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By Eriye Onagoruwa
06 February 2020   |   3:07 am
We haven’t spoken in a while, my dear brother. A lot has been happening to me and I just decided to adopt a reflective stance for a while.”

We haven’t spoken in a while, my dear brother. A lot has been happening to me and I just decided to adopt a reflective stance for a while.”

“A lot is always happening to you. Even the country is happening to you. You better take it easy before you end up in Yaba psychiatric hospital.”

“There was a damning report about that hospital recently. One reporter posed as a patient and stayed there for a couple of days. He complained about everything—from the food that is cooked and served as though it were for mad people, to shortage of nurses and even the toilet facilities. Everything is in such a deplorable state. Worse still, even after paying for drugs, he was released without any specific treatment or therapy. The reporter said the rats there are well-fed. Possibly even more than the human beings there.”

“You specialize in reporting only one-sided cases. Did you not hear what the Hon minister of Health said when the report was brought to his attention?”

“What did he say?”

“He said, “this will be looked into immediately.”

“Do you know what would be used to look into this issue? Glasses? X-ray machine? Binoculars?”

“It is because of people like you that SARS exists. Be asking questions that are bigger than that of your tiny head that is shaped like Ghana coconut. By the time they mix you like Dangote cement, wo, you will nickname your mother darkness.”

“The National Assembly needs to play a bigger role in asking questions about our healthcare sector. Indeed, just about every sector needs serious attention. The situation is frightening.”

“Those people are very busy. They are looking for 37billion Naira to renovate their complex. The patients in Yaba psychiatric hospitals are already unwell. Wetin concern agbero with overload?” Besides, did you listen to Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, the member of the house of reps from Doguwa/Tudun Wada Federal Constituency, Kano state recently? Did you watch him on the floor of the house?”

“Watch ke? That is if PHCN gives you light, or Lagos traffic allows you to get home on time.”
“It was surreal. He asked his four wives to stand up in military-style command. They did. He then told the house that he was a proud husband of four wives and these four wives have produced twenty-seven children and counting. In fact, he said that when people call him a powerful member of the house, it is proof that he is not only powerful at work but also powerful at home. He was proud of his achievements.”

“Oti o! is that what they are discussing in the house now? With all the myriad issues we are dealing with as a nation? What time do they have to discuss matters of national importance?”

“His twenty-seven children and four wives are matters of strategic national importance. National importance has to start with the family as a unit.”

“We are going nowhere as a nation, I’m telling you the truth.”

“We are making giant strides, stop all these negative confessions. You are beginning to sound like all those false prophets.”

“But even the emir of Kano, has said that a number of men, take more wives than they can provide for, breed children they cannot dignifiedly raise, and that their unrestrained loins eventually become a source of social menace. He is making a very valid point. We need to do something fast about our population and the number of children that women give birth to with no idea of how to take care of them.”

“I agree. Ehm, how many wives does the Emir have?”

“He didn’t ask you to count his wives. Besides, he said men take more wives than they can provide for. You will overlook that important fact now and enter into the realm of foolish talk.”

“Are you trying to say the Honorable cannot look after his wives or his twenty-seven children? It is because you didn’t watch the news. If you see their skin— it was fresh like a newborn baby’s own. They are evidently well taken care of. Even more importantly, since the Hon member finished his national youth service, he has always worked with government. He is a proper government pikin. The government has been looking after him for a long time. He is a recipient of our national cake. Kai, I love this country I’m telling you.”

“You are engaging in hate speech. Inciting a section of the country against another section. Let me come and be going before they arrest both of us. I left my last born crying for milk and my wife gave me the look she reserves for me when I come home and tell her that things are getting better, she should just be patient.”

“Whatever happened to the hate speech bill?”

“The sponsor of the Bill, Honorable Senator Sabi, said that the legislation is alive and will continue its journey at the National Assembly. But I must warn you, it is precisely these sorts of questions that the hate speech bill is designed to eradicate. Nigerians ask questions as though they are the most intelligent people on earth. And people like you— you ask as though you don’t fear God. You just open your unbrushed mouth wide and say anything you like.”
“I will soon leave you and start going home. The traffic in Lagos these days ties gele. After tying gele it will just sit in the middle of the road and be eyeing Lagosians.”

“But what really is the matter gan? It is becoming so frustrating to leave your house and go out in Lagos.”
“The Government is working. A state of emergency has been declared on our roads. Besides, they are repairing most of the roads so we should see the end of this traffic menace soon.”

“Why do they work during the day when people are hurrying to get to work?”

“When do you want them to work?”

“At night. I travelled to Norway recently, and about 12 midnight, a lot of road construction was going on. There should be a way to do these things, without inflicting pain on the citizens.”

“It is only witches and politicians that work at night in Nigeria. Besides, why are you comparing Norway with Nigeria?”

“They are not witches in Norway, but they are working at night to make sure during the day the impact of the construction is not felt.”

“There is witchcraft and sorcery. Oyibos are sorcerers.”

“Iwo lo mo. We need a holistic plan to curb this traffic issue in Lagos. We are dying by installments daily. This is not the way to live. Most times by the time I get home, my legs would be shaking, and my head stays swollen for at least ten minutes.”

“Holistic plan. You like grammar sha. After declaring a state of emergency on the roads and fixing the roads you are still looking for a holistic plan. I kuku trust Amotekun. They will come to you very soon. They have no time for idle and rubbish talk.”

“What do you think about Amotekun?”
I think you should be going home. That is what I think. It is better for you to leave sleeping leopards where they are.”

“You are right my brother. The issues facing Nigeria surprise even the government. I need to go and visit a friend of mine in Lagos General Hospital at Marina. It is just that when I remember how the place looks like I feel like just going home instead.”

“How does it look like?” Isn’t it a hospital?”

“My brother, from the gate to the wards, it is clear that no patient is expected to come in and survive. Decrepit state of infrastructure, unkempt environment, dingy-looking corners, it is difficult to describe in words how I felt. Very depressing. I spoke with a young man who was cleaning the floors. He got the job last month to try and raise money for his school fees. How much can he raise?”

“Do not worry. The Government has increased VAT to 7.5%. The economy will pick up and there will be funds for hospitals.”

“Sometimes I think that you should also go to Yaba psychiatric hospital. You do not show any form of seriousness when we are discussing.”

“My uncle died last month. We are still looking for money to buy a coffin. I asked myself why he chose this time to die. Then you want me to bother myself about Nigeria?”

“Speaking of death, there have been so many senseless killings in the last few months. My brother, we need deliverance in this country. People do not value lives any longer. That is the surest sign that we are descending into anarchy in this country. I understand why that young chap cried out for a drastic change.”

“Have you heard him cry out since they released him? He was shown the way, the truth, and the life in jail. Nigerians like life and nobody wants to die. Don’t worry about yourself. Things will get better. Las las, we would be alright. Me, I just need to be close to a government official. It is because we do not know anyone up there. Once we can get a contract or even know someone who can introduce us to someone powerful in government, we would be using a toothpick to pick our teeth and smiling at the masses who do nothing but complain. Awon detractors and enemies of progress.”

“I am going to General Hospital. I will call you when I get home if you can come out for a drink. Many powerful girls patrol the streets of Lagos at night.”

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