The frame of mind to write

It is not easy to achieve the correct frame of mind to write about or on Nigeria. Why? A writer wants the balance between the good and the bad. But almost persistently the bad is overwhelming and looming in your consciousness. As a Nigerian you cannot consider everything done after applying all resources to settle them.
Most times all things seem to be hopeless at the same time. The generator must break down, after madam has put her new pot of soup in the freezer. What we knew as NEPA has been coming on and off every minute threatening to blow up all electrical and electronic appliances. In fact this facility has decidedly failed in the country. To be on the safe side, you decide to use the gen. It still fails to work. Either it doesn’t start or it doesn’t transmit power. All the phones are down. You can’t call the gen. repairer. Nobody can call you. There is ‘network problem’. The gen. repairer’s phone returns the messages – “not reachable, or the number you’re calling is switched off. The man’s phone is also down and without power in it. No solution anyhow, anywhere. You’re frustrated on that. The car develops a funny fault you’ve never heard of. You’re thinking of how to drive it in that condition to the mechanic ten kilometers away since all roadside mechanics have been driven away. You can’t stop anywhere to do a first aid on the car to enable you drive it to the distant mechanic. Those who would have helped you have been turned into fugitives to other states. Most of their working tools and equipment were confiscated or maliciously destroyed by government agents. They are done for if caught giving that service by the roadside. I can’t see any sadism greater than this. On the way, merciless ndi nkuwa are everywhere squeezing all road users with the backing of government. They have full authority to harass people. You only pray you don’t fall into their numerous traps. They set traps for motorists everywhere. This is their unbelievable and curious assignment of all the things there are to do to develop the state. You don’t need to have caused any offense before you can be their victim. All they need to stop you is to think “you can bleed” (figuratively speaking) if given a machete cut or a blow on any part of your body. Perhaps you are well-dressed, driving a good car or really looking good, be you male or female. That shows them “you can bleed” and you have weight to withstand their shove. If they stop you, it is usually for no other reason than to get money from you. Whether or not you have it, you must spill at least N5, 000.00 or your 4 tires will not be yours again. You have to buy them back after they have taken them out from the car and the vehicle is lying flat with its body on the pavement, unrecognizable to you again. That would be the end of your journey to the mechanic that day with your faulty car. In addition to the fault, the car has been rendered immoveable by the fearsome, marauding government agents along the roads. They are ready to cause you bodily harm if you do not meet their financial demand. They will also abuse and humiliate you to no end, whoever you think you are. If you think you are anybody, that’s when they humiliate you the more and make you prove it by the amount of money you can bring. You have begged and begged to no use.
All commercial drivers in town are disgruntled all. You can’t get any kind word from any of them. One of them who has defied all the odds to be on the road talked about his situation. It is all desperation that is driving him. His eyes are red as if dripping with blood. He has nothing at home for his wife and kids to eat. He has no driver’s license, no vehicle papers. There’s no money for these things. He has no permit to be on the road. His problem is complex. He had a keke which he had just bought with huge, borrowed funds. Soon after, he was knocked off the road. The brand new keke, with a huge debt hanging over it was laid aside to decay. A brother and friend donated his old car to him. He assisted him to tidy it up and give it the Taximo color. When he went to register it at ITC, hear what they told him was the government’s instruction. “Even though the painting you did on it is very good, the official government painting charge of N60, 000, must be paid still before you are allowed to go on the road. You must also pay N40, 000 for ‘tracking’ at N10, 000 monthly installments. That totals N100, 000.” This is what thousands of people who replaced keke people are to bleed to come back to business. The foundation of these people, you can see is devastation. This driver told me a colleague of his in this category was buried just the other day.
The condition the government put him into just overwhelmed him and he died. It is unbearable to most people. He decides to dare them and ply without permit. The only option left for him is to park the car as well and let it rot away, along with the keke; along also with himself and his family members. This is despite all he had spent to repaint it and do body and mechanical work on it. He had changed two new tires as well. Rather than sit at home and die of hunger he is on the road playing hide and seek with the marauders. He dares them to kill him for disobeying.
Most people would rather wait for the elections to stop the heartless actions of the government that has  killed the social and economic life of the place. By then most of the people would have died of hardship. This driver says no to this. Whatever will be done he says should be done now, now, now. If you ask me I would say the time is overdue for a total march on the streets to put an end to the arbitrariness and the inexplicable brutality. Two days of such a mass movement will be just enough to end  the meanness. We have to save our own lives and not allow a government to run roughshod over us, allowing no breathing space for people to survive. Our right to life and freedom in this state has so much been sullied. We don’t expect the perpetrators or our traducers to call off their wickedness on their own, without a push. It seems they derive pleasure in making people suffer and die. To halt this requires a peoples protest. The first step is to have a peace road march which I expect them meet with brute force. They will shoot into the crowd and kill a number of people. This will expectedly escalate the demonstration and attract world attention. Pressure will mount to reverse the oppression. This will serve as a mobilizer all the way to the general elections when the oppressors will be finally swept away.
From the foregoing where will the good things be found to write about the country? Whatever is said to be good about the country is the exclusive tale only the people in power can tell, which they use to consolidate their position. I am never part of the falsehood. Those good things cannot be conveyed visually, say on TV. They are conveyed through unverifiable verbiage of Nigerian radio and print journalism.
If you watch the Nigeria Television, they always show dances, highways, houses, physical structures and nice scenery. They don’t show faces of people in different habitats, circumstances, conditions and situations. When it comes to people, it is only the ugliness of famished and suffering people that can come across. But the good countries show their robust, well-fed, well-clothed, good looking, cheerful, contented and confident people – women and men, old and young. With that one can write profusely to reflect mostly the good.
Before writing this, I had watched two preachers on TV, one a white, the other a black. The black preacher addressed mostly a black audience; the white addressed a white audience. Their messages were markedly different. The white man preached a message of salvation, hope and optimism; putting the past [behind. Nobody who believed would go to hell. The black man’s message was that of damnation. All was /headed for hell, because all have sinned and are still sinning. He was pessimistic and gave little or no hope for salvation to his people or anyone. Repentance was virtually beyond today’s people. The country is bad. The world has gone bunkers. How on earth can it be saved, except by the grace of God that the present generation hardly deserves? That was what the black preacher was saying mainly.
I think the black people rather need inspiration and encouragement. We can’t go through all this excruciating oppression in Imo state -and still stand the chance of spiritual damnation and going to hell. That would be too much. We want to be told what to do to survive here on earth and also what to do to gain eternal life in the end. That’s the ultimate message for us here in Imo state, to begin with, whether you are writing or preaching. It has to be something that will cheer the people in their government-imposed hopelessness which I don’t know why they have to do that. If it is not a curse from God I can find no justification for it at all. It can only be intolerable man’s inhumanity to man which should be called off without further delay, before many more people perish. If the people cannot do anything, let God step in, in Jesus’ name.
Note:  The opinion expressed in this write-up is not that of the Christian Voice Newspaper.
- Managing Editor