“The Struggle”

“The Struggle”

Watching Uncle J.J lead the fight for resource control was how I prepared for the future. I had read a lot about Martin Luther King Jnr. but Uncle J.J personified him for me. He like Martin Luther lived for the struggle.

He breathed it.

Slept it, ate it and loved it.

I wanted to be like him- get the bad guys and end the woes plaguing our land, then our land would be restored to the era of my mother’s stories; a time when the fishes lived on the shores because the river was full of fish, when our cassava’s were as big as our yams and were as long as an adult’s arm length, when our blurred water could give you a clear reflection of your face and soothe our thirst.

J.J Sagana, was one of the pioneer fighters for resource control, in the good old days my uncle would don his resource control hat- a fedora hat, and march to TV stations claiming we had the oil and should earn a major share from its proceeds.

Naturally when militancy began Uncle J.J consulted for the foremost militant group-Revolutionary Soldiers of The Niger Delta. He gained local and international recognition and reputation as a selfless crusader, but at a point I noticed the bags. When Tabai, Uncle J.J’s trusted aide of a decade decided to move on, I took his place. I became his personal assistant; I was the only one allowed into his room. I read his messages and handled his sensitive documents.

One cool January afternoon while on an errand to my uncle’s room, the black refuse disposal type bags beckoned to me from the corner where they sat in the room. I thought they contained dirty clothes; on closer inspection, I saw- money. I touched the notes they were cool and crisp, my fingers tingled as I rifled through the bag, it was all money!  Somewhere along the line Uncle J.J had begun to enjoy the struggle in cash.

I became eagle-eyed, I scrutinized every document and listened to every conversation; in less than two weeks, I uncovered a Mafioso kind of set-up. They loaded stolen crude oil on vessels for foreigners, militancy became the cover for indiscriminate pipe bursting. Uncle J.J blossomed from militancy, while the oil and land he was supposed to be protecting rotted.

I was disillusioned.

I could barely stomach the betrayal. While we were lounging in the patio one evening, I stylishly broached the subject, “Uncle J.J I pray nothing will ever make you forget the cause.”

He laughed his deep rich laughter at me and looked at me knowingly, “Preye the oil was put there by God, not man, it’s for everyone. If you have the opportunity to take from a well that’ll never run dry, won’t you? I have come to realize that the cause will fight itself and besides if we don’t eat how will we fight?” he sneered.

All I could think of was how to wipe that smirk off my uncle’s face. My uncle went for a funeral when I decided to ‘take’. I picked up one refuse bag, it took me two hours to sell three cars and choice properties whose title deeds were in my possession. I couldn’t clean him out totally but I had a good stash, got out my passport and left for Europe but before I left I dropped him a single paragraph note; it read- Thanks for the advice: if you have the opportunity to take from a well that will never run dry, won’t you?

 

 

 



32 thoughts on ““The Struggle”” by Ellie (@elly)

  1. Nice one Elly, I like the story line, sad that the uncle he looked up to fell in love with money and out of love with the struggle.
    Glad he learnt something from him though.

    1. Thanks Anderson, glad you liked it.

  2. story of naija..at first one is serious abt fighting corruption, then somewhere along the line they become the very thing they swore to fight. nice story

    1. thanks Febby, yea its 9ja’s story o.

  3. Good story. Nicely depicts the attitude of some of the so-called Niger delta strugglers but the story could have come out better if it was more detailed as a result of a deeper research.

    1. Thanks Igwe, was working with a word count, there’s just no way, deeper research would have meant to many details and terms. 600 words isnt much and remember its flash, thanks all the same for reading.

  4. i like the message of nemesis and retribution. you did very well.
    i feel that shorter sentences would have made this beautiful story even more comely.

    I wanted to be like him- get the bad guys and end the woes plaguing our land, then our land would be restored to the era of my mother’s stories; a time when the fishes lived on the shores because the river was full of fish, when our cassava’s were as big as our yams and were as long as an adult’s arm length, when our blurred water could give you a clear reflection of your face and soothe our thirst.

    ALL THIS JUST A SINGLE SENTENCE? THINK ABOUT THE READER, AVERAGE READER.

    well done

    1. Correction noted, will re-work it with shorter sentences, thanks a lot, glad u liked its message.

      1. its not only the message i like. the story is very personal to me. i am from an oil producing community in delta state

  5. I like the story…but you started graphically, patiently outlining the character and his beliefs. The end was too abrupt. The things he did eventually were not out of character, but we did not or i did not see and enjoy the transition. I hope you understand.

    Good one Elly. Missed you.

    1. Hey Seun missed u too, i totally understand your comments was working with a word count of 600, didnt leave me much room for transitions but its noted sha, thanks a lot.

  6. I ditto Seun and Xikay. Still, I like the story, and the layers beneath it. Good one.

    1. Thanks Raymond.

  7. Nice write up…Our run away character should be aware that he can’t bite the hand that fed him.
    WHATEVER A MAN SOWS THAT HE SHALL REAP AS WELL.
    nice 1 Elle

    1. yes. our lost VISIONARY got the fruits of what he sowed too don’t you think?

    2. Thanks Emmyfrosty but the hand that fed him needed some biting, don’t you think so? Well his uncle created and caused what the M.C did.

      1. Elly, the hands needed serious biting

  8. I enjoyed this, but may I suggest you pace the story…it started off nicely but felt rushed to an abrupt end.

    1. thanks Doubleespresso, but was working within a word count limit.

  9. Payback is a …..
    Uncle got what he has been dishing out…i enjoyed this.

    1. Yeah i like it that you get the gist of it, thanking you.

  10. nice and indeed good

    1. Thanking you Uche.

  11. I loved the idea of the story, and especially liked the ending too.

    I felt it was a bit rushed, though. Maybe you could have spent more time emphasising the important parts of the story? Like when Preye found what was in the black bags, you could do more to show his initial disbelief followed by his disillusionment.

    1. Yea i get you, but the word limit restrained me, i could re-work it, i actually submitted it for an assignment. Thanking you for your critique and glad you liked it.

  12. Yeah Tola, I agree with that disbelief-disillusionment angle; it could make the story much better. Some of the sentences were needlessly long, a result of punctuation issues, no doubt.
    Good plot, not-so-good delivery but a perfect ending.
    Keep writing. God bless you.

  13. Nice story. I feel uncomfortable though that the ending shows the young man is no better than the uncle! Maybe we should get some hint that he has some noble intentions for the future?

    1. Yea i totally get you, but he was what the uncle was promoting as in corruption and the likes, he learned from the master. Our stories must not always be morally correct. Thanks for reading.

  14. Elly Turtoe, great work here! U did good.

    1. Thanks a lot, Gboyega.

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