The very first time my legs stepped on the European soil of Paris, the capital city of France many years ago, I was enveloped in a mixture of amazement and excitement on that very cold evening that still had nature’s light illuminating the colourful metropolis despite the hours of the day receding into the late post meridiem (PM).

As I embarked on that Air France plane that conveyed us from Murtala Mohamed International Airport in Lagos to Charles de Gaulle Airport, an airport named after, Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle, a French army officer, who led France against Nazi Germany in World War II, and walked with the proverbial butterflies doing acrobatics in my ‘tommy’ towards the bus that was waiting to convey us to our hotel, my mind began to have a serious conversation with me.

I had gone to that part of Europe on the invitation of Lexy Mojo-Eyes, the President/CEO of Legendary Gold, who organised an annual event then known as Nigerian Fashion Show in Paris. Lexy, the tall good looking chap from the ancient Ovarami kingdom made my first travel possible.

Interestingly, as happy as many people we made the trip together were that cold evening, no one could play Nostradamus to know what was going on inside of me.

As the conversation with my soul was getting deeper, I almost asked aloud why I decided some years before the trip to embarked on a suicidal mission by trying to ‘walk’ my way from Africa to Europe. Why should that have even been given a room in my thought process was the question that sounded so loud in my ears but not audible enough to those who were merrying around me inside the bus.

My mind quickly raced to my growing up days when the things we saw and heard directed our actions or inactions. It came like pictures in a movie to me how many kids around my Alafia Mushin hood then saw Education as something not to be prized as priority.

The reason then was quite simple. Many of the lads around me then took lessons of life from seeing sons of Mr. LAGBAJAs graduating from universities with good grades and ending up getting a ‘good’ job that will leave them with the achievement of moving from rooming apartments to either room and a parlour abodes or two bedroom flats. These ‘divine’ graduates will also be blessed with the ability to step up by purchasing a dekumagolo vehicle (small car).

On the other hand, the sons of Mr. Tamedus will leave the shores of the land to ‘oyinbo’ enclave and in no time, they’ll come back to buy or build houses around the vicinity you live. They also looked well fed and very fresh with good clothes and flashy cars to paint the town in all sorts of shades.

Then, myself and other growing up lads decided that we should stab education in the heart and do whatever it takes to get our asses away from our country of birth to anywhere else in the land of the ‘white men.’

So, we were always on the lookout for a chance or an opportunity to see who will help us to get VISA that seemed like climbing Mount Everest to us then.

From the idea of buying ‘ori olori’ (look alike) passport to mapping out strategy of beating the highly intelligent VISA officers at several embassies.

The search for the key to the doors of ‘Oyinbo’ land continued for many months that rolled into years without achieving the highly sought after result.

About the time, we felt we were getting tired having been denied VISA here and there. My younger brother’s friend who we felt was our Leonhard Euler, that great solver of mathematical problems, showed up at my door and brought what we thought was our solution to finally live in that land we believed had gold laced on its roads.

Dotun Fashina (Checkup), my younger brother’s friend had showed up in my house with his usual permanent smile on his face and very lively and his never a dull moment spirit, with a map that will lead us to our own biblical promised land. He had with him the map and a detailed direction of how to travel from Lagos to Morroco and from Morroco to Gibraltar before crossing to Spain. Thinking about Dotun now brings nothing but sadness to me because that very wonderful soul was lost to our bad roads on his way from his school Uthman Dan Fodio University in Sokoto to Lagos. Dotun met his untimely death in Ibadan after travelling several kilometre from up north to down south.

Talking about Dotun’s map, it is well known that many people took the suicidal route of walking from the Nigeria end of the desert from Sokoto, through Niger Republic down to Libya, but, I was not that desperate to plunge into that dangerous ‘voyage’. This, may be because of the stories I’ve heard and I’ve also read about the hazardous nature of that route that I vowed never to go through any desert, even if there would be billions of dollars waiting for me at the end of the road.

The reason for my fears aside what I’ve read and heard is because it appears directionless just like being in the middle of the sea without a compass which makes everywhere look the same that you might end up going in circles.

So, when many embarked on that journey through the Sahara, I didn’t allow my mind to play tricks on me for me to suck the very tempting hook for the desperados.

Interestingly, the late aburo, Dotun’s map was different. There was nothing like any desert in it. It was just as if we were happy boys going on a tourism exploration.

When I went through it, I knew instantly, I’ll be on that road to my original gold coast soon where riches awaited for me.

The first thing I did was to search for like minds who were interested in the journey.

To be continued




















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