I really do not know where to seek my quiet moments. I no longer have a place where I may enjoy blissful peace without the provocative tyranny of those hawking the blessing of God, their God. I used to find peace in my home town, the city of Ago-Iwoye the greatest city in the world. But no more! Any time I visit my country home I need to first seek for makers of thick cotton pads for my ears otherwise I may return with complete deafness.
On three sides of my house in Ago-Iwoye are three churches, or what in normal circumstances should pass for run-down sheds, but are called churches for want of better description. Not far from the same house are two giant mosques, and a third situated in the private home of a chieftain of the Islamic faith. Each and every day of the week your ears are assaulted by cacophony of unintelligible cries dished out as either prayers or wailings. It is all noise; noise from giant speakers; speakers almost as big as the ramshackle synagogues where they are erected. The same high decibel from the mosques a few metres away, oozes out without abating.
The craziest part is a loner who starts crying from 4 o’clock in the morning threatening hostage listeners of the impending end of the world. Noise makers disturb and interrupt your sleep from about 9 pm and when they tend to be weakened by their own shouting and the noise goes down at about 2 am, you try to sleep some sleep and two hours later some one who claims he has just shared a bowl of pounded yam with his God starts his dreadful preachment.
All these pale into insignificance when compared with what I go through in Ibadan . Here is a beautiful city I got into in 1962 and decided to make my home. Events in the last couple of years had almost sent me gagger! On the street where my drive veered off from are 15 churches. Right in front of my nose are two churches on both sides of my house. And in front of me are two mighty churches, one of which draws its huge crowd around on, believe it, Monday mornings when all honest and serious minded people are expected to be at work. Like in Ago-Iwoye, there about 4 mosques in the neighbourhood. The peculiarity of the mosques is the cry of Allahu Akbar in the wee hours of each morning calling people to partake in the Subuhi prayers. This is not a small cry. The sound of the hailer can be heard half a kilometre away! When such bellowing comes from five sources all at the same time you can imagine the damage done to the ear drums of victim-listeners.
Then come to Lagos . On the road leading to where I stay stand over 114 churches. Believe me, it is no exaggeration. From Friday evening to the afternoon of Sunday is the deafening noise of a combination of loud speaker and generators. The maddening noise is better imagined.
This is the situation all over the country where crass poverty and suffocating ignorance have combined to turn our people to zombies who will believe and obey all sorts of bogus doctrines.
You wonder why a mere call to prayers or invitation to worship should be generating so much noise and constitute a nuisance to neighbours. Saudi Arabia , home to the foundation of Islam does not indulge in drying their citizens deaf because it wants to call them to prayers or to remind them of their sacred duty as enjoined by their faith. This writer has travelled to all major Islamic centres in the world including Malaysia , Iraq , Iran , Indonesia , and the Arab countries of North Africa . Nowhere in any of these countries is the noise generated by Nigerian Islamic clerics comparable.
I do not want to talk about churches especially the new generation Cash& Carry merchants of fake prosperity. They make so much noise when they make demands from their God is if the God they worship is dumb and pathologically deaf. They shout and scream, jumping up and down like monkeys and grimacing and theatricalising like Charlie Chaplain or more appropriately like some one possessed.
It is unfortunate that these clowns in zany dresses have no consideration for their neighbours. One is tempted to ask them if their religions taught them to trample on the fundamental rights of other people to the extent of sending their neighbours ears to early grave.
Lagos state once promulgated a law forbidding noise pollution. One is not sure whether the law is enforced or not. Whatever is the situation all state governments assisted by local governments must make a law banning excessive noise production in the name of God and save Nigerians from massive deafness.
Rasheed Gbadamosi, you are alive!
You were born with a silver spoon and earned for yourself gold spoon and lived the life of an aristocrat albeit with dignified simplicity. Artist, playwright, poet and story teller yours was a life of consummate artiste.
Music and art collector of repute, your transition is a wake up call to all of us that sooner or later we shall one by one follow in your footsteps and commence our journey in the Continuum.
You were very humble, ever so jocund and jovial with a unique sense of humour, you made your mark in virtually every field of human endeavour. Endowed with extraordinary brilliance and intellect, you were able to excel in whatever calling where brain, the grey matter was considered an asset.
.Not many people when the shocking news of your transition broke last week. The literary world went numb in disbelief while the tribe of world-class economists became speechless.
You were a legend in life, and shall forever remain a celebrated legend hereafter.
Rasheed, you are not dead. Writers, artistes, musicians, sculptors and painters never die.
Continue your journey in the Continuum!