I had this classmate in primary school, let’s call him Boy-Alinco. I joined his class when i was in Primary 3, and for the next two or three years, Boy-Alinco was the bane of my existence! This boy bullied me to no end. Till date i have no idea why I was the candidate for his bullying. I was certainly not a threat to anyone as I was the poster-child for a good student; I stayed in my lane, minded my business and was up to no mischief.
Of course my poster-child status was dented whenever i got home. Backed by the confidence that I could always run to my dad or my elder brother, I was up to no good occasionally. Like the one time my friend Doofan and I poured ice-cold water on our neighbors through their bedroom window. In our defense, they started it! They lashed at us for playing at their window when they were trying to take a nap. Don’t ask me what we were doing behind their house in the first place. I mean, why didn’t they want to play when we wanted to play? But i digress.
Boy-Alinco was on my case from the moment I got to school until the last bell rang for the day. He did everything to make me miserable; tore out pages from my notebooks for no apparent reason, stole my snacks, pulled at my hair (
probably the reason the hair has refused to grow), poured the water in my bottle away just because. This happened day in, day out! I would cry my eyes out, and he would sit there laughing like a jackass and would threaten to do worse if I reported him to anyone. I remember his favorite threat “If you like tell Dondo (my elder brother), I will finish both of you with just my little finger.” Why I never reported him to the school authorities is something I still beat my self about.
I got to class one morning after the general assembly and found my brand new bag ripped apart with a blade! I wept. You see, my dad spared no expense when it came to our school supplies, so this was some really good bag. It was also my first day of using it and I was so hurt. I didn’t need a diviner to tell me who the culprit was. This time around I decided it was time to put an end to his antics. I remembered his favorite threat and had an epiphany; why not actually report this kid to my big bro?
The bullying ended abruptly, Boy-Alinco kept his distance one morning. And the next morning. And the next. And every other morning after that. I had no idea why, and welcomed his new attitude with skepticism. What if this was all a ploy to step up the bullying game? What if he decided to add physical assault to the menu?
Several weeks after the bag incidence, I was with my brother when he casually said ”Did I ever tell you I met Boy-Alinco one afternoon on his way to our estate? I beat the living daylights out of him and told him never to go close to you or your property again.” Aha! That explained it all. Needless to say I walked to school each morning after that revelation with a new found spring in my step. Free at last!
As Nigerians celebrate children today, May 27th, there is increased awareness about the rights and protection of children. Protection against a violation of their rights. Protection against abuse. But I’d like to ask, who protects children against abuse from other children? Are the Boy-Alincos allowed to unleash harm and go scot-free simply because they are well, children? What happens to those who have no elder brothers to run to? What are we as parents and adults doing to help our kids stand up against bullying?
And since we are asking questions, why can’t the Federal Government simply declare every May 27th a bank holiday as well? Wait, it won’t be right to have a holiday on the 27th, work on the 28th and have another holiday on Democracy Day the 29th. Why can’t we just have the entire three days off? These are pertinent issues my administration will address when you guys vote me into power. Nigeria 2035. Sai Iember.
Happy Children’s day to me and every child at heart!