By Ebele Orakpo
DRIVER, I would alight at PWD Bus Stop,â€ said Yinka to the driver of this Lagos commercial bus but the driver told her he wouldnâ€™t stop there because of officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) and Area Boys.
â€œWhat is all this? So one cannot stop at his bus stop anymore? He must be made to go beyond his bus stop and then walk back or stop before his bus stop and walk the rest of the way. Doesnâ€™t the government care at all?â€ asked Joe, another commuter.
â€œ There is a bus stop there but these drivers donâ€™t like stopping there because Area Boys and the Police extort money from them and LASTMA disturbs them most times,â€ replied Muda.
â€œAnyway, we are the government,â€ stated Joe unwittingly setting the tone for the debate which followed his declaration.
â€œYou are the government indeed! Who told you that? Look, less than 10percent of our population sit down and decide what happens to the rest of us. So donâ€™t deceive yourself,â€ Muda chided Joe.
â€œThat is correct. A cabal is holding this nation by the jugular and donâ€™t think itâ€™s a northern cabal, it is made up of both northerners and southerners. The north cannot work successfully without the south,â€ said Yinka.
â€œThe truth is that we have the kind of government that fits us perfectly. We are a wicked nation so God has given us the kind of leaders we deserve. After all, they are from among us. There is no love amongst us, yet we are the most religious, the most prayerful, building more places of worship everyday and yet, wickedness is on the increase. Meanwhile, the average American or European doesnâ€™t go to church or mosque, yet he loves his fellow human beings,â€ maintained Joe.
â€œAnd that is Christianity! Love is the greatest commandment. They chose the best and most important. God is Love, so says the Bible and if you love your fellow human beings as yourself, you will not do them harm in any way,â€ said Ike. Continuing, he said: â€œHavenâ€™t you noticed that churches in the western world are humanitarian organisations? They use their wealth to help the less privileged but not so in Nigeria.
It is a different kettle of fish in this part of the world. Here, schools owned by religious organisations are the most expensive and only the rich can afford them. The most annoying thing is that these same people were beneficiaries of mission schools established by white missionaries to better the lives of our people but today, the poor cannot attend schools established by these same people.â€
â€œBut they have to fund the schools, employ the best hands and pay them well,â€ noted Yinka.
â€œGreed. Didnâ€™t the missionaries fund those schools, employed the best hands and paid salaries? Yet, they accommodated the poor and gave them good education. Many of the big names you hear today benefitted from such schools. If the white man could do that for us, why canâ€™t we do the same for our people today?â€ asked Muda.
Suzanne, another commuter who had been quiet all along spoke up: â€œYou know, itâ€™s very sad when someone says they have all this love in their heart for God but are filled with anger, bitterness and hatred for people. Shouldnâ€™t there be room in their hearts for love towards both God and men?
The Bible says if you say you love God and yet hate your brother, you donâ€™t know God at all because God is love.â€ â€œThat is true my sister,â€ agreed Yinka. â€œGod hears and answers prayers but we seem to be getting it all wrong,â€ and turning to Joe, she said: â€œBack to what we were saying, Nigerians are wicked. My brother, you may think you are different, but let them place you in position of little power today and you will change completely.â€
â€œNo way,â€ protested Joe.Â â€œItâ€™s easy for you to say that now. Look at Mrs. Remi Oyo, before she was drafted by Obasanjo to serve that government, as a journalist, she was always condemning the Obasanjo government but once she was offered a job by the same government, her song changed. Obasanjo became the best thing to have happened to Nigeria. So you will change. You are a Nigerian,â€ concluded Yinka.