Posted by News Express | 18 March 2023 | 591 times
It was about an hour past midnight and I had just entered the next phase of sleep when I heard the sound. It was the unmistakable hum of a mosquito. Somehow, and not for the first time, a lone mosquito had invaded the privacy of my room. I ignored it, more in hope than expectation, that it would somehow go away. It did not. Instead, it got bolder. It perched, ever so lightly on my exposed arm. I shook it off and turned over to continue my sleep. Then I heard it again. This time humming and dancing inside the canal of my ear, daring me to slap it. This was now crunch time; a moment of decision. The choice was to get up, spray an insecticide and move to another room. That would inconvenience me and I didn’t want that. Besides, the act could keep me awake for another couple of hours and I wanted my beauty sleep badly, especially during those small hours of the night when sleep is most desirable. But by making that choice, I had resigned myself to letting it suck my blood and flaunting it however it wanted, hoping of course, that it would not infuse malaria parasites into my system.
Why do mosquitoes invade your privacy, suck your life blood, infest you with a killer disease and still want to flaunt it? After all, it is not the only blood sucking pest around the house. A rat would wait until one is in a deep sleep before attacking. Even then, it does so with utmost stealth, blowing soothing, sleep deepening air around your toe as it gnaws at it. Not so the mosquito. It has to be in your face, or more implicitly, inside your ear lobe humming and dancing impudently to its own music.
For years, the Western world has been like the rat, gnawing at our toes while blowing soothing air. These ‘do gooders’ have over the years, taken our mineral resources and our human resources. In short, they have taken the best of the land. In return, they give us aids and grants that are almost always tied to issues that are in their interest. They transfer obsolete technology at cost and encourage the kind of free trading which is skewed in their favour. They come around at every election period to preach democracy and good governance. They might even, in the goodness of their hearts, give you money to fund some of the electoral processes. In reality, they mostly want to ensure that only compliant leaders who will keep looking up to the West emerge. Leaders who will not rock the boat.
Our own leaders, on the other hand, are like mosquitoes. They suck your blood with policies that impoverish after which they infest the system with religion and tribe. The recent Naira swap is another example of in-your- face actions. They know they are fighting a class war among themselves and they are impudent enough to suggest it is for the national good. They have grounded the economy, increased hunger and division, yet they go on air saying it is a fight against electoral corruption which should soon be over. Unfortunately, they couldn’t adjourn hunger and hospital bills until after the election. And are we going to be redesigning the currency every four years to stop incumbents from amassing money? Still on elections. Recently, one Ango Abdullai, a conservative if ever there was one, was heard saying the north had sacrificed enough for Nigeria and was done with sacrifices. Democracy is a game of numbers and must be so practiced, he said. In other words, no more zoning; no more inclusiveness. The north can have the presidency for as long as it has the numbers. Now, to ensure the constant growth of electoral numbers, a peasant is encouraged to have four wives and thirty children. It does not matter that he does not have the means to feed them let alone educate them. It does not matter that the resources of the north are dwindling due to natural and man-made disasters. It does not matter that the years of misrule have done very little for the country and the north itself. It does not matter that the product of these numbers are forced into lives of crime in order to survive. The priviledged lives of the elites of the north which the likes of this man encapsulate, must be preserved and bequeathed to their children. In fact, the more illiterate, the more impoverished the ‘northern masses’ are, the more malleable they are in the hands of their manipulative leaders. Meanwhile the south, from where the wealth of the nation flows, must be satisfied with its lot as minorities in this game of numbers. What he is asking for so blatantly, and to the applause of his audience, is that there should a permanent ruling class that is ideally from the North, and a permanent supplier of food and water, again ideally from the South. Thank God, the class with this notion is shrinking fast if the result of the last Presidential election is anything to go by. But we must still be wary. Although this man used the North to push his concept, it is actually the story of the rent-seeking elite against the rest of us. There are southern elites too who enjoy using religion and playing the victim to perpetuate themselves in positions of power.
We have a choice in responding to this mosquito-like, blood sucking mentality. We can make the appropriate noises, like a slap on the arm or neck as against a humming mosquito, and turn the side to continue a disturbed sleep. Or we can get up, wipe the sleep off and look for a strong insecticide to deal with all flying and roaming pests in the room. I really don’t know which is better; the Western World which gnaws at one toe after the other until it incapacitates the victim or the home grown ones who will keep sucking until the victim runs out of blood. Either way, it is time for the victim to rouse from slumber. It is sad how many of us turn our backs in search of an elusive sleep to an impending danger hoping, somehow, that it would fly past.
•Muyiwa Adetiba is a veteran journalist and publisher. He can be reached via email@example.com
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