“Feed the pet!” They chorused to themselves. “Feed the pet!”
The monster ate to repletion while they caressed its skin and nicknamed it cute pet names.
“This is no pet,” one of them, a writer, croaked from the distance. “It’s a monster!”
“Over-sabi!” They lampooned him. “You always act like you know too much. Why don’t you just live in the moment and have some fun.”
“Fun?” He asked, confused. “Did you guys just say fun? What exactly is fun here?”
He gesticulated around the dining table where the whole family sat to share their lunch. The dining table was massive, shaped like a lady’s panties and all 150 million of them squeezed into every nook and cranny of it.
“What is fun here?” He continued to vent. “Show me one thing that looks like fun!”
His venting made some inquiring eyes study the scenery. Apart from those who sat at the head of the table, the others had empty plates, bags under their eyes, dry skins shriveling over their bones and rags as clothes!
“Why don’t we share the food amongst our hungry?” The writer continued. “Why feed a monster that shall surely kill us all the day we stop feeding it?”
At that very moment, some at the table began grumbling. Most of the hungry challenged the writer.
“You always see evil.”
“Things are getting better; yet you fail to see it!”
“Would you do any better if you were at the head of the table?”
“E go better!”
The writer was stunned. What exactly did I do wrong? He pondered. Amazed and abashed, he remained mute and returned to his seat, watching everyone support the idea of feeding the monster. The monster grew speedily and fiercely that his hunger could no longer be contained by the slow feeding of human hands. Hence, it started looking around the table for food of its own!
All of a sudden, it stretched out one of its octopus-hands and grabbed a few of the dinners that sat at the northern part of the table.
“Stop the monster!” The writer screamed.
“Ssshhhh!” Someone hushed him. “How does it concern you? Are you one of those the pet is eating? Try and grapple for some grains of food and enjoy your life!”
The writer was stunned. How callous have we become as a people? He thought. How can we call a monster a pet and pay no attention to the death of our siblings! However, his eyes continued to watch the monster from a distance. Then, in a flash, the monster stretched out it’s rattle snake-tail to some of the diners that sat on the west. They died instantly and the monster proceeded to eat them.
“Let’s kill the monster!” The writer yelled. “At this rate, it shall kill us all one day!”
“Sssshhhh!” Another hushed him. “You talk too much! And you always see only evil! You have to learn to prophesy positive things!”
“Are you guys blind?” He lamented. “Am I the only one seeing that our brothers are dying? What if it was someone from this side of the table?”
“They are dying because they don’t have a covenant with God,” a religious sibling offered. “We have a covenant with God; such things can’t befall us.”
This is ridiculous! The writer thought. “Must it happen on our side of the table before we choose to see?”
“Yes!” was a blatant response to his rhetorical question. “Now shut up and face your hustle for food! If you have all the money, you will enjoy yourself at this table and not bother about that harmless pet you call a monster!”
The writer turned mute. Though his lips had been overcome, his eyes weren’t. He watched the monster from his seat, fretted over the petting it received, the freedom it had and the danger it presented!
Then, suddenly, the monster rose and stomped the dining table several times to smithereens. At its rising, it revealed it was seven times the height of a giraffe and it had nine heads. Its arms numbered thirty-three and they curled in every direction like that of an octopus. It had the dreadful face of a lion, the wings of griffin, the muscles of a python and the tail of a rattle snake.
When, it rose, it picked four young boys and swallowed them before all. The sight was merciless, alarming and gory! Everyone screamed, fretted and ran amok in all directions.
“This cannot happen before us!” They all yelled. “Let’s do something!”
However, the monster was faster than all of them and it picked them at random for his breakfast, lunch or dinner; while the people at the dining table scampered, praying God for mercy.
***Dedicated to the memory of the four young men murdered in the University of Port Harcourt.***
Today, we all scream that such was wrong; but truth is, we created this system through our nonchalance!
When we taught our children that it is okay to have robbers on the streets of our country murdered with tyres round their necks without trials in law courts, what were we expecting?
When we taught our children that it is okay to pay no mind to the death of innocent Nigerians in certain parts of the country because they are Christians or perhaps, Moslems, (in other words, that “those people” deserve the jungle justice); we were stripping our children of their humaneness.
What were we thinking?
Despite the gruesome revelation by Femi Fani-Kayode as written by the Columnist Kunle Fagbenle in Sunday Punch of July 22, 2012 that Christian youths are now killing, roasting and eating Moslems in the Jos crises (a thing which BBC reported since August, 2011), we taught our children that it is okay to pay a blind eye to it and insist that such people are NOT ‘true’ Christians because ‘true’ Christians will never do such; what were we thinking? I asked someone “how come you don’t accept it when Moslems say that the perpetrators of Boko Haram are not ‘true’ Moslems because Islam teaches peace?” and his response was “that is different! ‘Our’ religion is different from ‘theirs’!”
What are we thinking?
When Sosoliso crashed in Port Harcourt in Dec, 2005 and a majority of the casualties were children, we made noise and suddenly abandoned it; only to have Dana crash in Lagos on Jun 3, 2012… Let me ask you, are we still making noise? I hear that the ban on Dana air has been lifted. Are we making noise with regards the reports of the black box? Are we asking if new planes have been bought? What are we thinking?
When it was reported that over 80% of teachers in Sokoto CANNOT READ; did we make noise in Lagos or in Port Harcourt? No. We probably said, “how does that concern us”?
When subsidy was removed on kerosene, the rich said “how does it concern me?”
When subsidy was removed on diesel, the poor said “how does it concern me?”
When that monster grew into the removal of subsidy on petrol, we all chose to react; but by then, it was (and still is) too late. After all, we may think we won the battle, but did we win the war? How much did you buy petrol last?
We have created the monster of corruption, tribalism, bribery, religious intolerance, nepotism, ignorance, cultism, prostitution, militancy, terrorism and lots more; that I fear, the future of Nigeria is so dark, that the darkest of nights without electricity, which we may have now, shall be to that time, the sun at its full strength!
If I may ask, what are we still thinking?
I recall, just a few years back, Nigerians argued that a boy who tried to blow up a plane in the United States could not be a Nigerian because, “Nigerians can never be terrorists”… Look at it today!
There’s a monster amongst us…but sadly, daily, through our nonchalance, we continue to feed it! When it rises in seek of its next meal, you could be its next prey!
What are you thinking right now?