I’m at a point in my life, where I find myself almost a spectator of my own history. I think I’ve always sucked at making big decisions. I either try to delay it till I can’t anymore, or choose an option with a decision making process that may as well be rolling a die.
I feel like I’ve been really lucky with my decisions. They’ve turned out well mostly, and so it’s easy to fall into a lull, thinking all will be well without proper planning.
It’s also easy to want to reduce the art of making decisions to a science with its own universe of hard and soft rules. But I think gut feelings are a real thing, and I wouldn’t know how to express that with logic.
I left Lagos recently, for the city of Ibadan. It’s a decision I do not regret, maybe because it’s still too early to do so.
Everyone complains about Lagos.
The traffic, the heat, the stench, the blurred lines between residential and industrial areas, the LASTMA that sees you as awoof money, the pick pockets, the trucks that fall from the skies, the SARS officials who extort the youth, the crappy job opportunities …
As Lagosians, we’d gotten used to these things. So we stay, and do our best to rise above it all. We get SUVs, install air-conditioners, move into a dope Estate, and successfully ensconce ourselves from the chaos of it all.
I remember coming to Lagos after I’d spent a year in Osogbo, and another in Ilorin. I did not like the place. My dream a few months before, was to find a good job, and work out of Osogbo.
Osogbo circa 2014 holds a special place in my heart. I’d wake up, and there’d be electricity. I’d sleep with the fan on. Fewer vehicles meant the air was good. Fewer people meant the food was cheap.
In Lagos, I had to be at the junction at 5:40am, to join the staff bus to the office, and during one of such mornings, I had my first encounter with pick pockets.
In the following years, I did my best, like every working Lagosian, to safely ensconce myself from the chaos, and achieved it to a satisfying degree.
Until SARS happened.
The #EndSARS campaign showed me that toxicity will always find its way through a barrier.
I started noticing myself become afraid of the Police, the people who my taxes fund, to protect me. My heart would skip when I encounter a roadblock. I’d be afraid to leave my house unless I knew exactly where I was going to and through. I’d find myself rehearsing answers to typical police checkpoint questions, like “Who are you?”, and “What is your occupation?”
I found a semblance of peace in Ibadan, and coupled with the economic benefits of living in that city, the decision was easy to make.
Even though I think leaving was a good decision, the quality of a decision is always in the aftermath, which is yet to be seen.
Everyone working in the Nigerian tech scene will be faced with the decision to leave the country someday. It’s almost inevitable. The abroad offers better opportunities, and it beckons to everyone with a talent.
It used to be that staying in Nigeria, and earning in dollars while working remotely was the dream. Who wouldn’t want to eat their cake and have it?
Leaving everything and everyone you know to relocate, is no joke. And for many, patriotism is a safe space, so we don’t have to deal with such a hard decision.
That used to be me. Used to, because every day now, I see another reason to leave. Nigeria is getting increasingly harder to love.
I’d like to have a family someday, and if I have kids, I’d want them to have the best life ever.
One question that nags at me is,
Do I want my kids to complain about the same things I’m complaining about?
It’s December, the end of 2019, and for many, the end of a decade. January will look to the future, and back at the past. What the future holds, is decided today.