South is a worthy and simple place to live, particularly to sociologists.
At the sunset, on Saturday, the first day of the first week of the first month of a new year. I trekked beside a road with rattling teeth and a fogged sight, looking for a bike to convey me to the station living the core North for South. On our arrival, I got the chance to buy the last ticket of the first trip. In a short time, the journey began.
It was my debut of a 48-hour journey in a Marcopolo bus amidst different people of religious and cultural diversity. The place was so noisy, likened to a market place. Some passengers were speaking in Yoruba, others Igbo and very few spoke Pidgin, while one chubby man by my side spoke impeccable English for at least two minutes on phone. As a Hausa/Fulani and a student of Sociology and Anthropology, I was seated by the car window, observing new things in the bus and from nature outside, logging into my social media handles. From Twitter to Facebook, from WhatsApp to Instagram, then, browsing about the South to get myself acquainted with the mental images of certain places while having nobody to exchange pleasantries as they do. Another Nigeria in Nigeria is to travel by Marcopolo bus.
The afterglows lingering on the eastern horizon disappeared, night spread its blanket, the day folded its worn out mat and paved way for the moon beam to rule the world.
Due to Fulaku, I couldn't take my cow milk given to me by my mother, while other people turned the bus to an eatery. When it was my bed time, a gentle sleep knocked my eyelids while I was afar from my Vita Foam Mattress, my ceiling fan that fans a lilting air to my body and my plasma TV that I always watch CNN News fastened at the wall. My stomach was seriously growling, tapeworms dancing the beating of drum of hunger. I was left with no option than to be sipping the milk bit by bit in hiding breaking the principle of Fulaku and dozed off for the first time in public which had never happen to me. What a knowledge out of the four walls of a classroom!
It was dawn. I didn't pray either of the three prayers I carried over. When it was sunup, Christian passengers of the ECWA extraction in the bus couldn't attend their Church for the "Sunday School" while their Catholic bretheren missed their "Mass" due to the non-stop of the bus.
As we left North far behind and few miles away to the South, I looked through the pane, the greenery of the forest smiling, trees waving hands. Different birds chirping far and near; loudly and slowly. The weather was so friendly. I was thrilled by the fresh and cool breeze and delved into an ocean of thought of living on the never-neverland. I seized thinking of home and anything therein. South was a paradise where every mortal dreams to live.
As we reached the capital city, a befriended fear and dreadful doubt belied my strength and turned my weakling optimistic psyche to pessimism while perpending upon the bad cooked stories, an awful images and evil acts I was told about the Southerners against he who comes from the North. Suddenly, a butter turned to bitter.
As I stepped my foot out of the bus with a scared face, I called an Okada man and talked to him in English, describing to him where I wanted to go. On our way, we exchanged words and he asked me where I came from. I told him exactly what he asked of. He sighed a deep sigh and said: "Very terrible place with wicked people." "Why did you say that?" I cut in. He then begged for us to end this discussion. It scared me to my bones after his lamentation. When I reached home, I was welcomed warmly and my leisurely sojourning with a cousin began.
After spending two days, I went by to see things for myself with one of the sons of my cousin. As a Sociologist, what came to my mind was I have to apply the knowledge acquired and socialize and live peacefully with people and learn a lot and change their perceptions about North as well before my departure. I then began to mend my ways to theirs.
As we related, I learned that I was fed with wrong information too about them and vice versa. Life was so nice, opportunities everywhere for common man unlike my comfort zone where someone hardly gets labour to do. Everybody is busy struggling to earn a living. Nobody had even time to waste setting eyes on what you are up to. After a week, I met a friend with whom I discussed a lot, clearing misconceptions about the two regions. One virtually became a friend to all and all to one.
They were surprised about how we related and I told them about North. For them, North had been a war zone, where enmity rolls in our blood. Unbeknownst to them, North is also a home to live as they do in the South. North is a place where peace reigns. The actions of the few elements in some parts of the North, whom humanity does not roll in their veins shouldn't paint the whole North black.
That was how I kept mingling with them and showing them the mental pictures of the North projecting how Farming, cattle rearing and brotherhood worked. I didn't relent until they felt wanting to go to the North they heard about and it became where they want to visit after our encounter. That was when I witnessed and realized a vivid importance of the course I studied—Sociology.