Signs of the Times
Filed Under: Opinion | Posted: 10/17/2008 at 6:53AM
Comments | Region: Nigeria
A few couples of years ago, a scientific journal rated Nigerians as the happiest people on earth. Whether this was a strategy of psychologic warfare, designed to keep down the Nigerians’ capacity to critically analyse their ways and actions (many revelled at being dubbed the happiest while actually they weren’t happier than anyones), or an indeliberate missing of the correct mark, it is difficult to tell. What is clear is that Niegrians are not as happy. Individually, someones may be happy. As a people, generally, Nigerians’ happiness is a horrible type.
I wonder how happy a people are, whom, even complete strangers, on setting foot on their soils, do instantly recognize that they constantly turn their wine into dirty water; and fail to see their forest because of the trees in it. Funny religiosity is not happiness. Here is a tragio-comic nation, radiating megalomanic humour while languishing in melancholy.
Come to our cities and see…Come to our villages…
In The Guardian of Friday May 9, 2008, Reuben Abati expressed ‘Sign Of the Times’. He saw beyond the events. he saw that there is , or has come to be, a meanness of spirit here. Nothing shocks people any more. Everything is treated as "deja vu". What else? But it’s not the cold, mystical notions connected with theories of re-incarnation. it is a dynamic irresponsibility; a degenerate unresponsiveness; the it-could-have-been-worse attitide.
Man-made disasters, and man’s inhumanity to fellow (black)man have become so frequent here.People’s conscience and sense of outrage have become benumbed. Innocent victims take solace in still being alive even if they have lost limbs and livelihood. Neither the authorities nor those whose actions or inactions engender these tragedies behave as if anyones matter. The attitudes, the features, the mass ignorance and the desperation at the root of these are not yet confronted. Like people, like their government.
When fuel tankers swerve out of the way and spray fire on houses or crush people, the drivers go without straight querry. When substandardly built houses collapse, crushing tenants alive,it ends uninvestigated. When fuel pipes burst by the hand of vandals, or by chance, and people and property are reduced to smoke and ash, the investigations are either shallow or outrightly phoney. No corrective measures are taken.
When unlearned drivers who bought their driving licences unmeritedly take people to a ghastly end, it is a mere rally of transient emotions.
Offices exist to take care of these things; but that’s all. Exist.They do not function. Tragedies serve as political hot topics. Nothing else.
When someone survives a robbery attack, which have become too many and too frequent, his consolation is that he survived. Yet he pays huge security taxes. A lot of people now are "specializing" in harming others who have not offended them, with unmitigated effrontery. Going out and coming in in one piece have become somewhat a miracle. This is the sign of the time.
As the "(em)ber" months are proceeding, I think it’s pertinent to remind people, especially foreigners who come to Lagos city, some of what they’ve already known. Although the face of Lagos has improved (the landscape is more flowery, less shitty, now than before; thanks to the presence (the spirit) of Mr. ‘Tunde Fashola), the heart of Lagos (people’s attitude and outlook) is still inclined to crude illegitimacies.
This is a "hunting season" to many armed people, including officially uniformed ones. More people now get killed or deformed at the hands of fellow human worms than from epidemic diseases. "Accidental discharge" ( a euphemism for reckless, cruel use of guns by police or other officially armed agents, which often result in the death of harmless souls) is still a continuing occurrence.
Put in another way: this city is a sea of opportunities in business. But it is full of unspeakable evils. Robbers and murderers are so active that safety from them is seldom not the most pressing concern of the ordinary civil folk, hour by hour.
I’m not a professional security agent. From personal experince, and those of some others, especially some Indian victims who were "lucky to survive" corporally unscathed, and have repeated their to and fro journeys, I deduce some of these:
You are new in Lagos? Welcome! Welcome!! But be careful: tune on your prudential (and investigative) faculties.
*From the airport, don’t disclose to anyone, including security personnel, that you have huge amount of money on you; unless necessary. Of course, there’s a limit to…
*Don’t board a taxi that appears (you aren’t sure) "unremarked" by the security authorities.
*Don’t give your transporter the full sureness that you do not know your destination at all, unless necessary.
*Don’t wonder after sunset; unless absolutely necessary.
*Avoid stopping to buy things from hawkers in the dark. Some of them do rob people in their car, right in the presence of other road users, who may not know ‘your’ plight; they also dole out fake currencies.
*Curches (mosques) and social parties are good, fun places. And you can’t do without banks? Be cautious. Avoid becoming monetarily (financially) conspicuous. Most able-bodied people here are beasts of prey by character; only their prey are human souls. They are always stalking others…The few weeks preceding festivals (Eid el-, Xmas etc.) are usually the deadliest.
*Be careful about who you permit to transport you. Someone has said: "RAIDS (road accident immunity-delusion syndrome) is deadlier than AIDS (immunity defficiency syndrome).
The times are cruelly bad. here is a crimeland. Add this spiritual poverty to the hellshroud of material want…How happy Nigeria !