By Abiodun Fijabi
You have just kissed your wife of five years bye bye as your little son and daughter struggle with their mom for your attention. “Please take care of yourself darling. Remember, I am still too young to be a widow o.”
You laugh at her stupidity, wondering in your mind what’s dangerous in peacefully protesting a perceived stolen election? You are now by your car. You take a prolonged glance at yourself in the car side mirror. You are smartly dressed in jeans and a free T-shirt, with a relaxing pair of shoes. Your phone is securely tucked in one of your tight pockets. You do not intend to carry a wallet. The few notes you struggled to collect after a 5-hour vigil at the ATM yesterday are safe in your back pocket. Seated behind your wheel, you adjust your mirrors and take another look at the fine boy you have become. Under you breath, you mutter, “life’s good!” You have a plan to park your car like three streets away from the scene of the protest. You have it all figured out. All should be well. Then, it dawns on you to call a mentor that has contributed immensely to your good life and career.
“How have you been, sir? I am behind the wheels ready to go for the protest march. I know you will approve.”
“May be not yet, my boy.” That is strange. He is a socially conscious man and a fighter for the causes he believes in. “You may wish to consider ticking a short Checklist before you set out.” You are all ears.
“No 1. Who are those leading the protest? Are the concerned politicians leading from the front? You remember, great leaders lead from the front? Okay, they are currently strategizing in a 5-star hotel somewhere far away? Then the protest can wait for them; can’t it? Why the hurry? How about their children? Did you say they are in Canada and the US? Great. How about postponing the protest until their children arrive? That shouldn’t take more than 24 hours?”
“No 2. While you are waiting for the politicians and their children to arrive, ask if the venue of the protest can be changed to near the politicians’ homes in their cities. The likelihood is that their homes are located in highbrow areas where the powerful live. So, you will be heard by the powers that be. Doesn’t that make sense? It is likely going to be a tiring protest from screaming, singing and walking. So, you need to drop by at the politicians’ homes for refreshments. Wouldn’t that be nice? You get celebrity treatment. I am envying you already.”
You are fed up with tbis old man. You engage your car, using the Bluetooth in your car to continue to humour your annoying mentor.
- “You say neither the politicians nor their children are leading? Why now? Venue is in the city centre where some of the cherished government buildings and attractions are located? Why now? Are you aware the miscreants hang out around these areas just to feed their eyes and to pose as poster children of our sad economic inequality? Are you thinking like I am thinking? I mean the possibility of the protest being hijacked by the miscreants? And about the destruction of your city’s heritage? Remember the ENDSARS? Don’t forget the politicians’ mansions and cities may be several miles away from where you are.”
You have just parked your car 15-minute walk away from the scene of the protest. The older man has gone beyond annoying to being a nuisance.
“Okay, you are so drunk with passion not to see road? So, you are at the scene without having ticked the checklist? What’s that? Are you asking me if that’s the sound of a gunshot? No, it’s coming from a Christmas ‘banga’; you idiot! You are asking me if it can kill? No, you will only cease to exist. Are you dragging your feet already? You say what? The miscreants have taken over? You wonder how destructive they are? There goes your city’s heritage, you say? Should I say I told you so? Are you walking back to your car already? I thought… You say you want to stay alive to fight another day? Aren’t you a coward? January 6, 2021 insurrection in the US: What about it? Oh oh, so you remember none of those who urged them to march on the Capitol is dead or behind bars? You say even in the US the 2020 elections are still being disputed more than two years after? Smart kid! Hello! Hello!! Hello!!! Are you still there?”
Your phone has just dropped in the middle of a stampede. You figure it will be like looking for a pin in a sack of hay. So, you walk away from it as if the iPhone 14 Max were a toy. As you push and shove through a sea of sweaty human bodies towards your car, you remember the last words of your wife. You shudder.