Where There Are No Consequences, There Are No Futures
SOMEONE is made the deputy to someone else. In the English language, the idea is that should that someone else somehow be incapacitated or unable to do what he or she is chosen to do, the deputy would pick up where the baton was dropped. Or if someone is vice something or the other it implies in English that that vice would take the position when the main person is out. In Nigeria, things don’t work out that way. A vice or deputy is produced out of the processes of ethnic balancing. If the principal person is from England, the deputy should be from Wales. If it happens that the English man/woman went and disabled himself/herself, the Welsh person does not take over. We must now look for another English man to whom the Welsh person would still be deputy. The consequences of deputy and vice do not apply because such titles are tribally designed to give everyone a seat in tribal gatherings.
There is something called primary elections within parties. It is to allow the best brains within a party to come forth and be the strongest arm that would carry the umbrella and protect all under its shade or else wield the broom that would sweep everywhere clean. Then you sit down in front of the television and watch the delegates persuade everybody who wishes to contest for the position to give up to their wishes for a consensus candidate previously determined behind closed doors. All day long the charade goes on and finally everybody who came there to contest is deprived of their wishes and the candidate previously chosen wins the primary election! Of what use is the primary processes?
Have you been on the traffic when there is a hold up in front? Within minutes the lanes multiply. Most roads in Nigeria take two lanes but before your very eyes there are six or seven lanes, all labouring towards the reason for the road block. In vain because before long, the consequences of moving, no matter what, catches up with everybody. Because unknown to the side coming from Abuja, the side coming from Kaduna had also produced nine lanes on a two lane road.
The two sides confront each other and there is a stand still. Everybody is surprised because nobody thought that the consequences of indiscriminate forward movement without giving others the chance to also move forward is a stand still. But no matter. There is a solution. After all this is Nigeria. And the highway is beautifully designated dual carriage way – it carries on, on both sides up down, to and fro. So you look on the other side and notice that some of your fellow traffic on the Lagos direction are also on the Ibadan direction but going towards Lagos. Just as some of their Ibadan traffic are on your Lagos traffic side going to Ibadan.
Out of curiosity, you lean out of your car and ask the man driving on the verge on your right whether what he is doing is rational or make sense to him or shows that he is a human being. He smiles and says Sorry sir. Or he frowns and begs you not to vex. Or he ignores you, making eyes at you as if to say if you had the opportunity to sneak pass him you would not take it. You really desire a proper conversation with your fellow Nigerian and you say there is nothing to be sorry about, you want him to answer you. Is what he is doing intelligent in his eyes? If his child were to do such a thing would he not correct him or her? Or that you are not angry with him, you are simply amazed at his idiocy and you would not call him an animal because it would be an insult to any animal since animals are far more organised in their own world. Or you could declare there and then that you would not sneak past him because it would only make movement impossible for both of you. But nothing you say is going to make him response to an intelligent dialogue on the issue on the ground.
You feel like getting out of your vehicle to first calm down all the drivers on your right and those on your left and those at your back and those in front of you, simply to say that the way they were going, none of you was going to get anywhere in a hurry. At which point everyone descends on you wanting to know if you are the police or the army and since when was it your responsibility to order other people around? You try to say that you are not ordering them around, just making a suggestion that might help everybody moving towards the same objective. Then they accuse you of wanting to display your fake oyinbo accent and if you had addressed them in any of the local languages, they would have said you think everybody is mgbati-mgbati or yamirin or gambari!
You get back into your vehicle and wonder why some of the policemen or soldiers wasting away at stupid roadblocks could not be deployed to simply restore discipline on the road. Just gentle persuasion to every motorist to take it easy but take it, and not let their hurry delay them. Is this too much to ask, get the law and order personnel to do exactly that: keep law and order.
And all around you, a mob of unemployable youngsters selling water, selling rancid plantain chips, selling chargers that do not charge and eight week old satis and such like. You dare not look out before they invade your window thrusting cold water, hot plantain, cool kolanut and everything else at you. Should there be movement in the traffic at such a time, every item is dropped on you and various types of naira notes are demanded of you with curses and blessings and prayers and all the bad wishes that they can think of. And in about one kilometre you find that there was nothing really delaying you, only a thirsty driver buying water and waiting for his change had caused the go-slow. Allah!!!