I can feel my heart beat in my mouth. I am paralyzed by the terrible fear of this life-threatening descent. I can only imagine the force with which I will hit the rocky ground beneath me. Three, two one… I feel a drop of sweat gracefully twirl off my forehead and plop straight onto a large, sharp rock. As a physicist, my children, it is not quite difficult for me to understand that this fall will be the very end of me. Travelling with a constant acceleration of 9.81 m/s, with a mass of 89kg from a height of 500 meters—Ifetayo, you’d understand that my chances of surviving are desperately low.
Atinuke, my beautiful daughter. Take care of your younger ones for me. Understand that your father has always been proud of your outstanding accomplishments. Thinking about everything from your position as the ‘Best Paediatric Neurosurgeon’ to your amazing children and your firm standing in Christ, makes me very proud. There is no contending the fact that you are a blessing to everyone around you. O—but my dearest child, your father’s last request is neither for a diamond-encrusted casket nor for a grave in the Bahamas. My old soul would only rest with such great peace as you wish for me, if you take your golden hands and lay them on the poor, decrepit bodies of the suffering children in your fatherland. I remember begging you to return to Nigeria only three months ago, and I understand how you believe that it is beneath you. Atinuke, you of all my children must understand that you cannot treat a child who is not sick. You understand that more medical attention is to be given to the individual facing a more lethal challenge. Why then, do you selfishly sit in a developed country as your homeland derails in terms of technological advancement? Your mother and I raised heroes who we hoped would come and deliver Nigeria from this turmoil. We didn’t want you to turn away from all the suffering your brothers and sisters endure here, as you sit cross-legged in your penthouse in Athens, sipping your wine and reminiscing over the pea-sized cockroach that crawled off your doorknob. You’ve made your money, you’ve made your name. Come back Atinuke, and help those who truly need you.
As I think of my fall, my mind runs straight to you, my dearest Ifetayo. I remember seeing you at your wedding, just before the ceremony. I cried to you; not because of any weakness I found in myself, but because of the strength I saw in you. My 35-year-old child has a dual degree in Civil engineering and Architecture, a huge estate, a 10-digit monthly income and a gorgeous, respectful wife. I saw in you, the man that my father saw in me. Of course, my life took a different path after my marriage and I do not have the time to tell it all to you. Don’t you remember walking in the scorching hot sand of the desert as your employer looked to develop the metro city which we now know as Dubai? Remember having to stay awake for nights on end solely to visualise the possibilities for such a vast are of land? I shouldn’t have to tell you that nothing great starts great; I shouldn’t have to tell you that every journey starts with the first step. In the same vein, you must not judge Nigeria for her underdevelopment. It confuses me that despite the fact that you were able to transform what was economically the equivalent of a vast area of wasteland, into one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations, you seem to be unable to take your gorgeous fatherland and make it the superior of this desert. Understand that a tree does not make up a forest, and come to the aid of your contemporaries who share this vision for Nigeria. Don’t be like Atinuke and her friends; don’t stand for only adding to the well-off. Think about it my son, how did the developed become developed? No city was created with skyscrapers; no town was discovered with towers already built. Even the great trees your mother planted by the porch were once seeds. My colleagues and I have planted the seed which will grow into a great Nigeria, but we need you to tend to it. Never forget, my son, that everything big starts small.
I see my life slowly coming to an end, and I can imagine myself becoming a mere icon in history. I hope you will be able to say the same about yourself, Duduyemi. My daughter, be strong! Take courage, as this world is a dangerous whirlpool, populated by monstrous men, deceitful women and children born and bred by corruption itself. However, you must not continue to hide under the wing of your elder sister. I understand that you’re very confused as you’ve just graduated from University. Duduyemi, the life for an artist in Nigeria is a struggle, accordingly, I understand your fear of returning as you are not as accomplished as your older siblings. I understand, my dear girl that you do not want to suffer the way you’ve seen many of your friends suffer. Duduyemi, my precious daughter, you must understand that I don’t want you to suffer either but I have come to understand that greatness comes at a price. My angel, do not grow frustrated when things become difficult for you; do not become discourages. I never wanted to leave you to face this cruel world alone at such a tender stage, but the power to dictate the future does not lie in my hands. Stay away from Lanre, my princess. Flee from such dirty, thirsty men, Oh-my heart breaks as I think of the fact that I won’t be alive to walk you down the aisle. My time won’t even last enough for me to write you everything I want, but it will allow me to write what is necessary. My dearest child, I need you to keep your head uphigh in constant anticipation of tomorrow. My message to you is simple, my baby; it is truly worthwhile, fixing what is broken. Men like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Kr. were ready to lay their lives down to solve the problems they found destroying society. It will be worth your while to focus on making a positive change; to develop the undeveloped. Put your name in a textbook, my child, inspire children. Don’t wait until it’s too late to change anything. Duduyemi, please feel it in your heart to return to Nigeria and awaken the beauty your mother and I have found in our stunning country; through our arts. Use your talent to help your people, my gem. Prove to me that you’re the diamond I declared you to be upon your birth. My daughter Duduyemi, never forget how much I love you.
With you, Akorede, I need not be soft or dramatic. You’ve become a strong, firm man. Your mother has observed that your time in prison has stiffened you. My son, I respect your decision to become a politician as I understand the pain your unjust prison sentence brought upon you and your sweet little wife. I know the trauma you were put through, and I’ve taken out time to sympathise with you. However, the fact that you’ve suffered more than your siblings does not exempt you from the list of people whom I wish to return to our homeland. Akorede, I have discovered why my generation has failed to fix our dearly beloved country, and I am giving you this information with a heart full of hope and trust, that you will use it to finish what I have started. Never mind my crooked handwriting, you’ll find that it’s hard to maintain one’s conduct as they see their doom approaching so quickly. Oh-my boy! We were a selfish bunch, blindly chasing success individually, believing that self-satisfaction was the sole measure of success. Akorede, you should know now that a rich man eating amongst paupers, is the poorest of them all. If you chase success alone, you will find yourself constantly expanding the gap between the rich and the poor. Akorede, my first child, what I need you to do, is to be a great big brother to your younger ones. Catalyse the change these children will try to make. Keep an eye out for the innovative individuals around you, and bring them together to totally transform the state of this country. Be the great leader I raised you to be. Take care, my dear Akorede.
My children, never neglect your mother.
Take care of my wife.
It was only two minutes ago when I was on top of the hill. I looked down at the gorgeous forest that sat beneath me, completely engrossed in its beauty. I underestimated the amount of potential energy that I had at this height, thinking that the only danger I would face, would be in falling. I completely forgot that it is the potential energy that would be converted to the kinetic energy which would have killed me upon my landing. Never underestimate the potential in anything, my children develop the undeveloped, understand that nothing great stated ordinary. You must remember that it is worthwhile, helping to create something out of nothing; struggling to fix the problems around you. All of you must remember to aim for success for the entire country. Akorede, Atinuke, Ifetayo, Duduyemi, don’t let me down
Farewell, my beautiful children.