….What more could there be?
The storm gathering in the country today, can only be liken to the ominous ones before the full blown political crises in the Western region of Nigeria in the early sixties. The storms gradually becoming clouds, then the whirlwinds, before the final eruption of the volcanos that consumed all in sight, including painfully, the over three million Biafrans during the internecine Civil War. But conversely, the storms now are not political, but social and purely socio-economic. Business growth are stunted. Job opportunities are fast thinning out, leaving young school leavers and graduates at the mercy of hunger and starvation. Today, in the streets, it is no longer an absurd sight to see physically able bodied young men and women, decently dressed, but begging for a meal.
It is not hyperbolic to posit that many are at their tether’s end right now. The high, the low, the not too high, if there is any. All are in race against nature. There is villainous ambitious chase for acquisition of power. Welfare of the power or the citizens are of no interest, but rather individual inordinate ambition and self-preservation.
Before the gale of social upheavals that engulfed the nation in the month of October, I was writing on a trilogy. The inspiration for the trilogy I got from a well-conceived idea, by a rustic community trying to establish a leadership structure. They had set up a committee of people with impeccable characters, to screen the applicants and recommend a suitable candidate. I had watched them with full admiration. But when the committee finished their assignment and reports submitted, the usual Nigerian factor set in. The committee’s reports were rascally emasculated and truncated by the same authors. I saw in them the fabled men of valour which the Yorubas will proudly call Akoni and wished our national political leaders can emulate them. But also like true Nigerian, they allowed the Jackals amongst them to move in and then the beautiful efforts became a leper, a curse, rather than a blessing it was designed to be.
I therefore, started the trilogy with the encounter with the new implants of the extinct men of valour (Akonis), then did a microscopic review on the emerging human Jackals among us and plan to have ended with the farmer that failed. The farmer that mis planned his cultivation and plantation, yet look for forward to a bountiful harvests. I know he was surely deceiving himself. I do not know if I had employed the help of satire while writing, but I was dead certain, cold sure, some uncomfortable facts and messages were passed across in those messages. But rather than continuing with the missing men of valour line, I had to veer off. As I needed to warn on the impeding chaos by the restive youths. The storms were discernible enough to those who cares. I called for a reason; which unfortunately, like several other calls, were spurned. And we are all living witness today to the unbelievable costs of that executive tardiness by the time the smokes simmered down.
That the nation practically went up in flames during the rage of youths protests is an understatement. Nothing hyperbolic can be said. Rumours and counter rumours were rife. All rage were let loosed. No caution. No reason. Lives were needlessly lost. Properties were garrulously destroyed. All because the farmer failed to plan before starting his plantation. Now the farmer have no control over the farm land or plantations. All are at the mercies of wild beasts and pests. Still we must all employ reason, both the plunderers of the fields, the looters and scavengers, else we fall into a deeper precipice.
Reason is even more needed in every spheres now, more than before. With the angst yet to subside on both sides. From Rocky Manson’s to Lagoon Houses to Savannah Lodges, there lay in cooler bottled up anger. Their excellences have been wildly violated. So also the Imperial royal palaces. They are no more immune to violent whirlwinds from the forests. So also are the eternal sanctity of the pulpits and shrines. Truth today is that both public and traditional Institutions are collapsing. And as we march on to the next phase of our national life, more of these mansions, houses, pulpits and shrines shall collapse. They are not built on rock at all, but on quick sand of corruption and impunity.
This is not about the nation alone. The socio-political jackals are all over the society now. They engineer crises. They find means of sustaining them. Because from such crises they feeds. More worrisome are the unwary youths employed in this dastardly game. These unscrupulous men have infiltrated the ranks of so many youth’s organizations across the country. They have manipulated their thinking and white-washed their brains. The agenda is not political. Not religion. And not even tribal, but self-preservation.
The social upheavals now ravaging institutions and groups in the land toady are direct results of putting housing in the small same some incompatible elements. If the farmer had marched orange with orange and plantain with plantain, perhaps such ugly scenes would have been averted. But nay. Not in our clime. Orange had been marched potatoes and the incongruities are staking us all in our eyes right now.
As things are, many institutions, both public, state and traditional, are fast decaying. Some are at the final stage of decadence, just waiting to collapse. Many of these institutions are built on quick sands of corruption. The collapse is nigh, certain and unstoppable.
Here we are again. While the gory ashes of the #EndWhatever protests are still ravaging our sights all over the place. At least, passing through some areas within Lagos metropolis will push the ugly picture across your face. And if one is to pin-point, then the BRT Terminus in Ojodu-Berger is still lying in ruins, in a state that will simply evoke tears from any nationalistic person. What remains there are carcass of luxurious buses the state government just purchased to ease the transportation problem in the state. But to me, this is end product of several years of leadership savagery inflicted on the people. One can see such coming from a long time. The goats have been pushed to the wall, and it is left with no other option than to bite its way out.
No farmer starts a plantation with the intention to fail. But there are factors and conditions that mitigate against his successful planting and harvests. It’s a matter of picking which season to start his plantation and cultivation. We have planted wrongly and cultivated poorly here, hence the harvests have been extremely poor. What we have been seeing, witnessing are just the clouds, the storms. The winds, the whirlwinds may come with more anger than ever imagined.
To a clinical mind, the clouds have been gathering for quite some time now, the storms have also been clear to those who want to see. At least, we all see this. We all know this. Yet, the inbuilt impunity in us would not allow us to speak out against it, or even act against it. Yet the danger lay ahead.
What happened in October during the #EndSars protests may be just a tip of the cloud. If one consider the alacrity the #EndSars protests turned to #EndGovernment and later #End this and that. The storms are still gathering. The dusts raised by the cloud are simply unimaginable. The storms may raise more dusts. But if we fail to manage the storm now, as we failed to manage the clouds, the whirlwind coming may consume us all. The usual practices of wishing away agitations may not work here. The misguided youths are not the core agitators. The real agitators may still come back more forcefully to hunt the rest of us.
We are at the tail-end of the year. One need no soothsayer to tell of the ominous times that lay ahead. At least we clapped, we danced, we sang into the year 2020. None was able to tell of the uncertainties the year was to thrown at us. The coming year may come with different loads of uncertainties. Yet our men in authorities do not bother to look beyond the mirror. Nostradamus … the man who saw tomorrow need not come and tell us. They signs are here with us….
Adebiyi Afolayan writes from Lagos, Nigeria
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