It is only in living modestly and responsibly that we could avoid the dangers and hiccups that are generally associated with ember months.
In our clime, a myth has for long been woven around the so called ‘ember’ months, which refers to the last four months of the year from September to December, as naturally tragic periods.
This belief has become so entrenched in the consciousness of the people that various religious groups and other institutions regularly organize special prayer sessions with a view to warding-off perceived ‘dangers’ associated with the months. So, it not unusual to see faithfuls of the various religions engage in fervent spiritual warfare in a bid to dislodge blood sucking devils that are allegedly on the prowl during these months.
The reality, however, is that the so called ‘embers’ months are not really spiritually jinxed as many might want to swear they are. Tragedy occurs in ‘ember’ months just as it does in every other month of the year. Ascribing needless spiritual and mythical undertones to tragic happenings during the ‘ember’ months could just be the usual Nigerian way of trivializing issues.
Rather than clothing the ‘ember’ months in a garb of gratuitous mystery, the pragmatic way of explaining dreadful events during these months is more human than mythological.
The truth is that there is usually an increase in the tempo of public, private and corporate activities during this period. Religious bodies are equally not left out of the frenzy of the season as they organize various events during the period. The ‘ember’ months are always the busiest on our roads for obvious reasons and the tumultuous air of festivity do not really help matter.
It is a period when people are in so much haste to make all the money they have not made since the beginning of the year. Hence, commercial drivers, who usually embark on five trips per day, capitalize on the aura of festivity to go for ten trips. This, naturally, comes with its fatal consequences. It is only logical that when there is a mass exodus of people from one place to the other, there is bound to be a measure of uncertainty and disorder.
The bottom line, therefore, is that tragic occurrences are bound to happen during the ‘ember’ season because of the intensity of human activities. In a bid to be part of the various end-of-year activities slated for the period, a lot of people throw caution into the wind by disregarding critical safety issues. Vehicles are driven irresponsibly.
Alcoholic drinks are consumed with reckless abandon while social outings are organized as if tomorrow will not come. The atmosphere, during the season, is often filled with unusual allure and jollity. It is in the midst of this hilarity that avoidable human blunders that result into diverse kinds of misfortunes usually occur.
Hence, it is imperative for everyone to, first and foremost, have a changed perception of the ‘ember’ months. Hence, conscious efforts must be made to disrobe the months of every garb of unfounded mysticism. It is only when we are convinced that the dangers associated with the months are human rather than mythical that we could really make considerable progress in averting disasters during the months.
Therefore, enforcement of existing laws and attitudinal change is central to making any progress. Sadly, law enforcement agents are also involved in the mad ‘ember’ months’ ratrace. In a bid to make some ‘extra’ buck to furnish special festive ‘necessities’ , they usually engage in treacherous compromise that encourages law breakers to go un-punish. The result, of course, is the continuation of avoidable circle of pandemonium and sorrow.
Consequently, as we march towards the end of the year, we must modify our views on the ‘ember’ months. We must not get involved in any pointless extraordinary end of the year ‘rush’ that could endanger our lives and , indeed, those of others. Those who have to organize social events to correspond with this period should do so bearing all safety precautions in mind.
Commercial drivers and other road users must respect the sanctity of the human life by observing required road safety measures. Perhaps, more importantly, relevant government agencies must step up enlightenment campaigns as well as enforcement strategies to guarantee that ‘ember’ months’ crashes and other related tragedies are reduced to the barest minimum.
In this respect, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, should be commended for their various ‘ember’ month’s safety strategies, in Lagos and adjoining States. However, there is a need for them to intensify efforts in this direction while more appropriate government agencies should also come on board the ‘ember’ months’ reorientation and re-awareness project.
Presently, the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy is embarking on an ‘ember’ months’ responsiveness campaign across the State. The objective is to change the attitude of the people towards these months and offer key safety tips.
As it has been previously affirmed, it is critical to reaffirm that tragic happenings during ‘ember’ months are promoted by reckless human actions. It is only in living modestly and responsibly that we could avoid the dangers and hiccups that are generally associated with ember months. If only we could rid ourselves of our usual ‘ember months’ excesses, we would discover that nothing is actually wrong with the months.