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Lamentations of an Egbere

The road’s prayer: A Nigerian road’s supplicative commentary on the Paternoster

The road’s prayer: A Nigerian road’s supplicative commentary on the Paternoster

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

You deserve all the glory, honour and adoration. You made the earth and all that there is. You made the poor man and the insanely corrupt rich politician who impoverishes and sends him to early grave with an emaciated body that is a delight to undertakers.

You made my counterpart in heaven with the finest gold and left me at the mercy of Nigerian politicians. Ah, Nigerian politicians! Not even Beninese politicians or Somali tribal warlords? Since you’re unquestionable, respect to thy holy name! Tuale!

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

Like St. Paul, Maranatha, a cry for your return doubles as my daily mantra and supplication. I was foolish to trust in the leadership of Nigerian politicians – People’s Destruction Party (PDP), Anti People Congress (APC) or even the sexy sounding Fresh Yo! Party – to upgrade me despite their many promises to the citizenry. I have long realised my sin and repent of it and place my trust solely on you.

To mark my repentance, I have rechristened myself “Godswill”. I earnestly crave your will takes place in my life. I don’t want to take the golden form of the road in heaven. I don’t deserve it. I don’t want to be guilty of the capital sin, avarice – despite the fact that I am Nigerian and corruption is said to be my second-nature. Neither do I want to be close to the decent roads of Benin and Togo. That will be asking too much. I just want to be able to come close to the alluring roads of Douala and Garoua. Nonetheless, may your will be done in my life.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Without the regular patch-patch, I am condemned to take a nondescript form. I am bound to lose the companionship of Nigerian vehicles, especially the expensive ones acquired with ill-gotten wealth by Nigerian politicians who would rather disturb our ears with the rock music of their ‘helos’ than manage the roads they have failed, refused, neglected or omitted to list for repairs.

Please, impress it upon FERMA and its state counterparts to continue giving me the agege bread of their patch-patch. Half bread, they say, is better than none.

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

I need your forgiveness for the many potholes that I have allowed to demark me. I seek thy forgiveness for the many lives cut short plying me. I am mute and powerless to either begrudge or deal with the men that carved me into the dreaded monster that I am. Therefore, I am left with no option than to forgive them their trespasses. But it doesn’t mean I won’t burst forth in joy when they perish plying me – “For when the wicked perish, the city rejoices!” Who am I not to rejoice? 

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil.

Like humans, I have conscience too. I am not bereft of sentiments and emotions. I am sometimes tempted to annihilate Nigerians for the manner they have been treating me.

When accidents occur, the poor masses blame and curse me. They regard me as a demon and an agent of their village witches who needs to be exorcised by the most precious blood of Jesus Christ. What an abuse of a precious substance!

It therefore comes as no surprise that when accidents occur for no fault of mine, they also invoke the fire of the Holy Ghost to descend and consume me as on the day of the contest on the mountain between the Prophet of Fire and those miserable Indaboskians of Bahose. 

Every year, billions of money that the can break the jaw of a counter are allocated for my manicure and pedicure in the budget. Those monies are always too blind to locate me. The only place they know is the coffers of the same old corrupt politicians. The little that manages to locate me is usually shared with contractors who are always keen on having the lion’s share. Hence, my dreadful state!

The most annoying part of my ordeal in the hands of Nigerians is that they use my name to campaign and win elections. As soon as they are elected, they forget me and their promises to me and the gullible masses. In another four years, they will return to make the same false promises and still gain elective posts.

Poor commuters too are not helping in the way they misuse and abuse me over and over again as if I am a whore who relishes BDSM. Some prosper by robbing poor people who are travelling on me, raping and kidnapping some. Who takes the blame for those atrocious acts? Your guess is as good as mine. There is nothing that local Nigerian Road has not seen.

You would agree that it is only road-y of me to harbour and nurse contempt for Nigerians and be tempted into annihilating them every now and then.  But I’m guided by the fact that only “Our Father who art in heaven” has monopoly over vengeance. Thus, it is unbecoming of any being – animate or inanimate – to wander into that sacred jurisdiction.

While I pray for deliverance from temptation, I also seek thy protection from the evil machinations of Nigeria, her politicians and road users. I anticipate your coming on the day of doom. A day you will give to all Nigerians the measure of what they have given me. A day you will ask Nigerians their most important existential question: The wealth I have given you, how did you utilise it? I shall be there to witness Pa Lie and his offspring stutter to stupor. That day ehn, tables will shake and break.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen!

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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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