Maya Angelou, the great American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist said, “I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”
Truly, one’s destination in life becomes murky if they do not have a clear sense of where one is from. Small wonder the first black President of America, Barack Obama, is a Negro American who easily traces his roots to Kenya, in Africa.
Likewise, the first female vice president, Kamala Harris, a woman also of negroid extraction, understands her provenance with certitude.
These two have no ambiguity about where they are from and this seems to have played a major role in driving them to their destinations. They are cast in contrast to a great crowd of Negro Americans, who have done well for themselves and have strove through extremely difficult circumstances to attain great heights, as far as America and the world are concerned, there seem however to be something missing – that inability to reach the acme.
Upon this thesis, lies the principle of the ‘born throways’. Born throway is an extremely derogatory term in Nigerian parlance and is not one that anybody would want to be described by. It refers to someone who may be useless or lost due to circumstances beyond their control. I daresay that this derogatory appellation, especially the later sense of its use, may just apply to a vast majority of Nigerian offspring in the Diaspora. These progenies of Nigerians the world over, lack even a modicum of a sense of origin, and may thus never have a true sense of where they ought to be going in life generally. They are like lost souls and may remain irreconcilably so.
One uses the word ‘may’ as no situation is irredeemable and no path, irretraceable. Who would have thought that a panacea for such a seemingly retractable situation would present itself in the candidacy of Peter Obi?
In Peter Obi’s candidacy is hope rekindled for our erstwhile lost Diaspora offspring. They hope that they may, someday soon, be able to return to Nigeria – a Nigeria that is working. They would want to put their hands on the plough in the process of rebuilding, and say with pride, “I am a Nigerian, I am from Nigeria and I will live in Nigeria.”
There remains a critical bridge between this soon-to-be forever-lost Nigerian offspring and the yet lost but easily found ones. By this, I refer to those, who although in different parts of the world, still remember Nigeria as home and still have memories of Nigeria, however fleetingly. With this set lies the burden of responsibility as the proverbial ball is in their hands. They must do this for their children and generations unborn, lest they become ‘born throways’ and lost in a foreign land – a land where they will never really be accepted.
The time is now for all of us to rally around and galvanise support for Peter Obi, for he seems, at the time, to be the only earthly hope for Nigeria and her children. The Diaspora community MUST deploy all its resources to ensure that Peter Obi emerges the next president of Nigeria. And in so doing, would not only be helping millions of Nigerians who have and may never be able to escape the hellhole, but would most importantly prepare a home their children can come back to settle and appreciate their heritage.
Feel free to hate me all you want, and hull all manner of invectives at me, because I have called your children ‘born throways,’ I don’t care. Who the eff am I really? I have spoken the truth; you only need to pick up the gauntlet and save our lost children.
Eben Ledion writes in and out of Nigeria.