A Letter To My (unborn) Son on Father’s Day, by Tolulope Alabi

Barack Obama, US' 44th elected president. His father was a Kenyan student in the US

Dear (unborn) Son,

It’s another father’s day and I can but imagine how sad you will be right now and the hundred questions that certainly will be running through your mind. Son, you can’t blame me for keeping you waiting this long, nor can you blame me for not getting married to your mother who also might anxiously be waiting for me. Son you can’t blame me for any of these things. In truth I do not know which of the many excuses to give this year for not having you in my life already; neither can I say which of all the myriads of problems that abound is responsible for this mess I found myself. Should I start with the state of our nation or the state of my personal state? Son, let me start from where you might understand.

Since we have last spoken a year ago when I made those promises that I will be coming for you soon, son, I am yet to secure a job, in fact I couldn’t feed myself without depending on handouts from relatives and families, what kind father does that son? What type of father will find it difficult to be able to provide for his family? I don’t want you my son to have such a father. As you must have realized how hard working and responsible I am, unfortunately in the part of our world you can’t get a job based on the premise you’re hard working and responsible alone, without knowing someone at the top or without having ‘somebody’ as a parent one will always be define as lazy and irresponsible. Unfortunately like the proverbial cheese I stand alone since I have no one at the top, neither I am a child of ‘somebody’ in the society.

Since the past one year son, I joined other young millions of unemployed youths to vote a change ,hoping the old way of doing things in this sphere will pass away and maybe start the long overdue trek to greatness, thus we voted for Buhari someone who has ruled before, someone who ruled before your father was born. Thinking we might have in him someone who understand the feeling of the masses. Thinking his narrative of ‘him being a poor Fulani cattle man’ who as an ex president couldn’t boast of a house in Abuja? Made him a choice preference as to who will bring to an end the misery in our land. Thus we voted for this man who promised us change, against the other man who doesn’t have a pair of shoes while going to school. But Son, since the beginning of this new regime, a little over a year ago, things have not changed for the better, in fact things are getting harder my Son.

When the going gets tough the tough get going, desperate, I was about to abandon my search for white collar job, burn my degrees and go back to the village to farm. But the governor of my State who should have been the one to help with capital and other incentives prefer to invest in stomach infrastructures (whatever that mean) so, farming as lowly as they have made it here in our sphere was not even a reprieve for my poor unemployed soul. Looking up at the centre, waiting for good things to come forth from the change we voted for in the last election, but son things didn’t turn out to be as we desired.

Among such let down by this government of change, was the promise of millions of jobs, to be created every year, A year had gone bye and in truth and all sincerity they have been employing people but in a different manner. Not long ago it began to emerge that our new overlords have started employing their own kids in juicy and choice government ministries and parastatals. First we heard of the CBN secret recruitment, the Central Bank of Nigeria secretly employed close to 900 children of ‘who is who’ in the land, the children of ‘VIPs’. As for the children of ordinary ‘Ps’ like me, we had no chance at all, how can I compete for a job with the son of the Inspector General of Police? These children of VIPs have since started working and making good money, (the type if which I am paid half of it I will be able marry your mother and bring you to life and maybe celebrate next year father’s day together).

Like I said earlier son, the list of those employed include the names of the children of who is who in government, children of our new overlords and their compatriots who supported them in their bid to get to power (definitely a better way not only to replicate themselves in power, but also to reward themselves for being loyal to this change of theirs) and son, the children of ordinary ‘Ps’ are left pondering.

Son, not long after this a similar secret employment in another government parastatal took place (a parastatal ran with our commonwealth can you imagine). The Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS, another juicy parastatal of the government, where many dreamt of working. Even though this particular parastatall had asked millions of unemployed youths to ignore the recruitment advertorials that we saw daily on the social media, calling it a scam since the parastatal is not recruiting at that particular time. Hearing that news filled most with the hope that soon we might have the opportunity to apply and serve our father land. But to our utmost surprise (or no surprise at all) we heard that FIRS had recruited some 400 staffs secretly, this wicked act did not only fall short of government practices but also of due process. Again to the chagrin of the masses, the feigned ignorance on the part of our only ally in the government (Mr. President) on these illegal recruitments made the situation terribly worst and disappointing.

Son, in contradiction to all of the above they (our new overlords) opened to the public the Nigerian Police Force recruitment exercise, ( I am sure because they need people like me your future father, a son of a nobody to protect them and probably expected to sacrifice his life doing just that). Son about a million of us unemployed youths applied for this job and guess how many slots the Nigerian Police Force is going to fill- Just a meager 10000 slots (LWKMD). Son, within these hundred days of comedy, the new overlords increased the pump price of fuel! This was sequel to a gruesome artificial scarcity that lasted for about 5 months. Already, the scarcity of fuel within those 5 months had led to an increase in the price of virtually every commodity in the market. By the time our new overlords woke up from their slumber (having realized that its an increase in fuel price that will solve this peculiar mess) to announce an increase in the fuel pump price, inflation rate was already around 13% and the price of every item was further increased, going beyond all projected extremes and boundaries, in fact son, the last few weeks in the land was nothing but a sheer hell. Garri our cheapest and most accessible food commodity is now being sold for 250 Naira per Kongo against the initial price of 120 Naira, a bag of rice our staple meal is now 17000 per bag against 9000 Naira before the increase in fuel price. The NBS announced a 16% inflation rate for the month of June (a first in our history as a geographical expression)

Son, not only is our new overlords had successfully increased electricity tariff without increasing the level of output of electricity being generated they were able to achieve it without incurring the wrath of the labor unions in this country.

Thus we live one day at time with no hope in the horizon for the common man.

So son, these are just few in a million of what have happened in the last one year which directly or indirectly did determine our fate.

I hope one day I will fulfill that promise to bring you home to this world honorably, I hope one day you will be here with me celebrating with…. and sharing stories of what it’s to be a father in our sphere.

Even though I can’t wish myself happy father’s day again this year neither can I wish anyone same due to the state of turmoil in mind. But know this my son ‘my not being your father today was not as a result of my laziness nor stupidity, but as a result of circumstance I found myself which is beyond my power’.


Tolulope Alabi is graduate student at the University of Ibadan Nigeria.

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