I was 17 years of age when I first left home to live alone. I got admission into an A’Level program in Ibadan. I didn’t know anyone and anywhere in Ibadan and it was the first time I will leave Lagos on my own. I sought the help of a friend called Samson who referred me to his uncle called LLK that stayed in Ibadan. He gave me LLK’s address and convinced me he will be kind enough to accommodate me. 

It was a psychiatric garden in Agodi Gate and I needed to find my way to the place. As I got to the house, I met a younger man who appeared differently from who Samson had described. I demanded to see LLK but unfortunately he wasn’t around. I had hidden my baggage at the main gate of the estate so as to avoid facetious embarrassment. Surprisingly, as I headed back to the gate, he called me back and was curious as to where I had kept my load – I can’t remember telling him I came with one. In the tide of graciousness, this was how I became an occupant in an unexplainable myriad.  LLK never seem to return and my stay in this house was met with bewilderment and strange treatment – I needed to leave. 

During one of  the academic sessions, I met a friend who offered me the opportunity of a home. He was a chain smoker but I wasn’t too bothered about that as I now had someone who respected me and gave my life a momentary meaning. I began to preach to him against smoking and interestingly, he was avoiding the heat. As we became friends, we faced tough challenges together which include times where we had to fight through our nose to survive. 

One of these dreadful days, her mother sent her cash and it was a propitious live saver. We had gone hungry for weeks and we weren’t getting enough help from home. We decided to have a drink so we can merry at the new change in feeling. As we drank, he brought out his cigarette and I knew it wasn’t time to tell him to stop. Days exuded as we went through life together; little by little, precept upon precept, cigarettes upon cigarettes,  smokes became part of that life for both of us – a placid way to be inspired for another day. 

Many people often think young people fall for peer pressure and that is why they commit delinquencies but I think it’s a wrong approach to this discourse. What young people face is emotional trauma and battle for survival which these delinquencies seem to provide short term solutions to when their parents, sisters, brothers and the society at large are sleeping. If we can’t provide younger ones with the money they require,we can help them to understand life better especially those who leave home for school – what we learn in school is outlandish  and overwhelming. Some might not fall to smoking like i did but many throng into dirty discussions, immoral values, wild expressions, hasty decisions and worldly interests.   Not many grew up in environment that supports their emotional needs. I got revived because I had a relatively healthier background check; not many will. Please help a young person today. Don’t be the one igniting delinquent discussions among them and don’t ignore the call to mentor a younger folk today.

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