I love reading and sharing jokes and although I don’t always have time to watch movies, but my preferred choice of movie is a really nice comedy. I love anything that will give me a good laugh. I really cannot stand people without a good sense of humour. To be my friend, you must be able to take a joke and understand jokes too. It is precisely because of my bias for things humorous that Nigeria is not a subject I enjoy discussing. Nigeria is a subject I find depressing even at the best of times, because when you really think of it, there isn’t a single sector in the country that is doing well, except of course the corruption industry which is the biggest and most thriving industry we have right now.
Unfortunately for me, in spite of my personal preference for sunny topics and subjects of discourse, Nigeria is a subject I am very passionate about and cannot seem to avoid talking about. The reason is very simple, I know it is simply not possible for us all to pack our bags and leave the shores of this country because of the ever-worsening problems of the country. The only option thus available to people like me is to stay and think of how I and others can turn things around for everyone to live a little better.
Believe me, trying to do anything the right way in this country especially in Lagos is a very frustrating venture. We have become so comfortable doing things upside down that we rather see anyone trying to do things right as crazy, a fit person to occupy a special room at Yaba left-side!
The terrible tragedy of the Dana Air crash of 2nd June 2012 which killed all 153 people on board and a yet unknown number of people on ground is just a manifestation of some of the things wrong with us in this country. And we should make no mistake about it, we are all of us equally culpable, or at least if not equally, almost as culpable as the rulers we daily condemn.
We have almost all found solace in a new god, other than the God we openly claim to worship in our churches and mosques. Our rulers on the other hand, have found twin-gods that they worship. While most of the rest of us worship money, our rulers worship money and the god of power.
A lot of people have been calling for prayers for the country since the news of the tragedy broke. I am fully in support of prayers. But of what good are prayers if we refuse to change our attitude to maintaining infrastructures, our get-rich-at-all-cost attitude, if the driver continually ignores the warning signs from his vehicle…of what use is prayer to a student who refuses to attend class and study for examinations?
And the irony of it really is, we pray a lot in this country. We cast and bind and shout to high heavens right before proceeding to China to persuade the manufacturers over there to lower the quality of the generators, stabilizers, blenders and all other goods we import into the country, even as we proceed to India to get the manufacturers of drugs to remove an important ingredient in order for us to make the maximum profit, right before a gang of robbers proceed on operations to rob and probably kill, right as the politicians divert money meant to build roads, equip hospitals, provide water and power to their private bank accounts, right before the policeman “accidentally” discharges his gun at the errant idiot that refuses to pay N100 toll to him, right before and even after an official who is supposed to check that a particular plane/car is safe to be used collects money to look the other way.
There is surely no shortage of prayers in this country. What there is shortage of however, is us all playing our part to ensure that we do things right. I always say, you can’t go wrong if you always do things right.
Now is the time, if we want to avoid a recurrence of this kind of tragedy, to examine ourselves and see what changes we can make, because if we carry on as we always do, the next thing that happens might just be even more calamitous. I pray (oops!) it doesn’t get to that!