By Mohammed Adamu
A nation on such high octane like Nigeria, raving always for –or should we say reeling always on- the edge of self-intended harm, is your perfect insurer’s nightmare. If nations were eminently insurable, especially against man-made disasters, only managers of a company high on some mind-bending substances would find Nigeria’s high-octane potentials for self-inflicted disasters underwrite-able. And if, as the British writer Alan Coren would say, that “You cannot be insured for the accidents that are more likely to happen to you”, the question will arise: what accident can we safely say is unlikely to happen to Nigeria. Virtually all our checkered life we are always a disaster waiting to happen.
All that we have known, all these past 60 years of our miserable existence, in this hotchpotch of a contraption called Nigeria, is that we are always either one murderous hand up, seeking each other’s’ wind pipes, and one pincer-clawed other hand swinging and counter-swinging to blindside each other; or soon we are all fatigued, stalemated, raggedy stymied around each other’s torn apparels and together still staggering like drunks dangerously towards one precipice today, or some gaping chasm tomorrow. Like when we fought the civil war. We had virtually tipped off the edge. But then we were back again on the path of healing.
We would fit the bill of a Charlie Chaplain disaster-courting escapades but without the comic relief. Our lives as Nigerians, unfortunately, are datelined always by the celebration of one divine intervention now or yet another each time we miss a dangerous slip off some precarious cliff; or rather whenever we ourselves are narrowly missed by some cascading earth slide that had all the tragic omen of swallowing us all. Like hell would not have had any more fury than the freest and fairest election of June 12, 1993 recklessly annulled by the military junta of Ibrahim Babangida. And we all had waited for the impending bang, but there was none. In fact, the Kokori NUPENG strike protesting the annulment was about the longest that Nigeria would be put on hold as the bomb ticked. But we still came out of it.
And how we have always come out of it has always been a Chaplain million-dollar question. But some have said that it is because God himself is a Nigerian. Isn’t that wonderful? Or others have said that it is because in addition to being a Nigerian, He lives right above our troubled firmament –owing, they say, to the immanent love He has for Nigerians. We are thus God’s spoilt brats if you may. The laws of nature suggest that ‘when you do anyhow’ you should ‘see anyhow’. But not when you are a delinquent child and have God Himself as your dotting father. Then you can ‘do anyhow’ and not ‘see any how’.
Often in fact we have been in so close shaves with accidents or self-made disasters that it has always been a certain Act of God swiftly yanking us away from the path of some mis-orbited, stray smoldering, light-year-travelled asteroid from the outer space! Just the distance of a hair’s breadth closer would’ve been a bang! Boom! Or at other times we have even benefitted from some kind of metaphysical Hand-Of-God literally reaching down from the heavens above and mightily taking out the apple of discord in our midst. Like an Abacha dying right at the nick of time –to avert an impending doom and to make way for a national healing process.
And some other times, it just may be providence herself taking us out of the jaws of any of the numerous metaphorical Frankenstein monsters that ourselves have always created, and which -as in a thriller of resurrected zombies- often eerily litter our streets and alleys stalking and terrifying us day and night. Name them: farmers-herders crisis, insurgency, militancy, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, corruption, cybercrime, almajirci, baby factories and child harvests and trafficking, cultism, religious bigotry, executive rascality, legislative idiocy and judicial travesty. Name it.
The debate in 2009 over the making of Goodluck Jonathan acting president would’ve been unnecessary had an ailing Yar’Adua transmitted a letter to the National Assembly. Nonetheless the acrimony that had resulted from that failure which had almost threatened to tip the nation over, was still all the more unnecessary had we all not chosen to retreat to our geo-ethnic tents and to use those fortresses to fire salvos of hate and mutual animosities at each other. It was a miracle we survived the Yar’Adua health debacle without the as much of a limb or even a follicle.
But did that ever stop us from tempting the gods further? Did that stop us from moving on to get high on some other mind-bending substances? We are always high on the octane of one substance or another. We have virtually become junkies of the daredevil height. And maybe even drug addicts should be more justified being always in desperate search for their daily fixes and kicks, than a whole nation turned junky of some sort and having to live on the fast-dangerous lane as the only way she knows best to fix her addicted nerves and to achieve regular kicks and mental altitude.
And as with junkies of drugs, so with daredevil junky-states always in the delirium of internal crises: the kick that we get from the fixes we make out of being on the precipice, is always worth the risk. As the late Bob Marley would say: ‘we feel so high (sometimes) we even touch the sky’! And it can only make us crave for higher doses. Because in the world of addicts, as the higher the fixes means also the higher the kicks, so the higher the kicks means also the higher the doses and the higher the dosage. What had given us a particular kick yesterday, by tomorrow would be mere prologue to what has given us kick today. And so, seeking new heights and fresh life-threatening altitudes becomes the daily preoccupation of a nation that has learnt over the years not to be at peace with itself.
And as Shakespeare would say: “The blood stirs more to rouse a lion than to start a hare”. Now with the ENDSARS protests, it appears, at last, we have now gone from mere skateboarding to skydiving –without a parachute! You heard that! Our current situation –toying with the nerve elements of war- is as good as going skydiving without a parachute. And as the Hausas would say ‘mu je gudu, mahaukachi ya hau kura’. Madness, at last, has mounted the beast. And like I said on my Facebook wall, anarchy is a complete package. It is a bouquet of all possible channels. There is always a little something in it for everyone. Anarchy is a Frankenstein monster that is apt always to forget who its makers are and who it is made to consume. Anarchy is a beast without memory!
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