I used to like Alhaji!
Alhaji Danjuma shuns political apathy. After school every Monday, my little brother and I would always meet him at the vegetable yard sitting close to Mama. There was no other thing he does with her than cackling about politics.
He would fag out most of his time chatting and defending politics like he was once a senator. We wonder if his wife gets annoyed for the long hours he is used to spending outdoors.
Alhaji loves repetition, he would constantly repeat it every week that Hajiya and I should register for our voter's cards immediately we turn eighteen.
I used to think we are the only ones Alhaji Danjuma discusses these with, not until the evening I was tasked with getting some Nunu. I saw Alhaji with Hanifa, Umaru and Hafsoh discussing the same issue with them.
I ran unto him, "Alhaji, the sun has settled in the sky, Hakimi must have been looking for you," I whispered. "How old are you now, Aishatu?" he asked. "Seventeen."
"Waiyo Allah! You are already close to voting and you are getting chubby, talk to your mother, you must vote next year." He raised his voice in a fatherly tone. I nodded and he walked me home.
When I turned eighteen, the day I voted, I ran to Alhaji's hut, but Alhaji was dead.
Some years after, I still held my voter's card close, I thought our lives would change, I thought we wouldn't be stocked in this hut any longer, I thought we would stop attending the clay-built school and we would have those glass houses on our land.
But nothing has changed here! Our throats are bleeding from dolorous clamors, our votes never cleaned anything, we wish they'd hear our voices. We are still here, belittled, dirty and crudely educated.
Fatihah Quadri Eniola is a young genre-bending writer from Nigeria, She is currently a member of HCAF (Hilltop creative arts foundation), Black Girls' Tales and Nibstears Poetry Cave. She has contributed a number of intricately constructed works to literary journals including Soft Star Speculative, Art Lounge, The Kalahari Review, Beatnik Cowboy, Notion press, World Voices magazine, De Curated, Syncronized Chaos and elsewhere.