When I was a kid, my elder brother and I had a lovely pastime. It was a pastime we never thought could leave us; and that’s if we never got to leave it. Today, I am not sure to what degree one has left the other. Today is Nigeria’s independence day (53rd celebration of this? Wow) and it is nostalgic. I’ll rather not stare at the television screens for too long. That’s because I do not want tears to run down my face the way they did when I was a kid, staring at the television screens on Nigeria’s Independence days. I cried, inwards to outwards and I wondered why my brother never cried – maybe he cried inwardly – every time we saw other children like us, probably not looking as fine as I thought I was, marching proudly to loud beats of drums and high pitched rendering of the Nigerian national anthem.
What worsened my condition was the very expectation of a knock every year’s Independence day, or the eve of it, by some person dressed in military or paramilitary style, pleading with my elder brother and I to join in the children’s parade for Independence. I thought after all, Nigeria was a country for us all. And all the children of the country were expected to march on special days like this. If not all, at least the bright ones like us. My brother and I were that ingenious (pardon the little note of pride in it. Just thought to report how I feel in retrospect) that we set aside a room in my father/mother’s house at the then Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria. This room became a country; a country we could call ours, very real as far as we were concerned, far removed from what people refered to as Nigeria – a country we never believed was real, just an imaginary idea as we were only able to imagine everything about the country Nigeria. So, we created our own country – Lupek, the exposition of which will be for another day (But for now, we should be content with the meaning of Lupek – Love, Unity, Peace, Endurance, Knowldege). These are virtues my brother and I still keep today. Don’t ask where we are now. We had a President, Governor of our Central Bank, Ministers etc. We created commodities to trade with (mindful of our national GDP). These items were drawn and cut-out pieces of paper; including most-importantly paper pigs, paper goats,blah blah blah. Our major national revenue source was BOILED MAIZE. We created our own paper currency too – The Lupe. There was enough of it – too much, maybe; a reality that dawned on us after our own World War and we were vanquished by the enemy. The enemy being an Uncle, who sternly asked that Continue reading