Another December and here we are again. Another December rolling away and rolling us away … Another December and I see myself as a solitary figure, as humble, as ever, in my reflection and confrontation with an overwhelming significance of all aspects of our national realities. Another December nearing its journey’s end … Another December going, walking away, conscious of its passing time, showing us our private and public miseries … Another December that is underlining our change of seasons of birth, death and decay of our climate of being-hood and nationhood. Another December and the cabal of cabals are as unrelenting as ever in their desire to plant their grammar of pain in our hearts and consciousness that do not want them. Another December hopping away and the cabals, the intriguers are still caballing as ever as they mean to yield the weather of our country-hood to portraits of untruths, injustice, misery, intolerance, pains of religion, banes of corruption and graft and senses of loss in our feeling of collective brotherhood and sisterhood.
Another December of joy that is joyless… Another December of our masses that will remain masses of unpleasant apprehensions and memories and of changeless change … Another December of our cherished yuletide that is announcing the gulf between appearance and reality. What they said and promised that they would do and change remains undone and unchanged. We laugh to the stores and markets if we can but the laughter is the laughter of loss and of pain. For our laughter is not made whole; it is the laughter of the deceived and of the besieged. And our loss and pain are of those who are truly helpless and hopeless and cannot but accept their condition of induced and compelled decay in a seeming season of seeming joy.
Another December of weddings. Dreams of happiness are everywhere. Prayers of joy are everywhere in the houses of Christ, but how many of the ones who are joined are made whole in the image of Christ the Son in the sun of their weddings that the proponents of change will sooner or later ruin with their lightless lamp of change? The youths clap and clap and dance and dance as they enjoy their peace minor and minor peace and raw and rough joy in their December of un-sweet and unsweetened joy of un-sweet and unsweetened change. There is no abundance in this December rolling away… Our hardworking men and women wait, wait and wait for minimum wage forever … Maybe the chores of this December will give them the minimum wage that cannot ride their stomachs home before their December is over. But many will die before December is over in a few seconds, minutes, hours, and days’ time. The seeds and fruits of their labour they will never enjoy despite all the noise about the trees that are ripe with mangoes, paw-paws and pears somewhere in Aso Rock of aridity, locked pretty, pretty well inside a space of change with lion gates. Those who enjoy the harvest are insiders and not intruders.
Another December… My memory races back to my Zaria years of youthful youth. I remember my landlord I never knew or ever saw in Samaru. My flat was in a barrack of flats not far-away from the main gate of Ahmadu Bello University of radiant personages. All the time I lived there, I paid my rent as and when due. And I lived well and tidily with my barrack neighbours. One day, in that December, as I was dying to travel down South to my birth-home, I found under my flat’s main door, a piece of paper asking me (my name improperly written) to appear in a Sharia Court. What for? For failure to pay my flat rent of one month before the end of December that was far from ending. I was bemused. Or do I say that I was intriguingly alarmed? I vowed never to be present in that unfamiliar court.
My friends, northerners and non-northerners, counselled me not to dare the almighty Sharia Court and its judge. To shorten the story, I was in the court on the specified day and time I was given to appear in a severe December of severe harmattan. After other cases were called and dealt with, my turn came. Before then, I had employed the court interpreter to be my interpreter even though I wasn’t sure at all of his interpretative skill and interpretive semantics. In fact, how was I certain that he would interpret correctly in Hausa the case I would present before the all powerful Sharia judge in its and his very much dreaded court? Of course, my interpreter whom I paid handsomely in the open court promised that he would also be my counsel and would plead my case honorably and diligently. My case did not last more than fifteen minutes. I simply said to the judge that I was not a rent defaulter. And that, in any case, my landlord and or his agent(s) did not even accost me before bringing me before the judge. I never ever refused to pay my rent. Why was I in court? I presented my case very politely and highly decorously. Judgment without any question to those who took me to the strange court: a fine (the amount I can no longer remember) for allowing the matter to be brought to court and order there and then to pay my December rent in December that was yet to end or come full circle.
This incident has stayed in my mind ever since 1979 December. It was a really touching Sharia law experience for me. As a matter of fact, that was the first and only time I have been to any court of law (or of injustice) in this land or elsewhere.
Not long after the recollected experience I relocated from my very much cherished Northern Nigeria. Now it was the Sharia law that, among other reasons, induced and compelled my relocation from there that some so-called almighty lords of our country-hood and country-dom want to bring to the South. Where will I now relocate to? Canada? America? Great Britain? What a misery to have a joust with!
May this December fetch those who don’t wish us well what they don’t wish for us and us all, the people and masses of our wonderful country and country of plenty and plenitude. May they not get what they don’t want us to get. May the breezing, breezy breeze and windy wind of December blow them away sooner or later, but soonest than latest that mustn’t get us to a boiling point. May their juju vanish or be rendered useless and impotent.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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