BY TOLA ADENIYI
I did not know that things have gone this bad. I do know of course that at funeral ceremonies when the dead is laid up for viewing people say the deceased has gone to rest. In other words they console themselves that their loved ones shall no more suffer the pangs and pains of the unpredictable vicissitudes of life.
What is strange and worrisome these days is the common lamentation of many people spoken to who for various reasons say they wished they were like Mr So So and So or Professor YXZ who have joined their ancestors.
“You see, Professor Ikumbe is gone. He is no longer concerned about the prices of goods now skyrocketing. He does not care any longer whether Buhari is performing or he is deaf to the cries of the suffering masses. I envy Ikumbe; believe me. He was one of the most articulate members of the University Senior Academic Staff Union. Good for him, he is at peace with himself now wherever he may be”. Mrs Idilere Mogbonjubola poured out her heart on the phone.
Her only vehicle, a 20-year old V Boot Mercedes Benz broke down the other week and she could not find enough money to purchase the needed spare part to fix the car. The part required used to cost two thousand Naira. When her mechanic asked her to cough up 15 thousand Naira she almost fainted.
“Where would I get 15 thousand Naira from? I have four healthy boys who graduated from the University about six years ago and none of them is gainfully employed. These are adult children I still apply feeding bottle treatment to. Ikumbe doesn’t have that kind of problem any longer.” Her lamentations continued.
Johnson Johnson from Adamawa wished he could change places with his old friend Dr Michiga who passed on eight years ago. “You cannot understand”, he said to another friend of his who is a politician. “You people in the House are feeding fat on the ignorance and timidity of our people. You don’t know what the ordinary man in the street is going through. Unearned money flows into your Babanriga every day all year round and you have many servants and aides running around to serve your appetite.” John Johnson wished he was in Michiga’s shoes. That the roof of his only property was blown off would no longer be a problem for his restless mind. That his wife of 25 years ran away with a Senator would have meant nothing to him if he was living under the earth surface. That none of his children has been kept in school would not have been a source of recurring agony to him. “Honest to God I envy Dr Michiga” Johnson Johnson submitted as he wiped off tears from his eyes.
Suicide is not an easy proposition and the many people who have lost hope in their present status in Nigeria can only lament and regret. Much as they envy the dead, they are not prepared to change positions with their departed friends and relations. Nonetheless, they talk of the dead in deepest appreciation and give thanks to God on their behalf that the good Lord had saved them the horrors and agonies which are now the order of the day.
Armed robbers, ritual killers, kidnappers, terrorising and rampaging Fulani herdsmen and the incorrigible Boko Haramites on bombing and maiming spree are some of the reasons why the living in Nigeria wished they were on the other side of the divide.
It is true that many societies in history have gone through what Nigerians are going through now, but the difference in those climes was that their leaders gave them hope. They gave them justice. They gave them understanding and care. They empathised with the down trodden, and encouraged the middle and upper class segments of the society who suffered the depression and recession. But here the rich and the hitherto affluent and influential are the worst hit. Most of them believed they have lived life to the fullest before Nigeria got holed in economic turbulence and quagmire. And they then ask themselves why they are still here? Why can’t they join their friends and wealthy relations who had passed?
Chief Ukoronga Okosisi had humour to his own lamentation. He complained that whereas his late friend was buried amidst pomp and pageantry should he even die now his children and relations would not be able to give him any expensive farewell. “For me I envy Okorochachi on two levels. Now he is enjoying in heaven. He is lucky he died before Nigeria became a calamity. Secondly he was given a befitting burial commensurate with his high status in our community. Now look at me; devaluation has ruined my money in the bank, my shares and stocks amount to next to nothing now, and if I should die I would be buried like a pauper. Why do you think I should not envy Okorochachi? Chief Ukoronga fumed when asked for his comments by a reporter with his local radio.
Poor fellows! The dead in Nigeria would be looking back on their surviving relations and friends and thank their stars that despite the fact they did not live long, they still remain a subject of envy. It is therefore unfortunate that matters have reached a head and the living are more else praying that they depart a state of hopelessness and helplessness and find accommodation in the Unknown!
As you go through this piece what exactly runs through your mind? Would you have wished that you were not here?
INSULT UPON INJURY
Now I am convinced beyond any grain of doubt that many of the state governors in Nigeria have no brains at all.
How could any so-called leader say with his mouth wide open and with his head securely screwed on his neck that the notorious Fulani herdsmen that have killed thousands of innocent Nigerians are from Mali, Senegal and Niger???