LAST Thursday, a low-bed articulated vehicle collided with a fully-loaded bus conveying 61 school children and two teachers along old Enugu-Okigwe road, then rammed into a welder’s shop before heading for the bush. Twenty one people, including three siblings, a vulcaniser, a commercial motorcyclist, and an auto mechanic were confirmed dead, while many others suffered varying degrees of injury. The driver of the articulated vehicle ran away after throwing the whole community into mourning.
The Enugu Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogbonnaya Kalu, who confirmed the incident, said it was caused by a brake failure and reckless driving.
However, in his attempt to console some of the families who lost their loved ones to the accident, a sympathizer was said to have attributed the unfortunate incident to the will of God. According to him, it was the will of God for the accident to happen that day and for the people to die the way they did.
But could he be right? Will of God? Could it have been the will of God for an articulated vehicle to have brake failure? Could it have been the will of God for the driver to have been reckless? Could it have been the will of God for the means of livelihood of hard working people to be destroyed in a jiffy? Could it have been the will of God for a family to lose three children at one fell swoop? Will of God? Will of God or man’s irresponsibility? Will of God or man’s recklessness? Will of God or man’s stupidity? Will of God or a penchant for not doing the right things? Will of God? Is the ill of man the will of God?
While it is indubitable that God plays a significant role in the affairs of men, believing that God would do for us what we ought to do for ourselves is a delusion grandeur that has been partly responsible for our stunted development as a people. God won’t fix our roads for us. He won’t fix our vehicles for us. He won’t manage our traffic for us. He won’t obey traffic rules for us. He won’t fix our fire service for us; neither will He manage our emergency situations on our behalf. He has given us the power to handle those matters; waiting or praying for Him to fix these things for us is like waiting for yesterday.
Will of God? That is the kind of thinking that has made us the kind of people we are; always at the mercy of the elements. That is the thinking that has made us un-progressive as a people. That is the thinking that has made us lethargic and uncreative. It is the kind of thinking that has made it difficult for us to effectively combat insurgency, kidnapping and armed banditry. It is the type of thinking that has restrained us from demanding good governance from our leaders. Instead of challenging ourselves to get better, we throw up our arms in the air and expect God to fix for us what we are best suited to handle. Surely, our level of development is a reflection of our level of thinking.
The question to ask is why is it that while other countries are already considering obstacle-evading technology that makes it safe to drive even on a winding road, we are still struggling with trucking premium motor spirit on the highway, thus exposing our compatriots to extreme danger and destroying our not so good roads? If they can achieve such a feat, why can’t we?
Man is not designed to be at the mercy of his environment; rather he is wired to lord over his environment. But unfortunately in this clime we seem to think that the environment is the master and we are its slaves. Were that to be the case, Dubai would still have remained a desert to be deserted by all and sundry. By turning a desert to a global centre of attraction, the United Arab Emirate has shown that the environment should bow to man and not the other way round.
It has been said that doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result calls for a visit to the shrink. Our society will not change until we change our thinking. Believing that things will change when they will or when God wills is nothing but hallucination. The power to change our lives lies with us.
The Japanese have said that good thinking leads to good products but I think that is not just all there is to it, good thinking produces good life, not just good products. As a people think, so are they. The good life we have always longed to have will be our reality only when our thinking improves.
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