Today, I was devastated, when I learned about the death of a guy I had known. He died about five years ago, but I just learned about it today. The guy, Aaron (not his real name) had graduated from one of Nigeria’s most respected universities and was still unemployed when he died. The lack of job compelled him to live with friends. This was how he came to live with my younger sibling and how i got to know him.
Aaron was not one of those everyday graduates, dudes who are just graduates in name, but not in character. There was something about him that made him different. He had bags of music CDs of the most elegant American and Nigerian music artists, and seemed to read so much about the artists whose music he collected. His exotic understanding of pop music obviously worked to shape his colorful mindset. Sincerely speaking his passion for music was not just unique, but it also helped to shape his lifestyle more than I had ever seen.
The story of how he died is a flip side of the expectations of folks who knew him. I know that by now you are curious, wanting to know how he died. The answer is: he died of paranoia, to use that word loosely. That is what kills many brilliant university graduates in Nigeria today, the thought that people have a high expectation of them, even when there is a chance you will not meet up. It is paranoia because a lot of people are not always thinking about you.
In Plateau State, where I live, there is a highly a toxic chemical youths turn to when frustrated by the path their lives have taken. It is sold as alcohol, but to me it is purely a suicidal stuff. Perhaps you know ogogoro and its harmful potency. I can tell you that the stuff is multiple times stronger than ogogoro. The fact that Aaron turned to it, and drank like a fish, clearly told me he wanted to die –if those who swarm the joints where the stuff is sold are on one end of a spectrum, he was at the other end of the spectrum.
It is said that he died of hepatitis, but I still link his death to suicide. What such chemicals do to their victims is liver damage. Once the liver is weakened by this acid, it is easy for hepatitis to invade it, and as such one can still say that the chemical is the direct cause of death.
I think that the solution to a job mirage should not be in embracing a squalid and murderous path, just because you think that you are not going to live up to the expectations of others. First, people are not always thinking about you. This is because they have their own problems and spend a greater part of their time thinking about them. Secondly, if you think that people who know you in your town are always looking up to you do become a hero when, to you, the road does not exist, you can depart that town to another town where you are not known or where not many people know you.
People ask: how can I just go to a town where I don’t know anybody and be expected to survive? If you are a job explorer you don’t go to a town without opportunities. In Nigeria the towns to go would no doubt be places like Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt. There you will find many people like you with whom you will pacify one another. And my own experience has taught me that in a strange town people you have known from your own town aren’t the ones to help you. Rather, completely strange persons would be the ones to help you. When I traveled to Port Harcourt the only rectal exit I had known was my close confidant on campus. I was surprised at how fast he had changed. I resolved that I was not going to chicken out and run away. To my surprise folks from Delta State, Edo State, Abia State, Imo State, Lagos, etc became my refuge in Port Harcourt. It was how I found my footing and lived in the Garden City for six years.
You should not go to a university and come out to live a murderous life, because of other people who look forward to seeing you in the clouds. You have to think about this deeply.