On several occasions, I have had the cause to reflect over the current situation in our dear country. The economic condition seems to be biting harder by the day. Despite claims by relevant authorities to ameliorate the sufferings of the people, the high rate of unemployment, crime and criminality as well as inflation continues to be a source of nightmare for the people.
Nigerians sleep with their stomachs empty. The future appears not promising while the hope that something robust is in the offing seems remote. For these reasons, many people are unhappy, sad, frustrated and full of anger. These signs are seen and clearly manifested as impatience, restlessness and survival instinct that have now assumed frightening proportions. In our residences, everyone is getting rushed-up while doing one thing or the other. Family members struggle and fight over the TV stations to watch, food to eat, clothes to wear, where to sit inside the family vehicle. Everyone tries to outsmart one another even though there is no prize to be won for such meaningless struggle. The psyche of our country men and women has now become so fragile that doing things piecemeal, orderly and in a systematic manner appear to be impossible.
Few examples would suffice: when you decide to drive out of your house, as you try getting into the main road, no one is willing to stop for you. The trafficator means nothing to motorists. You wave to other drivers that you intend moving out, no one recognises you. You are frustrated. Why? People are just too impatient to wait whenever they are behind the wheel, even for few seconds, simply for others to move. Out of desperation, you try to come out by all means. At the end, you force yourself into the road and care less about the motorcycle rider that almost hit at you and the commotion that ensued by one’s recklessness and frustration. By that, one has joined the siege and the impatient fellows!
As you move forward, the potholes are found everywhere such that hardly can you drive up to a short distance without having to cope with the extremely bad portions of the road. Not just few potholes and failed portions, but complete jungle roads that have suffered several years of neglect. As one meanders on the dangerous roads, motorists and other road users are busy creating more confusion for themselves, as they continue to fight over the right of way. Pedestrians are even more daring by the day. They hardly use the footbridges any longer simply because they’ll want to cross-over to the other side in a jiffy. Zebra-crossing signs mean nothing to them. Who would have the time to climb the ladders? Not them. You, who meticulously drive, other motorcyles and vehicles dangerously overtake from you from all sides and directions other than the designated lanes. In the process, you that is carefully driving and toeing the right path is made to feel that you are the lawless person, while those that are flouting the road traffic rules appear to be doing what is right even though the opposite is the case. If there is anything that is grossly abused, it is the way people hoot and blow horns while driving. Commercial drivers over-speed so badly in order to cover as many routes within a short time at the risk of many people’s lives. The same restlessness pervades at filling stations, lube-bay, mechanic workshop and the car wash.
You get to the hospital; you are greeted with a loud noise such that one wonders whether medical workers are trained at all to appreciate the value of serenity, quietness and solemnity of medical centres. Not only do such officers play loud music, watch movies and paying very little attention to the conditions of the sick and those nursing one medical problem or another. When one sits for routine medical evaluation, the readings they record are hardly accurate because the medical personnel carrying out the tasks are too impatient to quickly take wrong readings, while attending to other matters that may not even be important at all. This accounts for why many people continue to administer wrong injections, prescribe or give wrong drugs as well as carry out wrong diagnosis and the aftermath of that; serious calamity.
Religious institutions are the same. Nowadays, sermons are delivered so fast that the congregation is often lost and hardly get the crux of the message. Why is this so? The minister is so much in a hurry that for him/her, receiving feedbacks from the audience is irrelevant. Members of the congregation are also so impatient and restless that no one is really listening to any sermon. Who then is deceiving who? Not a few are busy communicating with their smartphones and getting distracted such that one then wonders why would anyone need to waste his/her time coming to a worship centre in the first instance. People also run to take the holy communion. A junior officer wants to become the boss overnight while a poorly-prepared student wants to pass his/her papers even in flying colours.
Getting good food to eat is now a big problem in our land. Hardly do we get agricultural crops to full attain maturity before harvesting. They are hurriedly harvested and put up for sale. Same experience goes for animal products. At times, I wonder if the birds being used for chicken delicacies are really chickens. Nobody is ready to wait until when the animals are mature and suitable enough for consumption. Everything has to be done in a hurry; whether okay or not, meat is meat. Let’s kill, cook, sell and make money, fast. Cooking is something else, variety of food delicacies are badly cooked and eaten almost in their raw forms. Why? We are too restless to cook well, after all, food seasonings are all over to cover-up the flaws. We continue to eat bad food on a daily basis because they are hurriedly prepared for consumption.
Travelling by air should ordinarily be interesting. Nowadays, it has become a scary experience for many. When I am in the midst of my fellow citizens, who are always in a hurry to obey simple rules of switching-off their mobile appliances before and after landing, as safety measure, this simple directive, is never obeyed. Passengers are usually impatient to switched-on their appliances and communicating while on board, as if something serious would happen, if they are not allowed to use their phones at such short moments. And whenever there are flight delays, murmurings and serious complaints become the usual thing for passengers because they are ever impatient to sound reasoning and even obey instructions of the pilots that ample time should be given to manage the bad weather condition before flying. All manners of insults and abuses rent the air on the need for the flight to continue at all cost, despite warnings that the weather is bad. What is wrong flying under such circumstances? They would always ask.
I am even baffled by the way people behave at solemn outings such as burials that should draw out sense of humility and sober reflections in us at such critical moments. But what do we see? Royally-dressed fellows, who are lurking around for when the service would end and other socials and partying would commence. The more I try to ponder over these issues, the more I get confused. Why have we allowed environmental circumstances to totally control our lives? There is the need to really take things easy in this country. This could largely be responsible for why our life expectancy level is abysmally low. We are continually under the siege as a people. I am very sure of one thing. Nature has a way of moderating events. It has a way of slowing us down, whether we like it or not. This truism is difficult to accept. Why? Simply because we are damn too impatient to come to terms with this reality!
•Kupoluyi writes from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) via firstname.lastname@example.org.