Nigeria is falling apart. No kidding.
It starts with an unending series of killings in an area of Lagos state, then it becomes jungle justice, then we hear the Island is flooded, and it culminates in a longstanding issue of a missing president. Yet somehow we are more interested in a woman who has just conceived after being pregnant for what? Three years? I laugh.
We deliberate on releasing a renowned kidnapper because he quotes Psalms 23 better than Caleb, because his wife and children are crying, I mean, Caleb have you no sympathy?
We deliberate on jungle justice, on how far is too far. On if the government doesn’t protect us Caleb, shouldn’t we protect ourselves? And then when an innocent man is killed, we sweep it under the carpet of “we are victims of circumstances.”
Over 12 years ago, we all watched on Channels TV as a ten year old beggar (or less. Not sure of the age now) was lynched because they found 50 naira on him and they assumed he was a ritualist who lured children to their waterloo with the crumpled note.
The mob was frantic. You, my dear, lovely, tithe-paying Nigerian Christian was frantic. Thirsty for blood. So much that when you pointed to his mother in the crowd, she denied him. So you threw a tyre over his head, sprinkled petrol and boom.
His name was Samuel. I never forgot. It stayed with me.
Where’s the evidence? He said. She said. I saw. They saw. My uncle’s neighbor’s principal said.
But this is fine. For we are a people taken to grappling at the words of others. Pastors. Bus Doctors.
We are a people greatly moved by miracles, by impossibles. So can I suggest a few to you?
We need our president to come back.
We need something to be done in Ikorodu before it becomes all of Lagos State.
We need to tackle cargo trucks and petrol tankers. One fell in Ojota two days ago and of course killed people.
The area I live in Lagos is close to the port and ridden by them. I have to slice through them every day to go anywhere. The road is bad. They hump along it but they still move.
They shouldn’t be passing this particular road, but after crumpled naira notes are squeezed into the hands of pot-bellied officials, it’s go on boys, go on.
How is that the government’s fault? How did the government make you stupid?
2015. A tanker fell right on that road. Spilled petrol. Burned about three buildings including a bank. Killed lots of people.
What did they say was the problem? The devil is wicked. Why did God sit and let this happen? After all the prayers we’ve made.
That episode has passed. The road is worse. Lagos State Government ordered them to leave. For where?
The potholes are endless. It’s a time bomb waiting to happen. I pass there almost every week and shake my head. Money keeps exchanging hands; it’s your daily bread against my life.
Lest I forget, I have to carry my ID cards and “I am a blogger line” everywhere. Because the police keep stopping me. In an Uber. On foot. Three times in two months.
May I meet you. Open your bag. Give me your phone. Unlock it. Open your WhatsApp. Open your Messenger. You have beards. Why do you have a WiFi?
Caressing their slender guns in my face. If they find a man’s picture on my phone, I am gay. If it’s a woman, then I must be a yahoo boy.
So give us 5k. Cooperate. Or you get beaten. Or worse, shot.
My “I am a writer” line saves me all the time, plus I shove aside my ego and play along. What of the bearded man with a Wi-Fi who has no line?
A man was shot four weeks ago. Same scenario.
So let’s be prayerful, Caleb. Let’s pray harder. God is alive, Caleb. He hearkens to his children. Let’s blame our government some more.
Fuck praying for it.
Fuck “the situation is beyond us” and “only prayer can save us”.
Fuck blaming the government. Yes they are terrible, yes they’re thieves, but let’s face it, you are terrible too.
You are a terrible person. No more sugar coating it. And I am tired of telling you prayer demands some sense from you too, so I won’t.
I am talking to the people who have sense today. To the good minded Nigerians who are consistently frustrated by you idiots.
Run if you can. They don’t deserve you.
The second you’re able to, grab your passport and run.
Don’t let anyone guilt trip you into staying.
Run. Get a visa. Get on that plane.
Written by Caleb Okereke