Just before you continue this charade of apportioning blames ; you need to remember your role in the whole saga. Oh yes! You didn’t get here by accident. Infact, you engineered every move, calculated your gains, and smiled home thinking karma or, maybe, posterity was asleep. Does karma even sleep? You know better by now.
The day the famous politician showed up in an oversized agbada, large enough to draw the attention of passive passers-by, you pretended you were on top of the game. When he brought bags of rice, salt, and noodles, you diverted more than half of it to your household. The people’s mistake was a minor one; they appointed you their spokesman. The night the goods were shipped to your house, you veiled your conscience behind the shadow of darkness to deceive folks around. As though that wasn’t enough, you refused to pay the young men, who offloaded the goods, their due. Their sweat dripped on the floor of your garage. It is still there. You may wish to check or try swabbing it dry. That is if posterity will permit it.
When the government decided to fix the dilapidated furniture in the community school. It was you who connived with the contractor to ensure substandard materials were used. The ‘gains’, you shared. Your soup became red with runny palm oil, your pride grew wings, and your voice became loud. Your haughtiness became egregious and obnoxious. Lips that confronted you got steaming slaps that sent them behind bars. The lucky few got naira notes shoved down their throats; they became your tale bearers in no time. The wailings of your poor neighbours over your sudden wealth and the growling of their hungry stomachs fell on deaf ears. Sharing the loot with your neighbours would have been a smart move to salvage your shameless and ego infested face. Don’t you think so? But no, you were the master of your own games. Well, fair enough… you had enough till you were crammed to stupor.
When things got bad for the community; the potholes became deep enough to swallow the sorrows of the entire community. Insecurity also hauled and hung around the community like a watch night bat on evil mission, the type that can only be sponsored by the evil witches of the gangland. You mobilised the community, you hauled insults at the government that period. Your veins became conspicuous while your sweat endeared you to the poor masses who fixed their gazes at you, their enlightened brother. It was easy for you to win them over with those snow-like blistering tears. They believed you. Oh yes! Each of them did. Their gullible hearts couldn’t discern your being. You led them in a protest. You made it look real. They thought you did it for them, but it was all for your gain. At the end of the day, you were summoned at the white house, some naira notes found their way into your conscience and so you began to spit chilled water of peace in the burning furnace of anguish. You became the silencer of silent wailers. You did it so well, with a perfection befitting a peace maker.
The day that foreign NGO showed up to collate the names of poor widows, orphans, and the indigent in the community. You were contacted and selected based on ostensible trust. You heard their concerns; you understood their vision, you also knew the plight of the indigent in the community. In between the vision of the NGO and the plight of the poor, you saw an opportunity to obtain a silver spoon for your sons unborn. You announced to the hearing of the community that the NGO demanded registration fee. You collected ‘registration fee’ for your ill and demented soul bent on going to hell. The poor of the poorest paid, the poor of the poor also paid you. You made the broth, you made the porridge, and in all fairness, you enjoyed it while it lasted. You cajoled the susceptible at heart, you emotionally blackmailed them to vote your paymasters and handlers. It was a win-win for you as it saw you dining on crested tables and feasting on human flesh and blood with the devils.
Four years rolled by and the table flipped. The once forgotten hunger pangs familiar to many touched you and your wailing became deafening. You have granted interviews to all media outfits calling government uncouth. The big old potholes now stir and irritate your intestines. All of a sudden, you know the next move of the government; you know how they think and how they manhandle public funds. You know so much of their shady deals than an ordinary eye could see in broad day light. All of a sudden, you have become a preacher of war and liquid acid.
Just to alert you, your wails now exacerbate the pains of the sore souls of the ignored in the society. Did your knowledge of how the corrupt corrupts the incorruptible come up as a surprise? No. Never! No way! It takes a thief to know one, right?
You are all a bunch of devils in agbada. Your agbada was cut from the same cloth. So, cut us some slack and stop the wailing. It is irritating!
Peace Habila, a resident of Jos, Plateau state is passionate about creative writing. She wrote in via email@example.com