By Rev Fr Boniface Opaluwa
“… Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor.” – Frantz Fanon (Wretched of the earth)
Nigeria is a circus.
A Theatre of all absurdities, where rapacious wolves and rampaging wild hyenas are the sentries and sentinels of the lambs. The predatory gatekeepers in political offices feed lavishly on the caged lambs and pass on the remnants of the poor to their cronies on the highways and streets. Clowns and Comedians parading and masquerading as Leaders.
We are in a country that has no mercy for the weak and does not accommodate the poor. That is why the policemen on patrol duties will harass and harm the poor okada rider, while they will salute and wave on a heavily tinted SUV which may be conveying illegal items, with chants of rankadede rending the air.
We are in a banana republic. If we were to be asleep, one would have taken it to be a prolonged nightmare. But how can people possibly sleep when the night holds so much dread and the day is equally not free of fearful genies and hungry ghosts let loose by the biting economic situations of a sleeping giant? What a shame!
Almost every adult person is hypertensive in this country where your heart remains in your mouth for the duration of your journey when you travel from one state to another?
The greetings and warm embrace we receive whenever we make a successful journey to/fro any destination is beyond the normal ‘you are welcome’ pleasantries. It is a celebration for survival and a jubilation for escaping unknown gunmen, armed bandits, fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, armed robbers, police, pot holes, bumps, fake tyres, and the sundry demons that prowl the Nigerian roads.
Even those who can afford the necessity of military escorts appreciate the magnitude of the dangers that lurks to the point that many have to drench their vehicles in Anointing Oil. Yes, it is like a trip to “Kumirukiki” where the forest sorcerer has caught up with her prey and she’s ready to unlatch her mandible and mercilessly masticate the lost and helpless orphaned infant. Who said Chinua Achebe isn’t a Prophet? Things have actually Fallen Apart. The centre can no longer hold.
Have you ever being to a barbers shop and the “I pass my neighbor” generator is put off after attending to the last customer? The feeling of weight been lifted from your shoulders when that noisy sound goes off is what some people in our markets and business centres have to live with day in day out. The endless cacophony as though Quasimodo owns the land.
Whenever your neighbors run out of petrol and their generator goes off, the relief you get should let you know that you need to constantly check your blood pressure. It baffles me why Nigerians think it’s a spiritual attack when people slump and die. We forget that our situation and living conditions predisposes many persons to high blood pressure.
There is fire on the mountain.
Schools have been advised by security experts to beef up their security. This sounds very comical in a time when Aso Villa is not burglary-proofed. When local vigilantes are paid to keep police stations safe. When the I pass my neighbor generator in the police station is chained to the iron pole. When governors with vast array of security details are afraid of traveling out of their states.
Asking school authorities to beef up their security is like telling Buhari to perform better. It is not possible. It is an impossibility. Rightly so, the wise ones have closed down their schools and are taking virtual lessons. Zoom is needed in other parts of the world because of COVID-19 but it has become a necessity in Nigeria for security reasons.
The beneficiaries will not want this party to end soon. But the oppressed must seek a way to evade the claws of political monsters and fly out of this labyrinth. To make any positive progress, we must fight till we get a leader who will lead us to forge a new nation or nations.
Let the flames of hope be kept alive. Orubebe almost saved us. Some events can birth something outside the equation. Like the big bang, a new Nigeria can be born. Either as it is or as something else.
Something will stir like the Bethesda pool. We must be alert and throw in a leader who will take us forward.
… Until then, let the weary steady their hearts and ready their hands for in the jungle, the quiet jungle the lion sleeps tonight or tomorrow.