By Sodiq Lawal
Fellow Brethren, I was at Mayfair on Sunday 23rd July, 2017 at exactly 11:58am having my breakfast before i received a call from Alhaji Isiaka Olatunbosun, the chairman of NURTW in Ile Ife that an accident has happened at Ibadan Road, Ile Ife in front of Energy Filling station which several people were burnt to death.
Being a journalist, I left my food and board a motorcycle to the place. On getting there, I saw that a bus was burning with 12 passengers inside crying and wailing. As the fire keeps burning, Alhaji Isiaka phoned the police for help which they came ten minutes after the call, while some of the area boys of Sabo and Iremo stormed the bus using axes and waters trying to save the lives of the passengers before the arrival of the Police.
After about 15 minutes, the area boys and the police were able to quench the fire but unfortunately 9 passengers got burnt to death including the drivers. Out of the three that sustained several broken legs and hands, one of them died before getting to OAUTHC while the deceased people were taken to morgue of Seventh Day Hospital.
The saddest part of the incident was that despite the calls of the sympathisers to the FRSC, they came an hour after the incident.
Though the fatal motor accident, which occurred around 11:58am, involved a 18-seater commercial bus accident, had head-on collision with a diesel tanker while trying to overtake from the lanes which as a result of this , led to the explosion of the bus.
The fatal collision immediately sparked off an inferno immediately and the passengers were trapped and burnt beyond recognition.
Out of annoyance, the area boys were accusing the tanker driver, who had fled as at that time, they were saying he was the architect of the incident.
Out of anger, they wasted all the diesel of the tanker and proceeded to burn the tanker, but with the team effort of the elders and Alhaji Isiaka who pleaded more than an hour so that the boys should not burn the tanker. As at this time, several sympathiser have fled for their lives. But with the help of the elders and the police, they accepted not to burn the tanker.
To me, I don’t actually know how to describe this kind of ‘monumental mess.’ I doubt if there is any serious youth today outside the corridor of privileges who will do such. The sad reality cut across lines. It is depressing. It is true. Nigerian youths are not smiling.
It is no news in Ile Ife that the brutal fact that our army of youths are groaning and moaning. They are stubbornly lamenting like the biblical Jeremiah with no end in sight..’ The reason is not farfetched. They are simply unemployed and unproductive to themselves let alone their community.
I have lamented so much about anything and everything around us and it seems there is no hope in time. The problem I want to share today is interestingly unique. It is not the common tale I usually present. This subject matter affects all at different stages of progression and developments. I have reasoned at supersonic speed and I concluded that I should register my mental dissatisfactions to know if there is similar perception out there. Actually, I want this piece to serve as a springboard with the aim of developing a workable rolling plan for our disillusioned youths.
Nigeria is our dear beloved country. It is sometimes called a land of possibilities by some thinkers. This is a country where our governments at various tiers are managing nothing but they are eating everything including our future. Nothing thrives here except the business of corruption and connection. Politics is the surest road to instant success.
An average Nigerian does not believe anything could happen based on cause and effect formular. Lucifer must be blamed for all the errors of commission and omission. We attributed wrong influence to unseen power which is not the case. Truth is, those forced exist but we have our separate paths to follow. This is why when great countries of the world got independence, they all went to work while Nigeria went to pray and fast. Instead for us to invest in infrastructure, research and human capital developments, we continue spending blind on churches, mosques and BBnaija. At a time the world is celebrating the Obama magic, Nigerians are chanting Sai Baba. What a deluded people!
Our country got independence from the colonial masters in the year of our lord 1960. The joy in the land knew no bounds and the world congratulated us endlessly. This freedom travels with so much aspirations and expectations. No one could guess that the feat marks the beginning of another Israelite journey. As it is today, our life does not better than under the colonialist. There is no clear direction in our national life. Everything looks like a bad dream, a nightmare in reality. It is a common adage that if you want to know the real identity of someone, just gives him power. Our leaders have failed the test of trust and power. They have betrayed their soul and abused their destiny.
The only success story they were able to tell is corruption. The dividend of democracy they could hand over to the masses is poverty and hopelessness. Not too ago, someone wrote that “if you weren’t in Minna yesterday for Ibraheem Badamosi Babangida’s daughter’s wedding, you are just a tenant in Nigeria. The landlords gathered to wine and dine. Private jets were flown into the city as the Abuja Minna road wasn’t motorable.” Shame!
There is no way you will not have your story to tell if you come from the less privileged class. The reason is simple; negotiations and appointments are made based on class and status. Many have told sordid tales about our unacceptable life. It appears the trend is fast becoming natural without the slightest form of paradigm shift. Our parent suffered, we are suffering and our children will soon join us. Do we ever take time to ponder over this generational failure? Who will pay the price for others to walk free? How can we turn this dangerous slide around?
As a young growing Nigeran youth, the greatest challenge I have faced in my life is hopelessness. I have been dazed and dazzled many times to take hard decisions. There is restrictions and frustrations everywhere. Everywhere you turn to, they will tell you you are not fit. This is the horrible reality we are grabbling with. I have refused to see despair out of faith not by conviction. As youths, we don’t know where we are going, we only know where we are. Everyone is carrying his/her dreams around without any definite means of accomplishing them. The level of uncertainty within the youths could be cut with a blade. It is the reason some guys are proposing ‘mass burial’ for all our leaders.
If you want to get real about our youths, don’t look at their borrowed jeans and shirts. Ask them what do they really want? And you will understand this topic better. Go to our campuses in the country, conduct a research among only the final year students and ask them few questions like; “what do you want to pursue after graduation?” “Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?” You will get as many incoherent and funny responses as possible. We shouldn’t write them off. The system that produces them is just a scam. They deserve our understanding and sympathy. This is what I called the dilemma of Nigerian youths.
One certain thing I know is that, if a referendum should be conducted in Nigeria today and our youths are offered to reside in Nigeria or live abroad? I don’t think anybody will settle down to toil in Nigeria! This is the highpoint of their aversion and revulsion for their fatherland. It is the reason we have lost and donated our super talents to foreign lands. Many are still running today in all crazy manners to taste honeycake abroad.
They would rather prefer to take menial jobs abroad than a blue cheap appointment at home. This is acute frustration and dilemma. And this situation is not an exception. It is the rule. The story of Anthony Joshua from Ogun state; the current heavyweight champion in the world, Jelani Aliyu from Sokoto state; the designer of the famous car; Chevrolet Volt, and numerous others are people’s delight any day.
Something needs to give. Life shouldn’t be as harsh as it in our dear country. We need serious interventions to get out of this doldrums. It is time to wrestle power from the aged and the past. It is time we decide for ourselves what we want. Nobody does it better and faster than the youths!