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Lamentations of an Egbere

Good lawd, how should we mourn our leaders?

Good lawd, how should we mourn our leaders?

That Abba Kyari has transited to a higher presidency from Nigeria’s is no news we should bug you with – Too-Know, is thy name. That many are throwing owambe over the death of a man they considered as Nigeria’s surrogate president is a matter we leave you to adjudicate on the propriety of same and sentence the convicts according to thy justice and loving-kindness. Whether he was the architect of someone’s ineptitude and shortcomings in governance is left for us to see now that he has been elevated to a superior presidency. Therefore, we won’t bother you with those issues today – or maybe never!

Good lawd, we have come before you with another set of our endless supplications. We cannot see you but we know you are out there, somewhere in the coolest part of our wondrous universe, listening to us. Sometimes we hear you speak, but most times you drive us crazy with your disturbing silence to the extent that our hallucinating minds tend to hear you speak things that defile logic and common sense. At other times, we get the answers we seek from the varied realities of the unsolicited woes of human life.

Today, we seek to know what we should do when our leaders – elected and appointed – kick the much dreaded bucket. The Holy Book, The Glorious Book and the divine inscriptions indelibly etched in the minds of our elders have unanimously called us to mourn the dead alongside their families and to give them befitting burials. But what if the said leader is a Nigerian (leader)? – A name more corrupt than corruption itself. How should we mourn them? While we seek your face over this dicey issue, permit us to share our own thoughts with you, dear gracious lawd.

When any of them die, we should be able to glam our flag with a touch of B-Red, Kenny Blaq (Wande Coal black will suffice too!), Chris Brown and Adekunle Gold. We won’t need Da Grin (because Naija green supersedes any other and that only the living can mourn the dead). Of course, the green-white-green cannot be fully hoisted. Which country hoists its flag high at the dead of its most faithful servants, a group whose only wrong is merely being corrupt (or should we say being Nigerian?)?

Being Nigerians, it is neither our place not to empathize with the bereaved nor our way to mock the dead, no matter how bad they may have led their lives. Trust us to shut down the social media and conventional media with eulogies, tributes, poems, articles, and songs in praise of our recently deceased national heroes.

For one to have lived a fantastic life of corruption and A-grade criminality in our high places and go undetected and unpunished in a country that prides itself as the bastion of the global anti-graft war is no mean feat. Such an individual is worthy of some deification or, in the least, a beatification. Surely, to evade Nigeria’s anti-corruption war is a stunt that can only be pulled by the divine and super-human. Just so you know, we wouldn’t be tolerant of a mere outspoken one-time Nobel Prize in Literature awardee accusing us of the crime of The Beatification of Area Boy (was that even what he intended by that title?).

We cannot mourn our leaders correctly if we don’t declare forty days and nights of mourning, spending the nights recounting the beautiful deeds of our leaders like a playlist on repeat.

The same leaders who refused to build for us good roads so the death-traps we ply daily can serve as a metaphor for the narrow, chaotic, bumpy, rough and Julius the Beggar abandoned kinda road that leads to eternal bliss. Thus, ensuring that we are not distracted in our heavenly race.

They concerted to reduce our schools to glorified playgrounds simply because they want to save us from the corpus of knowledge scattered out there, capable of defiling the body and soul.

Our epileptic supply of electricity is calculated to ensure that we do not lose sight of you, our lawd, as the only light of this dark world. For blessed are those who endure darkness in this world, halogen lamps await them in the parlour and oza rooms of their mansions in heaven.

Nigerians complain bitterly of the continuous looting of the national cake but little do they know that our leaders are storing it for us in Panama, Switzerland, Colombia et al; where monkeys, termites and snakes cannot steal, chew and swallow it. Besides, they are not unmindful of the fact that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eyes of a needle than for socio-economically stable Nigerians to enter heaven. God forbid that small, worthless Naira notes sentence us to another hell after leaving the hell of Naija.

Our economic deprivation has made Nigerians more scholarly to the extent of us redefining the notion of comfort. Instead of seeking white-collar jobs, we have joined the “-preneurs bandwagon” which does not include entrepreneurs but churchpreneurs, conflictpreneurs, yahoopreneurs, betpreneurs, and the novel megapreneurs (also known as the “One Million Boys”).        

Who needs a working health system when we are all destined for a better place where the dethronement of a barrel of crude by two congos of gari, and the reign of this world by COVID-19 (Covidocracy) would be confined to some few pages in a ragged history textbook? Achimugu and Bubu’s Kyari can shed more light on this truism.

Greats cannot depart quietly. Do the skies not blaze forth at the dead of princes? The funeral should be marked by a great festivity – a kind that has never been seen in the world. Egunguns must perform but not on the express – for we cannot afford death at a funeral. The afro music sensation from that country within a country – Fela’s Republic of Kalakuta (FRK) – must be called upon to perform Yeparipa on behalf of the inconsolable sea of mourners.

It is understandable when we take our time to mourn and praise our leaders on the joyous occasion of their respective sendoffs from this vile world. We inter them in a hole 6000 fts below by throwing the casket into the abyss in order to discourage them from reincarnating and ensure they truly Rest In Pit. Nigeria has seen enough of them and they have equally done enough for Nigeria that we would not want to see the wake of their clan again.

Good lawd, let us not bother you too much. Take the wheel from us. Teach us. How should we mourn our leaders?


To understand this column you must understand the following:

You must have read D. O. Fagunwa’s account of a confrontation between protagonist Akara-ogun and an egbere – a being of the forest of the spirit-beings – in Ogboju ode ninu igbo irunmale. I’m not asking too much of you, am I? In that classic (that I consider the greatest work of Yoruba fiction), the egbere in responding to a mockery of his moaning lambasted mankind for being the architect of the countless troubles bedevilling the earth. The egbere race having taken to heart the plight of humanity cannot help but to #occupytheforest with their loud moaning and dripping noses. Humans being humans continue to disregard them and subject them to unwarranted mockery and insults. That has not stopped the egbere race from lamenting the tragedy that is human life.

You must also understand the writer. He speaks of peace but his words project as chants of war. He tries not to hurt anyone but you know the truth dey hot somehow somehow. He tries to make you laugh away your being Nigerian but also invites you to put on your thinking cap, rethink and tinker with your thoughts and perspectives. He seeks to make sense, but the issues he writes about can be utterly senseless – as they should not obtain in a sane clime like Nigeria.  

In essence, this column is a continuation of the lamentations of the egbere over the tragedy of merely being a Nigerian and a call to think like Akara-ogun did.

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is a Jalingo-based rookie lawyer. His preoccupation is meeting the needs of his clients. When that gets boring, he unwinds by writing. He is not a writer but on the few occasions that he is, he attempts giving sinews to the bones of his thoughts.

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