I thought I had read “The Land is Green” title of TY Bello’s hit tract off the sticker on the rear bumper of the car ahead of us, but on a second look, I discovered it was “The Land is Good”. The sticker was a combination of green and white with the sketch of the Nigerian map in the middle. For a while, I wondered who the origin of this fallacy was. Memoirs of the attempt of one of our former ministers of information to burnish with a single stroke the horrible image we had willfully accumulated for our self over the years through a now rested image laundering rubbish-The heart of Africa Project-came flooding back. Whose opinion for Gods sake was it that this land was good?
I was certain that even the owner of the car with the sticker wasn’t convinced about the message on it. He had been trying unsuccessfully to get in front of a smoking Julius Berger truck on the now legendary traffic jam on the Kubwa Abuja express way. A commotion I think the Guinness Book of World Records should begin to take interest in. We were all stuck in the abysmal milieu. It was a morning and evening routine. My head ached, my legs felt hot inside my shoes and all around me were sighs and hisses from equally frustrated fellow commuters. Civil servants returning home after a tiring day at work subjected to the harrowing experience of dragging on endlessly in a sea of cars. Did they say this land was good? What is good about a country where naval ratings beat up defenseless ladies and strip them naked on the streets? Absolutely nothing.
The day before, Sunday 16th November, I had digested the day’s edition of The Guardian News paper. If the man with the sticker had done same, I guessed he would have pulled off the sticker in protest. That would have been the least he would have done, except perhaps he was an embodiment of the fallacy the sticker sort to spread. From Helen Ukpabio’s seeming obsession for infant witches highlighted on page 87 by Waffarian in “This My Country”, to Tolu Ogunlusi’s “We Must Set Forth At Midnight” in page 40, no doubt was left in my mind about this country being a very sick one. Then there was Reuben Abati’s paraphrasing of excerpts from Richard Dowden’s Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles sixteenth chapter which happened to be on Nigeria.
There I read amongst other things, that diplomats consider being posted to this land as punishment. What could be worse that this? The writer said we-Nigeria-were a failed state that works. I dare to ask like Abati did, “uhmn, does this country really work?” Perhaps the most explicit verdict came in page 26. The ageless one, Wole Soyinka, had undertaken to register his thought on the recent declaration of Adams Oshiomole as the authentic and duly elected governor of Edo state by the Appeal Court, in his piece “From Sodom To Adam”. Kongi in his characteristic way of saying it as it is likened Nigeria to the sightless thrashings of a beheaded chicken, colliding with one obstacle after another until its final expiration. Earlier that day, I have received a notification on facebook of my being tagged to a story by Sahara Reporters on the arrest in London of the brother to the Nigeria Minister of Justice Michael Aondooaka on some corruption related offences. What could have been more nauseating?
There had always been this big question mark on the person of Mr. Minister of Justice since his appointment. First he declared a battle with erstwhile helmsman of the EFCC (now embattled) Nuhu Ribadu on who had the powers to prosecute suspected corrupt persons. His role in the appointment of new EFCC boss Farida Waziri has remained a subject held in suspect and recently, he was accused of going into some kind of unholy relationship with Billionaire business man Jimoh Ibrahim which saw to the stopping of the latter’s litigation for corrupt dealings.
Now this and you tell me this land is good? Days after, we were to read of the life sentencing of five military men. People, who were trained and had sworn to defend their nation, were involved in selling weapons to persons who threatened the security of the nation and indeed of their own comrades drafted to the JTF-the internal peace keeping body. Such are only possible in a land as “good” as ours. Just then, I noticed that an impatient siren blaring police van (not even a convoy, just a pick up van) which had speed down dangerously against traffic on the other lane of the expressway had created a new lane of vehicles on that lane-driving against traffic.
What do you call it, when those to enforce the law, creates an atmosphere for and actually encourages the breakage of the law? As the bus I was in continued to inch forward at the rate of one meter every ten minutes, my lungs filling up with the dust in the air in the go slow, all I could see were images of a chicken thrashing endlessly after its head had been cut off. Wole Soyinka couldn’t have been more right. That was Nigeria and please to put the records straight, this land-as presently functioning-is to say the least, not good at all.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters