|Pot-holes in Heaven|
“…this sort of lifestyle continued for some weeks until one Friday morning that I discovered while strolling that morning, that going to the vendor’s place was the best way to while-away time and also learn something new; especially at a time when the military had suddenly taken over the control of governance in the country; we were all caught unawares. Perhaps some of our politicians were not surprised that the military eventually took over the governance in the country, since they were the ones who lay bare the excuse at the feet of the military. The coup de etat was a very unique one. This time around, the military men paraded the corrupt politicians before summarily trying them according to their decrees and executing some, but jailed a lot. I suppose they kept some alive, for the latter days of civilian corruption to come. I saw old men and young men discussing the trails of political ills and some good deeds of the politicians in our country. Even some women weren’t left behind. Although it wasn’t the case that these women argued, but they merely pitched tents with the analysts; perhaps these encouraged those orators to continue the debate. I remember that, I had got so attached to this “vendor therapy” that I had simply memorized all the names of the analysts and exact spots each man stood to nurse his argument. The name Mr Steve cannot pass my mind without talking about his analysis. Mr Steve, short bald man, he should perhaps be in his late 50s; he claimed to have witnessed the beginning of our country’s independence right from early 40s. He claimed to have worked with the railway cooperation in the earliest part of his life, and finally ended up in the military. From there, he was part of those who went on a Universal world mission to Yugoslavia, only for him to return with one and half leg(s). Mr Steve could have been a good analyst, but he was always getting too personal and attacking the moral flaws of everyman he seemed to be arguing against. For instance you might hear him say;
“You! How dare you insult the secretary general of the United Nations? When your family had land disputes last year, why couldn’t you resolve it for them without the help of the community leader? If you’re so intelligent and blessed as you think, why are you still a mere factory worker all these years without promotion?”
He would pick up ten different newspapers and digest them wholly under two hours; from 6:30 am to maybe 8am…he would then walk down to Mama Judith’s “PARAGA JOINT”, take some local shots of strong “SAPELE Water”, and then return to the vendor’s spot for intellectual acidic argument. It was not until later in the year, that he also had the opportunity to work with a local government chief, since then I had not set my eyes on Mr Steve again. What a world of contradictions? At times I wondered, whether, economic poverty in a man’s life springs forth waters of wisdom and deep knowledge? But it further confused me that, whenever such wise men, though poor, now stumble on opportunities of wealth, they become intellectually poor and morally bankrupt. Then I concluded that this was due to poverty of the mind in Africa. Mr Steve never knew that his sudden decision to abandon us, his fans and his vendor pulpit would amount to a greater regret for him when his political tenure lapsed”…
(Culled from POT-HOLES IN HEAVEN)
Author, ENOCH OJOTISA.