My name is Adesina Alimi. I am a young Nigerian graduate who has heard tales of the better economy far away from the country of my birth. I was told other African countries do better than my country. I longed for more. I was hungry and passionate. People whispered that making it in Nigeria will require my grey hairs. This means I would not enjoy the fruit of my land neither my good effort at success until I am in my fifties or maybe sixties. I do not have the luxury to wait that long. I cannot even afford it. I am young, and I want to make it big, clean and quick.

When I close my eyes, all I see is snow, furs, good roads, stable electricity, and beautiful houses. I was desperate to leave the shores of this country. This country that has only offered me a roof, food, and peace of mind in its smallest measure. I needed to leave this comfort zone called my country to get to the better life I have always dreamt of.

The sun shined on me brighter when I met Mr. Obong who told me he could get me out of the country. Though, through illegal means but I would work at making it legal when I get there. I was elated. I hold the dignity in labor in high esteem. Working my way to the top is no problem. Mr. Obong fulfilled his promise. My family did not cease in thanking him.

However, I have been here for six months and I would give anything to go back home. To sit in traffic under the scorching sun while telling the gala seller to sell one of his wares to me.

By home I mean Nigeria.

The grass is indeed greener on the side where it is watered. I am in no prison here, yet I cannot walk freely. I work hard, yet I am paid meager because I work under the table. I dare not complain because that would mean going back home to my family empty-handed. I read the news and I see my fellow Nigerians experiencing slave trade the 21st Century way in other countries too. Though I am not physically in chains, I live in the confinement of an invisible prison. This is worse because no one can help me at a glance.

Today been Nigeria’s birthday made me realize I took her for granted. For the many things she has offered during every challenge, I did not appreciate. She is not perfect, but she gave me what I daily long for now, without asking for payment, a home. A place where I am welcomed. A place where my sense of belonging is not shut out. A home where love, peace exists. At least, I had a roof over my head.

Happy Birthday, Nigeria! May you become better with each passing day.

Happy Independence Day Nigerians!