What are you going to do about the topic? Yes, another building will collapse. What can you do? Insult me, ignore me and call me a pessimist or a doom prophet but you know where to sell that blind optimism laced in your immobile motivational speeches. Put it into the hands of God, your God, if you like, fast for three hundred and sixty five days if you like, go on a hundred back-to-back Shiloh if you like, cast out Baphomet and a thousand other demons in The Experience if you like, before this year is over, a building will collapse and you will still, in your wisdom, come short with the same rhetoric. That lazy thing you do or call prayers wouldn’t save you, the lazy motivational speeches your life in real life corrupts wouldn’t save you and tomorrow, if you are shocked to discover this writer died in one of those living corpses the people choose to call living room, it means you are incapable of learning anything.
You reap cassava when you sow corn only in the pitiable world of lunatics. You don’t grow chickens and expect a German Shepherd but you do. A man who lived close to an active volcano was surprised to find lava in his living room. That man is a Nigerian. A building collapsed in Lagos the hundredth time and the agencies are rehearsing again. In the first season, after the collapse, the owner was crucified on the e-world but in the world where it mattered his actions didn’t matter. What he did was simple but it worked to perfection. He lifted his Babanriga and showed them what we saw when Gandollar turned gutter water to wine. In the second season, a man caught for in-animating man was bountiful. As usual, the pretenders were all over him until in one familiar move, he shook the watery foundations of their bank accounts, just like the collapsed building shook the foundations of those poor Nigerians, and his sins were forgiven. Some jealous folks under some strange ‘humanist’ delusion asked the priests for penance and the necromancers opened up their cupboards.
In another season, it was T.B Joshua, God’s gift to Nigeria (according to fanatics, good people, the immigration service and staunch followers) behind the wheels. The deaths were international, the news was national and when the sold out souls at the helm of affairs tried to prosecute the All Seeing Eye, they were met with jobless Nigerians, brown envelops, white envelops and holy water. The state government, keeping with the custom, put on the emergency toga and federal authorities embarked on pilgrimages to console with the dead and more importantly, to appear loving, nationalistic, human and progressive. The case was taken to the court of law, the so-called last hope of the common man, and when the men trying to pull ‘the church’ down failed, the rented crowd rejoiced and drank to the success of God’s gift to Nigeria. The dude I met in a Bet9ja shop two years ago in Ikotun, Lagos, told me how mad he was as he made a late enrollment. In his words, his friend was becoming too fresh for his financial status. Upon inquiry he was told it was the power in the Forty Thousand Naira (N40,000) protesters’ package of God’s gift to Nigeria. He immediately enrolled.
The truth is, in Nigeria, the only reason you are still alive is because no one wants you dead. It is not because you live in a secured neighborhood, it is not because you worship a supernatural deity, it is not because you are too strong for your enemies, it is simply because no one is dissatisfied enough to ask for your head. Once you piss off the wrong people and get them real mad, your days are numbered. As long as you are a poor or rich Nigerian without any strong political influence, these rules work for you. After the collapse of the building used by a Nursery and Primary School in Lagos, there was another building collapse in Onitsha, Anambra State, and as though the South East and South West elevated the status of their rivalry to the region with the worst building, few days later, a building collapsed in Ibadan, Oyo State, to maintain the lead.
The Nigerian people have been neutralized by first, bad education and orientation, then systemic corruption, religion, ethnicity and other side attractions lead to low vibration frequencies, cowardice, etc. The destiny of over one hundred and fifty million (150000000) people is controlled by about twenty thousand people (20000) as if there is a spell hidden somewhere. Those in the position of power build up dilapidated structures that they, unlike the people, don’t use. They equip our hospitals with Paracetamol and in campaign seasons visit the homes of dead citizens who died of malaria. If they used the hospitals, for sure, Paracetamol and Vitamin C won’t cure everything but who will legislate the ban of health tourism by political office holders in Nigeria? They award contracts for road construction using quarter the cost to give us the standard of roads in Munich. They repeat it in the health sector, in the civil department and their stomach must be full before they consider the million flies lying around. If they have their ways they will do away with the wretched poor but they know these sort of poor people have their uses.
Unfortunately, those outside power strive to be like those in power. Who is the fool who will not steal his own share of the national cake when he gets there? GTFOH is the best encouragement you will get. You change the topic but the nasty taste your ‘holy-holy’ nonsense left in their guts still pisses them off and they try to switch back because the previous insults were not good enough. They speak of the Airport Fool who returned the bag of Dollars God blessed him with and then wonder how he will ever make it. Workers from the Ministry of Works go round communities looking for buildings outside the master plan and buildings without authorization to milk. Even buildings with authorization get the famous ‘Stop Work’ with their address attached for negotiations. If your building is blocking sewage channels there is nothing to be worried about if you have milk. If the materials for your structure are too weak and below standard, worry isn’t something you should be worried about if you can produce milk. If the area is dry, waterlogged or sand-filled, with milk anything is possible. You will simply dip your hands into your pocket but don’t stop yet. Dig it deeper until you can scratch the other surface. Everything you bring out will Start Work immediately.
How do you build structures that won’t collapse? How? That is not the right question as technical know-how is not the major problem. Some persons have blamed the building collapse on quack engineers and proper planning but is it really their fault alone? It is more of a ‘when’ problem. When will Nigerians at the helm of affairs start doing their jobs? When will the state governments take proactive steps to prevent the erection of weak buildings? There will always be among us selfish people and criminals trying to cheat others without considering the immediate and latter outcomes of their acts. There will always be people who want to reap where they didn’t sow and unfortunately, in Nigeria, there are people who planted tares but are harvesting large tubers of Yam. They exist. And it is for these people that laws were created. To avoid chaos and disorder a standard was reached; policies and laws were made to this effect.
For this purpose, the best of citizens, or people assumed to be the best of us, were given the job of hunting down the shady ones among us. They were to investigate those operating without recourse to the law, they were to see that those intending to erect structures did it without contradicting the policies that allowed for sound structures and they were to investigate both people and properties or better put, structural corpses, erected by heartless lunatics. But what happens when a man in charge of creating order creates disorder? What happens when the psychiatrist becomes a lunatic? Simply put, Nigeria. Nigeria is what happens. About twenty persons have been confirmed dead from the collapse of that primary school and futuristically speaking, more Nigerians will die this way. It could be me tomorrow with my skull juice acting as additive to poorly mixed concrete.
The Lagos State Government, as though to pacify us or appear to be working (even though it makes them appear incompetent) just told us the school was not even registered. How do you allow an unregistered institution, an institution that was never certified healthy, to mold the future of your country? As it happened in the time of T.B Joshua and others, so it will happen here. The only thing that will tilt this thing on the side of justice will be empty pockets and the absence of brown envelops. If the owner’s pocket is deep enough and he or she digs in, there is no way the silly battered thing called justice in Nigeria will prevail. And because our consciousness level is still very poor, or well molded, or about to be well molded, or even considering remolding, we can’t generate enough force or will to switch off the plug. Look around you. Poverty is around. Bad governance is the forte. Bad people are in power. Bad workers have the few good jobs. The system is broken. Broken people elect leaders. We have not built the capacity or preparing to build the capacity to prevent another building collapse. Let‘s be honest with ourselves guys. This thing will happen again. Prepare for bad news, folks!