– The Sun News
TIRED OF THIS COUNTRY

Am tired of this country, jo, I’m checking out

Chika Abanobi

So, you think this is 1984 when you people succeeded in convincing “Andrew,” played by the Nigerian actor, Enebeli Elebuwa (now late), who wanted to check out of this ‘gaddem’ (God damned?) country, to stay and salvage it together with you and he obeyed and stayed back?

This is 2018, not 1984, mind you! So? I am not staying. I am going. I am checking out, man! I am not staying here to salvage anything together with you. By the way, what are we salvaging together? Rising cases of armed robbery? Kidnapping? Ritual murder? Bribery and corruption? Collapsing public infrastructures? Boko Haram insurgency? Falling standard of education? Rampaging killer herdsmen? You tell me!

For your information, I am not Andrew whose surname, Elebuwa, incidentally translates roughly as “Let’s stay and continue to watch which way the world is headed or going.” But eventually he died. I mean, he never really got the chance to salvage it together with anybody.

I am not Andrew. So? I am not staying here to watch the world with you, unless you are prepared to convince me that Nigeria is now a motion picture, a living cinema! I am not staying here to watch the world or to allow the world watch me suffer either. I am checking out to whatever you call it – London Hospital, White House, ECOWAS conference, etc, it does not bother me one bit.

All that I know is that I am checking out my own way. Flying saucer o! Unidentified Flying Objects (Objection?) o! Runaway patriot o (patriotism?)! Just leave me alone. I too I am out to solve your wahala by trying to bring in investors (investitures?). That’s why I am checking out. Today or tomorrow! As a matter of fact, I have since rebranded and been re-branded. I am no more searching for change. I have already found it. I am now searching for its capital. Isi ego! Does anybody know where I can find that? If you know, please, tell me.

I come here to admit before you that I am tired of this country. In Andrew’s time, it was a case of no good roads, no water, no electricity! Now, you need to add to that mix a whole lot of other social inequities going on around here. If armed robbers did not finish you through AK-47, our boys at the checkpoints are definitely going to check you out through accidental (?) discharge. If for any reason, their AK-47 rifles failed to discharge, then herdsmen’s own are not going to miss you. If they do, not so their tanker and trailer drivers counterparts! If they don’t explode their heavily-laden oily product on you, then they are going to run you and your family over with their un-secured ‘containers’.

I say I am checking out. Na which one be your own? If you want to stay, stay. Ah, ah, who is holding you? I say I came to praise Caesar, not to bury him. Now, the evil that men do are interred with our bones, not theirs. Are you see what I am saw? (apologies to Chika Okpala, alias Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo).

Let’s stay here and salvage it together! You and who? Me? I ask again: what are we salvaging together? Armed robbery! These days I hear they go in groups of 20 or 30. And, when they get to your home, they ask you to bring out all that you have with you. That is to say, they also engage in “Operation Empty Your Pocket” (apologies to Pentecostal churches). If you don’t have anything, they take you to ATM point and wait for you to punch in your password or pin numbers and bring out all that you have there or else they ask you the pin numbers and help you to download the stuffs you left there.

I hear that sometimes they even go into the bathroom, have a cool bath, warm your soup, prepare eba, eat to regain strength, have a change of raiment before waiting for the police to arrive for the usual greeting of exchange of gunfire. And, if they delay, they may even go looking for them. And, then it is at such a time you would see those ones doing their own change of clothing, to become “bloody civilians” by force.

Let’s stay here and salvage it together. Salvage what? Terrorism? These days try and go near any herdsman and see whether you would live to tell the tale. 200 innocent lives for one head of cow stolen by cattle rustlers! Yet you are not one of them! These days, we have been all cowed, haven’t we?

I say I am checking out. I don’t want to be killed by either cow handlers or rustlers! Lekwenu fa. Ndi ochonganoko (troublemakers!) I say, look them, look them (apologies to late Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe). I am checking out. I don’t want to be sent to my untimely grave by either crazy tanker or trailer drivers or their armed robber counterparts who care more for the little money you have than the big brain you have to help salvage the country from its sordid situation.

I am checking out. And, if you care, you can check me out in one of our dilapidated hospitals. I am sick of this country. I too need a cure. I am on the hospital bed, right now, waiting to recover from the trauma, shock from happenings around here. I am checking out. Looking for who to convince to stay and salvage it together? Please, check next door. Andrew’s perhaps!

I say I am checking out. Now that corruption has started to fight back (apologies to our men at the ahem (?) of our affairs), who knows, very soon it may start fighting those of us who have been going about on empty stomachs, trying to get a voter’s card in order to vote in those going around with over-bloated stomachs. I am checking out. If you don’t know where to check, you can check me at one of the check-in counters. But, please, be sure you are not there to counter my move, like you did Andrew’s.

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Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

Writer and editor.

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