By now you’ve probably been informed about the tablet explosion that took place close to Otedola Jubilee Estate on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Over 20 cars burnt, Lord knows how many people burnt to death. The gory images from the scene are so saddening.
I’m not coming here to dwell on the tragedy and sadness of it all, I’m feeling a whole different kind of emotion. Anger. I’m so angry. Both the incident itself and the responses to the incident have made me livid. So many responses were sprinkled with the “let us pray” lines. There was even a #PrayForNigeria image that was circulated. I’m not here to undermine the place of prayer, definitely not. However what I do not understand is how a lot of us think that we can pray and neglect to take needful action.
The incident of yesterday has revealed a lot. No, not that Nigeria needs more prayers, but she needs more people who will do what it takes to improve the current state of affairs.
There are so many unanswered questions. For example, in this year 2018, after all the previous tanker explosions (yes, this is not the first time that it’s happening), in spite of all the laws that have been made, why are fuel-containing tankers still allowed to drive major roads at that time of day? Why?
According to eye witness reports the brake of the tanker failed. This is evidently showing that the vehicle was not routinely serviced, maybe it was even second-hand. From what I understand have been told, brakes of automobiles don’t just suddenly fail without giving warning signs. These machines are built with safety in mind, so they do not just break down completely in one second. They show signs that something bad could happen. This means that someone, a group of people even, knew that there was a fault in this tanker and yet allowed it, maybe even bribed others to allow it, to undertake more journeys .Let that sink it for a while.
Lives have been lost, but many more have been injured. I don’t know which category to feel sadder for.The number of deaths from the accident have not been confirmed, but my best guess is that they may increase. You want to know why I think so? These injured people have been rushed to another not-so-competent system: the health sector. The sad truth is that some of the survivors may not make it due to the inadequacy of their health care. Are there adequate resources (drugs, dressings, spaces for hospital admission, health care personnel et cetera) to properly manage these victims?
A lot of the incidents that occur in this country do not happen because the enemies are against us. Sometimes we are the ones who sabotage our own progress. This culture of corruption and mediocrity has eaten deep into the fabric of this nation. Nigerians will prefer to bribe someone to permit them to do something instead of actually getting the required credentials to allow them do it. It’s sad that even those in power prefer to accept bribes than to do the right thing. Years ago my friend was telling me about the time her dad wanted to obtain a driver’s license for her sister. They went to the licensing office and the person at the desk told them an exorbitant price for the certification process, and then lowered his voice to tell them that they could opt to just ‘pay him something’ and get the license on the spot without any test. Sound familiar?
So let’s imagine this, a man who wants to be a commercial vehicle driver comes to get his license, bribes the man and gets his license without any checks. That’s one untrained driver plying the roads. That’s one man that can make the wrong decision one day which will cause others to lose their lives in an accident. Many more lives are at risk all because two people decided to be of the corrupt. Everyone gets upset and prayerful when the accident happens, but still goes back to their various places of work and continue to be mediocre and corrupt. This is the reality of the Nigerian system.
Beyond prayers, please let us take positive and progressive action. Please. The cycle of “mourn, forget and mourn again when the the next tragedy comes” should not continue. Lessons should be learned. Positive actions should be taken. If there is one thing I learnt from this whole thing, it is that everything you do matters. Everything. This same Bible that we quote says that “whatever you find to do, do it as unto the Lord”. Would the Lord be happy with you shunting queues, fabricating documents, giving or accepting bribes? Would the Lord be happy with the things you do when no one is watching?
Let’s not even look at this from the ‘what God wants’ angle. You. Yes, you, reading through this. Don’t you want this country to be better? Don’t you want your loved ones to not be unfortunate because of the numerous flaws in the system? Ever heard the phrase, “little drops of water makes the mighty ocean”? If we all decide to act with integrity in our spheres of influence no matter how small they may seem, do you even know how much of an impact that would make?
Are you not tired of this failing system? The other countries that are in better conditions, do they have two heads? Is it not the same brains that they they have that we also possess? These countries are great not only because they had/have a great leader, but because most of the citizens daily make decisions with the good of the community in mind. They understand that they need to act right because negative consequences will affect them in one way or another. Good countries are ultimately made up of good people, people that take responsibility for making their lives better and not just blame it all on the government.
My heart goes out to the loved ones of those who have lost their lives. These are parents, siblings, friends and colleagues who have had their lives tragically cut short. May the bereaved experience the consolation and strength that only God gives.
Please let us take out time to evaluate our individual actions. Some of us are going to occupy positions of influence in the future. If you’re mediocre now you will be mediocre then, your character will not magically change. If you’re not careful, you may even end up like or even worse than those we are currently critising. Yes, this government may have failed in many areas, but would you actually be different if you were in charge? Would you desist from emptying Nigeria’s coffers into your personal pocket and focus on enforcing policies that will improve the quality of lives? Would you be hungry to only selfishly serve yourself or would you work with an understanding that governance is a call to serve the nation?
Let us slowly but surely break away from this stronghold of corruption that is holding this nation back. All your actions matter.