It was a sunny day. The sun was out in all its glory. I was feeling pretty good with myself knowing I was about to attend the final interview in a series of interviews just to get a job in a multinational company. In fact, I was in a celebrating mood feeling cocksure that I was going to get the job. Out of the 35000 applicants, we were streamlined to 100 by the aptitude test. After “jacking” my GMAT text from cover to cover and numerous current affairs pamphlets, I scaled from interview one to two and now, this was the final interview before I was going to get my appointment letter. It was just five of us applicants left.
My interviewer at the second interview was so impressed with my qualifications and my obvious intelligence that she assured me that I was going to get the job. Since that time, I’ve practically been on cloud nine. And why not? I’ve been combing the streets of Lagos for the past two years searching for a job; an ardous task in this harsh economic climate, so you can imagine my elation.
I strolled into the air-conditioned office with utmost confidence, handling my treasured file which contained my life’s achievements; my academic qualifications. I was the last of the five to get on the “hot seat”. I saw Miss Bimpe, the lady who assured me I was getting the job and I flashed her my most charming smile. She was a bit uptight about returning it today but I didn’t blame her. “Oga kpatakpata” was there with three other elderly officers I didn’t recognize so I took the seat offered me.
“Good afternoon sirs and madam.” I greeted cheerfully. Oga nodded curtly as the others stared at me vacantly, oblivious of my courtesy. I didn’t mind; I was going to get the job.
“Your documents please.” Oga said without a smile.
I silently handed them over. He went through the several impressive documents slowly and deliberately, nodding appreciatively, occasionally at my numerous achievements. I felt my heart beat faster in anticipation.
“Impressive.” He said, suddenly. I shifted expectantly on my seat.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to try again with us next time as we’ve already filled up our employment quota for this exercise.” He said emotionlessly handing back my file to me.
I felt like the weight of the world dropped on my head and a cold bucket of water splashed on me that I froze in shock. I couldn’t move!
“Have your file please.” He continued, his face bare of expression still handing my folder to me after what seemed like eternity had passed.
“But…but…” I stammered, desperately trying to respond but no coherent words came out of my lips. I stared desperately at Miss Bimpe but her head was down. The three other persons seemed to gauge my reaction with unfriendly interest.
“Take it.” Oga said curtly again. I collected my documents, stood unsteadily feeling rather dizzy with disappointment and walked dejectedly to the door. As I left the very cold…cold office, I felt hot tears well up my eyes which I struggled to hold back. I unconsciously sat at the waiting area outside the office staring vacantly with a mind totally blank with grief. The waiting area seemed to spin before my eyes. I was so confident that my breakthrough had finally arrived. I stared at my shoes; dusty, weather beaten, uneven from all the trekking on the streets of Lagos. Would I be able to bounce back from the depression that was bound to set in? I was this close! Now, I had to start afresh with the same frustrating process of job searching.
After a space of time of which I was totally unaware of people walking by and staring at my miserable disposition, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and I looked up, rather startled. It was Miss Bimpe.
“I’m so sorry about what happened back there.” She said with genuine sympathy.
I had nothing to say so I kept mute and continued to stare vacantly.
“The director received a call this morning from one politician asking him to place his people for the advertised vacancy.” She whispered. I looked at her in shock and she shrugged helplessly and walked away.
I couldn’t hold the tears no more. They strolled from my eyes down to my lips. The saltiness seemed to wake me up vocally.
“Why?” I cried. “Why is Nigeria like this?”
I stood up finally, ensuring that my most prized treasure was complete and intact and walked out into the blazing sun. The sudden anger that gripped me after my tears dried up could best be described as volcanic.
I wanted to lay my hand on that politician who had just deprived me of what I deserved, what I had worked so hard for and just slowly and methodically choke the life out of him for making my life hell.
I wanted to tell him, while I choked him to death about how I’ve suffered because his kind refused to do what is right.
I wanted to tell him the insults I’ve received because people think I’m lazy when I’m not.
I wanted him to feel the pain that comes with despair when a system you depend on to enable you, disarms and demoralizes you.
I wanted him to remember every single naira, dollar, pound sterling and euro he had ever stolen in his life that were carefully lodged in his bedroom, local banks and accounts all over the world; how as he took his final breaths, as he died under my clamp-like grip, feel the despair that he would never get to spend a worthless kobo ever again.
I wanted him for realize the futility of his life’s effort – just as I felt right now.
I wanted him to know that his wife was going to assemble of an entourage of younger and more handsome men with his ill-acquired wealth to service her sexual needs when he was gone.
I wanted him to know that his numerous concubines who were forced into prostitution because of the deteriorating economic situation would go on and make something beautiful out of their lives.
I wanted him to know that his children were all going to end up as junkies, alcoholics and sex-slaves for the deprivation he caused many so that they may live in abundance.
I felt better after those vile thoughts crossed my mind. I thought about the millions of youths like me on the streets in Nigeria; unemployed graduates burning with energy to contribute their own quota to nation building but held back by the capricious living of these few enemies of progress who have crippled the economy of this nation with mindboggling corruption and seek to perpetuate themselves till a dried out husk is all that is left of this country.
Imagine if we all united; an army of revolutionaries with one common purpose, with one common goal – unseating these parasites that have bled us dry and continue to foist themselves upon us and bringing them to justice for their crimes against humanity.
That time draws close.
Malcolm O. Ifi.
Engage on twitter @saymalcolm