October 14, 2008

You Need to Read THis

September 25, 2008 was a very remarkable day for me not because it was the last Thursday in the month of September, far from it. I clocked 22years that day, and after pressures from my roommates and other Ydi members I organized a party. That was not the only thing I did that day, I found time to visit my friends at the Obafemi Awolowo University Zoo, actually I prefer you call it a forest because there are many more trees than animals in it. Save for the lion and the crocodile, there was nothing exciting about the experience. Another thing that day was to indulge myself, I forgot about my budget for the month, walked into a boutique and parted with three shirts and footwear. One of the tops is my Arsenal Jersey; the buy was quite strange considering that I’m a Liverpool fan. But I have always had great respect for Arsenal Football Club, and in any case I just liked the jersey. But why would I choose to bore you with wardrobe news like I had just bought a Cadillac, if not that a stranger tore my jersey this morning. I was just returning from my visit to Ydi Uniben Chapter very early on Sunday October 12, 2008. At about 9am I could say good morning Ore and the inhabitants thereof. For a long time I had always heard people talk about how bad the road in Ore is, but finally time had given me the opportunity to see for myself the result of greed, corruption, insensitivity to the masses and darkness prevalent in a continent that’s referred to as the dark continent. Thanks to Asa, as I savored music from her album via my Mp4. Finally somehow after about two hours of maneuvering through the death trap set by our government, popularly called ‘road’ from Benin to Ore, I boarded another Bus en route Ile-Ife. As I sat in the bus in a red top with the inscription Fly Emirates eagerly awaiting other passengers, I suddenly noticed a trader who was selling bibles, a closer look at his goods made me realize that the Bibles were actually the big size version Gideon Bibles- Gideon Bibles are distributed free around the world in a bid to spread the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. “How much is a copy of your Bible?” the man who obviously thought that finally he had gotten a buyer, quickly responded.

The criminal was selling what some persons like himself not in attitude but in biological make-up printed to be distributed for free, at a price of N800.Very quickly I opened the first page of the bible and my curiosity was satisfied, as it was boldly written "THIS BIBLE IS NOT FOR SALE". For the benefit of a doubt, I confirmed that the culprit could read English, and asked him to read same- This Bible is not Sale. It was at that point I assumed the office of an activist, why would one person be selling what was supposed to be free for all? It’s the same reason why the road from Benin to Ore, Lagos-Ibadan Express Way and many other inaccessible roads in Nigeria are not tarred. One criminal Governor, Senator, Local Government Chairman would suddenly decide to use for his family what had been provided for a whole nation. I was angered because it only takes 1000 people like my bible seller to understand why Nigeria is suffering in the midst of plenty.

Already I had seized 1copy of the bible as I continued to explain to him why he deserved to be jailed. By now the bus was already full and the other passengers were begging me to return the bible to the man. I was certain that he would continue in his business if the bible was returned to him, sincerely my desire was to seize the other bibles and also arrest him. In a bid to convince him about the consequence of his actions, I read Malachi 3:8 to him, which shows how God cursed a whole nation because of their greed; eating what God has said belongs to him.

I thought I had finished my responsibility as a responsible citizen and lover of this great nation, as the man walked away from the bus. But I was wrong, because just as our bus stopped by at the nearby gas station, he also came back this time around determined to get back his lost sheep.”You would see what I would do to you if you don’t give me back my bible; in fact you must come down from this bus. As he began to throw threats I sat calmly in the bus watching events unfold, his next strike wasn’t vocal. He pulled my shirt threatening to get me naked. The result was that my cherished Arsenal Jersey got turn. But again let’s give him some kudos for his last words before the bus zoomed off. He said, “What’s your problem, are you the only educated person here.” Only if time allowed him get the response, obviously for a young man like me still in the pursuit of a first degree, I couldn’t have been the only educated person in the bus. But alas, that drives home the point again, Nigeria is where it is today because of the large number of educated illiterates and spiritual giants who are socially dumb.

We might not have the opportunity to talk sense to woman at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, who is blind to the needs of many Nigerians who live below the poverty line, but very sensitive to the need to raise unsolicited funds for Barack Obama. But we must preach this message of change where we find ourselves in everyday life. Though I did not succeed in arresting Mr. Bible Seller, but I succeeded in creating awareness at the park, that he was selling goods that had been paid for. The psychology of man would stop him from selling those bibles, for the fear of another activist. Though my jersey is now torn, it reminds me of how every day we tear this country apart either because we want for ourselves what is meant for everyone, or because we refuse to take a bold stand for the truth. Regardless of where you stand it’s time for you to make a change to see this country change. God Bless Nigeria, another way of saying May God punish her enemies. Lest I forget, as I alighted at the front of Obafemi Awolowo University, I gave the free bible to the conductor

Gbenga Fatogun
October 12, 2008.