Alkasim was my neighbour at the BBC World Service Trust in Abuja, and shortly before I left the country, he became my boss. It’s not the fact that he is wise beyond his years, it’s not the fact that he’s a journalist of international repute, it’s not even the fact that his knowledge of history always sends me to Wikipedia (earning me the nickname ‘Wiki kenan); it’s the fact that Alkayy is perhaps the most down-to-earth person I’ve ever met.
I would go on, but before I tempt that humility we all love him for, I present my neighbour, Alkayy!
My name is Alkasim Abdukadir, I am fiercely Nigerian. I work as an international freelance journalist in Nigeria, and the link to my most recent piece for African Arguments is here.
I have always known that after all trials and tribulations light will always come at dawn; this Hausa saying is even more blunt –Bayan wuya sai dadi -loosely translated to mean that after the hardship comes enjoyment.
In retrospect this year though, I came to understand that in the end everything will fall into place, not necessarily the way we want but somehow we will get by.
It is amazing what the human mind can endure/ how challenging the times can get. It is doubly tragic that people can let you down, just because they can, to show their god-complex – from family members to friends to bosses and those whose loyalty really matters.
A family member was out of work for two years, because he lost out in office politics, and it became imperative for me to stand-up and support his dependents not because I am the most conscientious person or the most wealthy, not even because I treasure family, but because it was the right thing to do. I must confess when the requests came sometimes it was not only heart breaking but also debilitating; the thought of what people in this country go through. Imagine this sms: “Please send us money, we are out of food again, we are cooking the last grains this afternoon”.
How could a mid-level manager end up like this? Life and Nigeria happened, I say.
And then imagine the times, when my paycheck was delayed, the untold misery it caused at the other end was just unthinkable.
This is just one of several episodes of need that surrounded one this year.
I am grateful that in the end, succour came in the form of a new job and a new lease of life for my family member; though pressure still persists from other quarters, the biggest hurdle had been crossed. I am grateful that I didn’t falter nor flee when I was most needed. That I remained resolute, even though it was hard, that I shared of my heart when it mattered most.
If I had another chance to do it again, I would do exactly the same, just that this time I would go a notch higher, because light always comes at dawn.
Vote for my neighbour’s article please!