A: When an old, overstayed king dies and you replace him with a sickly prince, what do you think will happen in the palace?
B: Tears. wailings and gnashing of teeth will erupt there once again, very soon.
A: We are a great people with great ideas of what we want, where we want to be and what would take us there. But why are we always stranded midair, panting and praying for deliverance from the choices we freely make? Just when you think the plane is out of danger, the pilot tells you to fasten your seatbelt, deadlier turbulence ahead. It is sad how things smoothly get out of hand here. The sick rarely get well…
B: Very unfortunate. Is it that the doctors are not competent or the town is just jinxed to be afflicted with irredeemable conditions? Everyday, everywhere, everyone frowns.
A: I don’t listen to Nigerian news anymore. I don’t want to die early….negative, negative all the time.
B: It is true. But not listening to news won’t change anything. Or has your self-inflicted blackout stopped schools from increasing fees or paid the school fees of your children? Has it stopped politicians from farting into your mouth while the king pines away admiring his glittering crown while the people starve? Better get used to the bad news. In any case, bad news has always been the news. Check your articles in the last three years. You can republish any one and it will still be fresh.
A: You are right. Last Friday, I saw a piece I wrote exactly two years ago. “Dimgba Igwe: Death of the journalist.” It was amazing how almost every issue addressed in it fit into today’s events.
B: So it is two years already that Dimgba died? And everyone has moved on. I don’t think the hit-and-run driver was ever found?
A: For where? The police must have moved on too to the next and the next tragedy.
B: I remember that piece and the reference to Nigeria as the ultimate “Valley of Death.”
A: Yes. The valley of death kills its best. And it does so in various ways and manners. Sometimes physically; many times, it adds the psychological to the manifest death. Who would ever have thought that Mike Awoyinfa’s twin brother would visit Banana Island and bemoan the fate that consigned him to dusty, pothole-racked Okota? Dimgba visited Banana Island and “he was so sad that he would be leaving the well-tarred streets of Banana Island and be returning home to that hell of a street in Okota,” Mike recollected two years ago as he quoted Dimgba voicing out a dream that the Okota hit-and-run driver never allowed him to birth. “Ogbeni, we must work harder and have a place in Banana Island,” he told Mike. Work harder so he and his friend could live in Banana Island? But, if hard work was what was needed to land him in that Island as a proud house owner, he and Mike already paid their dues in full. In fact, that he worked too hard was the reason he never lived there…
B: Hmmm. O ga o. Just like yesterday. And everything feels and sounds so fresh and raw.
A: Yes. So unfortunate. I’m sure in two years time, that paragraph would still ring true.
B: What that tells you is that nothing changes anywhere here. The only thing that moves are the hands of the clock. The only change you always see no matter how hard you try is the bus driver. The engine, the chassis, the conductor and, even, the passengers and the direction of the vehicle are ever constant.
A: It is so heart-rending. The economy is dying, every home is facing one challenge or the other. And what you read or hear daily either tells you the government is confused on what to do or the opposition is insulting all of us calling for a trip back to their Egypt as the alternative.
B: If you are not going back to Egypt, what other option do you have? We appear stuck with these two afflictions. You either repudiate one and embrace the other. You can’t be tired of life and still run away from death.
A: So, it is that bad. A choice between death and undeath? I do not think you are being fair to the present shepherds of the flock. They are, at least, doing something…cooking stones in a season of hunger.
B: Really? Stones?
A: Yes. Or what do you think? You can’t deny that there is, today, some sense of sanity in the way government people behave and handle public funds. Now, there is a modicum of respect for sanity. The who-will-catch-me attitude has taken a flight from the big men and women who always believed they had climbed to the highest point where no one could reach and touch them. People now misbehave under the duvet.
B: And one housewife would dare everyone to challenge her decision to claim millions of dollars as her legitimate earnings. Some people have guts, no be small.
A: Yes. That is it. Guts. Money for medicals, she said. It can only happen in Nigeria.
B: Bad news all the time. I am not even bothered again. What concerns me now is how to pay my bills and remain the head of my family.
A: A lot is happening bros. Women are taking over, big time, in several homes. It is the reality of the recession. How their men would reclaim their place after these storms is what I do not know. It is very unfortunate. And, someone said the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a conflagration. God have mercy!
B: You are right. A people can’t be more unlucky. How did we get stuck here? Remember what The Economist magazine said about the choices before Nigerians in the 2015 presidential election? It said it “was relieved not to have a vote” in that election but if it was going to vote in the election, it would, “with a heavy heart” vote for someone – the other candidate was a complete No, no.
A: I remember that heavy-hearted piece of The Economist. But what we have now, is still, in some ways, a shade better than what we had.
B: You think so?