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Nigerians are not living

By Tony Afejuku
07 January 2022   |   2:47 am
Nigeria your country my country our country is the harshest country in the world. It is the harshest and severest country in this world. This is no exaggeration.

Nigeria your country my country our country is the harshest country in the world. It is the harshest and severest country in this world. This is no exaggeration.

If this is an exaggeration it is – or it must be – an exaggeration that does not allow or compel you or anyone to beat around the bush. And I won’t beat around the bush. Nigerians are not living. Little by little Nigerians are demolishing Nigerians.

Little by little powerful, corrupt and vain-glorious Nigerians are demolishing good, humane, human and praiseworthy Nigerians who labour and serve Nigeria best. The good ones, the good compatriots and real patriots, the masses who often glitter with the diamond clothes and accessories of their poverty have been turned to asses that pull the cart of labour that impoverishes them.

The lords of the deserts, savannas, forests, swamps, skies, mangroves, mountains, valleys, rivers and waters have hungered them immensely and immeasurably to a point when and where human beings now lack human lives. I am not wroth with them for seemingly accepting their helotism, helotage and helotry in a country where they are in the majority. They far outnumber the beasts in power and curios owner-less owners of the nation’s wealth that actually is the wealth of the people who live from the beginning to the end of Nigeria geographically speaking.

In this Christmas season of the epoch of our haunting socio-political system, I created ample time to dwell on the puzzle that is this place, this country, this nation we call ours. The more I thought about our condition the more puzzling I found it to be. How can our quality of life – or of living – be this horrifyingly poor and mundanely mundane in this place where we cannot munch our wealth in peace, in bliss, in happiness, in joyful joy? But which wealth am I talking about? Which wealth am I talking of when your compatriots my compatriots our compatriots are barely living or not at all living as human beings but as shrouds of mists in a world where the best of compatriots are no more the best of compatriots, where the firmest of minds and friends and relatives are no more the firmest of minds and friends and relatives. Everyone has been turned into a shroud shrivelling in their shrinkage ship of existence that is not existence.

Intellectual integrity is no more valuable in our clime. The spirit of enquiry, the desire, the wish, the will and the brilliance of intelligence mean nothing. No one is really ready to be the detective, the enquirer, the questioner, the historian, the investigative journalizer and the preventive health physician, the public intellectual, the artist and the literary personage, the criminologist, the respected this and that of our occupations and disciplines in the social sciences and natural and physical sciences who examine systematically the same space of existence as we know it and as we do not know it has failed us. The Nigerian bug and bugaboo have caught up with us all. And we continue to live the existence that is not our existence.

I strolled through territories in my home State of Delta in December. The stinking stench of poverty from Sapele, Warri, Koko, Eku, Ughelli, Abraka, Agbor, Asaba and several other places was (and still is) a palpable truth. Even Benin City and Ologbo and Abudu and Urhonibge and Ekpoma in neighbouring Edo State are not guiltless in this respect. The roads to these towns and cities are not roadable roads. I cannot write about them without dwelling on the melancholy they ignited in me. Even several and many roads within the cities speak of a time of a bygone recollection now badly illuminated. In several of the towns and cities skyscrapers owned by several persons of no genuine means of livelihood are living beings and things better full of life than our compatriots and masses who honestly and genuinely are not living persons. These people who own the wealth that is not their wealth, can they enjoy peace and bliss and happiness that are not peace and bliss and happiness? Tomorrow – who says they and their skyscrapers can’t and won’t tumble and be demolished as they are demolishing our existence? Their juju will never cage and protect them intact for eternity. Their rituals will turn and work against them at the time appointed.

The dust in our villages, towns and cities is not the dust of the dry harmattan time or of COVID-19 or of the Omicron variant of the dreaded disaster. It is the dust of agonizingly grinding poverty. The colour of this poverty is the “colour of dried blood” deliciously caked by the impoverishment imposed by the agogues of our politics. As it is in Delta and Edo, so it is elsewhere in the clime. Nothing anywhere has occurred to point to us that the existing pain and fragility that have compelled many young men and women to look much older than their true ages will soon become a new spirit of striking and sparkling comfortable living for your compatriots my compatriots our compatriots. Nothing is on the central table of our politics that suggests that in the new epoch we are entering the cream of our society shall be populated by the barely living beings, the barely living creatures who populate everywhere as beasts, as draught animals in harness.

The central politicians and statesmen have announced to us that in this New Year there is going to be a total withdrawal of fuel subsidy. Clearly, they are not tired of pauperizing the people day by day hour by hour minute by minute second by second. Let the statesmen and central economists and counsellors of thoughts serve us their fuel subsidy withdrawal dish. If this is their spirit of happiness, may it happen and set for them the dish they itch to set for us. And may we as well wait for the tumbling, thundering; and the thundering, tumbling outcome. The tumble-down will be the tumble-down. Let the obstinate and cunning statesmen, like asses continue their obstinacy, cant and singsong as counsellors and barristers and notaries of the masses. The tumble-down is the tumble-down.

I am not building castles in the swamps and mangroves and rivers of your compatriots my compatriots our compatriots.

What thoughts entered my melancholic mind and climbed to its furthermost interior and enclosure this new season! Believe me: the presence of mind is lacking in me to wish you my every reader a sweet, juicy year of oranges and apples and bananas and carrots and pears and paw-paws and all your fruits of wishes and desires. But I just wish you well – all of you.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.