Isn’t it an irony that sometimes you get the wildest, sanest - and sometimes smartest - ideas from the oddest of situations? That was my experience recently, when I got into a little chat with a commercial ‘okada’ rider. Now, I am the type that easily get into conversation with these types of guys - and why so?
Well, that may be because I don’t take issues too seriously all the time, although I am always serious; and so was our little chat on that day as we rode from New Garage to Challenge together. Sarcastic was I on that day, and that was why I responded to his observation of some road works that were left unfinished along that axis. ‘Abandoned project everywhere!’
The words came out of his mouth like the last words said by a frustrated waning effigy, tired of reality. I sensed the frustration in his voice, and in that statement coming from a man, who, although hardly realized, is also a stakeholder in the Nigerian estate. In order to help ease my momentous friend’s frustration, I decided to be a bit witty with words. My words: ‘oh take heart my brother. What you just said now is everywhere.’ ‘Even Nigeria is an abandoned project.’ I concluded. That statement did its job, and much more.
My ‘okada man’ smiled and then laughed. Repeating, like an incantation, what I just said to him, he hastily drove through a pending traffic jam. Since my last effort proved worthy, I decided to introduce another line to the irony, hoping it would totally sooth away his misery. Rather it stirred our misery. So I said, ‘We are all someone’s abandoned project, whole or in part.’ At first it was silence, absolute silence. And then a long stare into emptiness. The truth is; no matter how much we may sometimes deny it, when we come face to face with the truth, we just know it. Some of us may respond with anger and others in somberness, as the case may be. We both came to the truth on that day, and we knew it. But then, just like I said earlier, ‘sometimes the sanest, wildest or purest ideas come to us from the oddest situations and at the oddest times too.
Unfinished road projects, uncompleted building projects, unfinished reformation, abandoned transformation agendas everywhere – from one government to another. The average Nigerian can easily relate to this since they characterize our daily lives as though they define us. Well sincerely, if the right measures are not taken from homes to homes, and from village to village, they may end up defining us as a people. How many of us realize that we are and as a matter of fact abandoned project in a way or the other, that Nigeria to which we all belong is indeed an abandoned project; that the unfinished projects scattered across our land are mere reflections of what our country really is. I know you think I am beginning to sound sadistic. But then you will be right, because I am!
And why not so, since we are a people so well adorned with beauty and gifts that the gods themselves envies the sight of us. But our pasts and present are now as though captured on dirty canvases by dirty skilless artists – politician, who by crook or hook reigned over the affairs of our dear country. In the year 1960, Nigeria, the unfinished carving of the British Empire, who colonized her, promising to do a better job than the creator himself, gained independence; howbeit hurriedly from the grips of her strange master turned husband. To me, it was more of a divorce than independence.
The leaders, our leaders, most certainly have produced astonishing arguments in favour of the desired liberty. But the due freedom from colonization was either not wholly carved or the handover was partial in all sense of it. To this claim I have no explanations to give, because I have none; but I am sure of their accuracy. So unprepared and immature were we that barely six years into the independence, Nigeria landed herself in her first national catastrophe. I don’t have any interest in going through the nauseating details of the greediness and self aggrandizements that culminated in the emergence of the first military junta in our country. I do not wish to do myself the disfavor of having to swallow discordant stories of my forefather’s avoidable failures. All that matters is that like a bolshie child, they snapped from the old of the white aunt, to run uncharted part, and went tumbling down the muddy ridge by a crucial corner. They took the nation with them
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