Three Saturdays ago, I stood before hundreds of people and said ‘I DO’ along with six other couples in a church in Lagos. Today bride number 1 is a widow. Barely 5 days after the wedding she lost the one man she loved enough to commit the rest of her life to loving him. The plane had barely landed when I switched on my phone and got the heart-wrenching news. I wept past immigration and barely noticed the hustle and bustle of Muritala Mohammed Airport. All memories of my idyllic honeymoon pushed to the background as I thought of my friends- one deceased, one with sorrow incomparable. I remembered Marriage counselling classes, the wedding rehearsal and all the shared laughs. They were one of my favourites. They had a ‘Jayz-Beyonce’ swag about them and everyone could see they were really into each other. To have such a well suited union shattered when they were still warming up to their new roles as husband and wife is beyond evil. The circumstances surrounding the murder made my spirit boil. How could a man in uniform have shot him dead? This was betrayal of the worst kind. What was going through the killer’s mind? Was the killer paid? Was he under the influence? Was he mad? Was he a member of the police force or just an assassin in a borrowed uniform? I didn’t really care so much for the answers. They would not bring Ugo back…
What could you possibly say to ease the pain of his young widow? What words of comfort does one bride give to another when you know you can never ever know or understand the pain she feels. We all said our vows at the same time. Seven grooms promising their brides to be one till death. Little did we know that for one of the couples that promise would be a 5 day contract. Tears fill my eyes again as I remember that day. Who will avenge my friends? When will Nigeria become a place where stories like this are unheard of? We are 52 today but not much has changed. Things seem bleaker by the second and we wonder when it will all improve. From bad cops who are nothing but inebriated bullies with deadly weapons to even worse politicians whose flair for money guzzling has made rogues out of the populace with citizens doing anything to survive. What do we have to celebrate?
I missed today’s Independence broadcast by the President and I logged on to Facebook and Twitter to see if there was any noteworthy part of it that was trending. I wasn’t expecting any good news but I feared for more bad news. The first post that caught my eye was; “At least he didn’t remove, revert or rename anything’. A chill ran down my spine as I read those words because they summed up the voice of a people who were losing hope. Nigerians are optimists by nature but even the cliché ‘It is well!’, ‘Nigeria go better’ and numerous prayers for Nigeria were losing their fervour and becoming as bland as a soup without salt. Did we actually believe things would get better? For so long things had gotten only worse with temporary respite in-between. Boko Haram believed ridding Nigeria of infidels would cure the nation of her evils. Majority of the nation believed ridding the country of the so-called bad eggs- politicians of every shape, size and colour, members of PDP especially, would rid the nation of its woes. Many others believed that the only way out for them was to find a way out of the country and the number of Nigerian illegal immigrants into other countries continues to increase but somehow all agree that more money and more power is the most important survival strategy and this notion is shared by both upper and lower class alike!!! And this is what kills us…
Do we deserve what we’ve gotten in Nigeria? Can we really blame our woes on a few bad men? ‘Everyone is corrupt in this country!’ Does that statement aggravate you? Do you revel in your self-righteousness and believe you have no hand in making Nigeria the way it is today? If a man steals one car from another with ten cars and Akpos steals bread from Mama Tinu’s shop, have they not both stolen? A country’s constitution is dictated by its people and we have laid down laws that apply to us alone. Other countries have prospered by following laws put down to ensure the smooth running of their country but every Nigerian to some extent believes he or she is above the law. In Lagos, majority of the drivers on the road use a seatbelt because of ‘LASTMA and their wahala’ and not because of their safety. Nigerians will break traffic rules when no one is looking but behave as soon as they spot a man in a uniform. Nigerians go abroad and hold their litter for as long as it takes them to find a waste bin but will throw litter anywhere and everywhere and even beside a waste bin in Nigeria and expect LAWMA to do the work. Nigerians look forward to the last Saturday of every month not because it’s environmental sanitation but because it’s a day they can sleep in till 10am. When last did you clean the gutter outside your house?
Wake up Nigerians! Even if Obama was our president, we’d still be in this mess. Lawlessness is ingrained in our DNA and till we shake it off, we will not see the Nigeria of our dreams. Even if we smashed all the bad eggs in the crate, we would be shocked to realize that even the children who are the leaders of tomorrow are already incubating corruption and lawlessness! After all what have they seen? Children learn more from actions rather than instruction. The change has to start with you. You cannot condemn the nation or its leaders just yet. Let him who has no sin cast the first stone! If we do not begin the change, we will continue to suffer, the more corrupt will continue to defraud the less corrupt and brothers will continue to murder each other for no reason. How many of our sons and husbands and fathers and mothers and sisters and daughters will we bury before we come to our senses? Our land is filled with the blood of the slain and our rivers turn red. How many half-baked prayers from rebellious but hypocritical hearts will be said till we grow weary of praying?
You dominate a little part of this universe, bring sanity to it and you’ll salve a wound in the nation. Do not wait for everyone else to play their part before you play yours!
Nigeria can be saved. She is 52 years old but she can still matter if we start now. Faith without works is dead. Don’t be a lazy ass patriot who sits on his/her behind mumbling and grumbling about how bad the nation is and blaming everyone else but yourself while you continue to break so called ‘small’ rules and commit ‘petty crimes’ and do nothing to improve the circle you have control over. Remember my friend Ugo, he could have been your brother, your husband, your son or your friend. He was standing on the road minding his own business when he was murdered in cold blood. It could have been any one of us. 😦 The sooner we stand up to lawlessness in this country, the sooner we can have a fighting chance. God loves Nigeria but He will not come down to make things right for us. He has given every one of us the power.
I love my country and I will start the change from my own little corner! Join the REVOLUTION!!!
May the labour of our heroes past, never be in vain and may Ugo’s family and his beloved widow find justice for his death and comfort for their loss.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY NIGERIANS, may it truly be a happy one someday in the future…Amen!