All of a sudden, I heard tires squealing, and as I looked up, right in front of me, this vehicle knocked down a man on a motorcycle, swerved into my lane to avoid climbing over the man lying on the road, and then sped off. The screeching tires was the driver’s attempt to avoid the motorcycle, who it would appear, suddenly came from nowhere. The screeching was also indicative of the speed with which the driver was approaching a major turnoff on the road where motorcycle and ‘Keke’ riders were likely to stop. The time was about 6:45 pm. We all stopped to see what had happened to the rider. Thankfully, he was still alive but in the shock of the event, he barely could say anything.
This was two evenings ago, on my way back from work.
Since then, I have asked myself a number of questions:
- What are we gradually becoming or what have we become as Nigerians?
- Are we growing mindlessly callous without realizing it?
I watch the way people drive and it is apparent that all they ever think of, are themselves. Most of our traffic jams are self-inflicted. Self-inflicted because with a little patience and orderliness, we would spend much less time on the roads. Nobody wants to wait! Nobody wants to take turns! Everyone just wants to have their way at the same time and that only breeds chaos.
I am told that incidents like the one described above are pretty common place these days. This was my second observed incident in about a year. The first one, the driver actually sped off but was chased down by folks who observed what happened. Unfortunately, the young man who was knocked down, died on the spot.
To even think that the driver would stop and see to the casualty and even render whatever help, instead, s/he zoomed off at high speed! What a shame!
In this case, it was too dark to observe things like vehicle make or number plates. Even if someone had those details, would it have made a difference in identifying the culprit?
There is too much selfishness in our societal interactions. It is more painful to even see our children being exposed to such rotten behavior. Right now we are showing them that it is okay to drive against traffic, avoid queues, run red lights (a driver told called me a ‘mumu’ once for waiting at a red light), and behave in such disorderly manner. Our ‘elected’ (and I use the word loosely) officials run us off the road with their armed escorts and sirens, because they are considered too big to follow basic societal laws that govern human interaction. Even folks on their way to church on Sunday morning, run red lights and go and lift up ‘holy’ hands!
Where we are going with all these, I do not understand. It would appear that we have gone past feeling and shame does not matter. Most of the people I see doing these things are people who appear educated or rich enough to know better. These days, I see it does not follow.
While you may point your fingers at our leaders as Nigeria’s problem, remember that they came from the streets, like you and me. It is followers who one day become leaders and if this is the kind of followers we have right now, then we should really really be concerned.
God help us!