and it is time for you to rather put your God to the test as it is written in the scriptures ? I say this knowing that I received emails from my classmates in Uniuyo from places like Equatorial Guinea to Canada to Australia to Alaska to Algeria. What are you waiting for ????? 
On the other hand ,if your dream is in Uyo, for how long can you smile with the guy that behaves like you are a second class citizen?  You are not fit enough to be privy to information,you are not fit enough to be privy to funds like he is,you are not fit enough to have a job like he has, your right to begin to live a little bit decently will be considered based on how well you praise and worship him. You will spend your life watching every single project be completed in the state and you will not have any information to become part of it and you will not be allowed to even supply a pencil to the cause, there will be no jobs paying a living wage just so that you remain poor so that he can use you to do his bidding.
However a new day has come, you do not have a job and you are surrounded by a myriad of empty promises. Yep, you have fine roads in your neighborhood but it wil take a miracle for you to even have a car to drive on it. Forget marriage you cannot afford it. Paying the rent is like climbing a mountain.Your intelligence has been insulted, you are broke as hell, trying to survive by being a member of a facebook team of a political fat cat. He doesn’t care !!!
For sure when you see him you will call him “Honorable” or  “Obong” no matter his conduct as an administrator,so why should he be careful of how he handles your future?  Have you not stared at the Volcano enough? It releases smoke and shakes the ground and is huge and hot and releases lava with promises of an eruption or earthquake that never happens but what have you gained from it ? It is time you went and found your own fishing net and stop collecting fish from the fat cat.
At what point do you realize that it is time you stopped screwing around ?  “Honorable” never found you a dime when your Mom was on the hospital bed, he was no where to be found when you were trying to survive during Youth Service, he never paid a single dime towards your school fees and some of you have slept around enough to raise the money, In every key point of your life “honorable” did nothing to help. What makes you think he cares about you now? The governorship campaign crumbs ? Find your vision and run with it . Everybody cannot be a politician !  
When you are successful in life, it is hard for you to even consider getting your nice clothes dirty by running with the ballot box in your hands in the bush. You will not enjoy sitting on those low benches in the primary schools for those local political meetings,the only way to make you do that is to keep you poor and our leaders know this secret and will always give you the crumbs to eat. Then there is the thing Oyinbo call the “Butterfly Effect”. 
If you have spent your life worshiping a person it is most likely your children will also worship their children. It is the curse of the peasant.
You do not have to go far to see this, in London there are a lot of people who worshiped Queen Elizabeth and their children are now worshiping the Queen’s Grandkids(William and Henry).A worship that unfortunately has nothing to do with a personal knowledge of the character in question.
There are a lot of American Congressmen whose parents also served in the congress and their supporters now are the children of those who supported their parents. Guy claims he comes from a long line of pilots in his family and you claim that you come from a long line of those who sit in a plane as passengers !There is the butterfly effect and what are you going to do to make sure that your lot in life is not repeated among your children? 
The secret is you changing your dreams and your belief system and the world around you will change. The colors you see now is based on the glasses you are wearing to perceive things around you,change the color of the glasses and what you see changes also.   
Do not forget the children of Issachar,they studied the atmosphere and were able to discern things that looked flashy but had no iota of stability in it and rather made wise decisions not based on the hunger in their stomach but based on the love they had for their unborn children.
They knew what was worth taking serious and what was not worth taking serious and they pursued things that were honorable before God. Things that are pure and honorable devoid of bloodshed, juju, political nonsense and greed. The divine dream.
The nation perishes for lack of a vision and the people die for lack of knowledge as written in the scriptures. However there is salvation for the person who visualizes the pathway for themselves and their descendants and begins a journey with God to attain that promise made to them from the beginning of time.
 —Udoh writes from Mesa, Arizona
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