Okay, the sparseness of rainfall may not entirely be our fault but when you are hemmed in on every side by trouble and bedeviled by never-ending struggles and frustrations, even happenstances become complicit in your misfortunes. Never mind that you were really the architect. Who cares?! Find something or someone to blame it on!
Life shouldn’t be this hard but it is. And I suppose you don’t feel the biting effect, until you and your car are a tiny speck of dust in an endless queue of specks in danger of being baked by the sun but waiting patiently-because you don’t have a choice- for the gods of PMS to be stirred to benevolence to let you buy some for whatever amount they are willing to sell. When you face the challenges of living in Nigeria firsthand, you grow up quickly and divest yourself of any fantasy of hope for a change. It has been one long arduous journey round and round in circles in a wasteland with no end in sight.
Remember when our parents in the early nineties chanted “Babangida must go” brandishing green leaves? The truth is many of our parents weren’t among the protesters. I know mine weren’t. And while the protesters paraded that long stretch of road from Ugbowo towards Uselu and then upwards hindering free flow of traffic, my siblings and I were huddled in the backseat of my mum’s trusty old Volkswagen watching in fear, fascination and solidarity. My mum had wisely tucked in a branch of green leaves inside the wiper. You were asking for trouble if you didn’t. The green leaves meant you were on the side of justice, democracy, fairness and the rule of law clichés we spout but do not know the first thing about.
Who is protesting today? Sure we do all the time, on social media, on visual media platforms, in the papers, in the marketplace, at the newspaper vendor’s etc. And on the streets, commuters and commercial drivers are engaged in a protest of their own deploring one another for what either side considers lack of empathy for the other. He or she believes I am wicked for complaining about the outrageous hike in transport fares in the face of the obvious while I believe he and his ilk are milking the obvious for what it’s worth. It’s a back and forth conundrum.
In about two months it will be a year since Sai Baba came into office amidst a cacophony of reactions. But the bulk of Nigerians had waited too long to exhale so expectations were rife. I praised him for his persistence and commitment towards change but I felt more sorry for him because for the next four years he would be sorely tested and tried as though by fire and the quality of the finish would also mirror the country itself. Who had that much of a death wish?
But someone must take the reins and it better be a brave soul, secure in himself and in his passion and vision for Nigeria but not to the point of disconnect, searing himself from the pulse of the people and in the President’s case risk his military background being brought into the conversation every single time. This is the tightrope he had to walk and before he quite began-though it’s hard to tell exactly when he quite began for many still wonder if he has quite begun- the criticisms were already flying.
This is what we like to term the workings of democracy; the freedom to have an opinion and the freedom to air it. Don’t blame us. We just want change, the change you so chanted Mr. President, in the beginning. We want to wake up to a different Nigeria. We need regular and affordable power supply and we await Mr. Fashola’s magic wand to wave all the rot in that arena away in record time whether it is possible at all. For isn’t that what we do best, wait and hope while our own continue to trounce us? We are our own worst enemies. We created this indecipherable freak called the Nigerian system and indeed time would fail us to tell of all the gates, Dasuki et al, that have been uncovered since the inception of the new administration. The shocking and mind-boggling revelations of public theft; a parasitic free-for-all, unprecedented on such a scale as to warrant the beatification of the late General Sani Abacha in comparison.
Come May, if Mr Kachikwu’s declaration is right all will be sane again and we can return to the status quo until another artificial scarcity created by Nigerians for Nigerians brings all to a standstill and our frustration threshold tips the scales again and we cry out and I pen another article to blow off steam. Until then and until we make something earth-shatteringly pivotal happen, God bless Nigeria for I am not permitted to curse.
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