“The People of the City are yet to know the value of being alone. They have not found the value of being in silence, alone. They have not realized that being alone in quietude, does not mean being lonely. This is why even in communicating with their creator, they feel it is better to be in a group, singing and shouting and dancing and praying aloud. It is not for them, the saying, “God is a spirit and they that worship Him, must worship Him, in spirit and in truth”! No, they must shout and make a lot of noise for all to hear that they are worshiping God, forgetting about the allusion to the ways of the Pharisees. When once you learn to be alone without being lonely, then you will realize why people in the ancient days go into the wilderness to make contact with their creator. Divine inspirations are realized, not when you are noisy, but when you are alone with yourself.”
It was the inner self of Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts, speaking to him as he sat quietly in the Parliamentary Hall of the People of the Waterfronts, waiting for the appointed time. He had as usual, gone to the sea last night, to have his share of the fishes. As usual, he went with a bottle of the local white brew and as instructed, has spilled a little at every promontory for his ancestor, Odumodu, he who dwells at the domain between the Land and the Sea. Another important thing the People of the City have not yet realized is that whatever you profess to belief in, you must hold on and abide by its tenets. That is the only way to get the maximum benefit from it. Whenever your consciousness expands and you grow above your belief, a higher window will be opened by the unseen hands and you will automatically change your belief without any compulsion from outside. Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts, carries out all his obligations as it regards his belief in his ancestors and so he enjoys the benefit of revelations from them. The People of the Waterfronts are unlike the People of the City who would hold their Holy books swearing to an oath that they would carry out their duties according to the constitution, but confidently veer off from their oath and go against the constitution. When the consequences knock at their door, they blame the devil.
At the seventh promontory, after Injibabo had poured a little of the local white brew to his ancestors, he had some revelations. It was as if a voice was speaking to him, telling him why the People of the City despite having the intention to make the nation a better place to live in, have not been able to achieve that.
“Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts,” the inner voice went on, “we have decided to reveal some hidden truths to you because you have done your own part of the bargain. When an adherent holds on to his faith and fulfilled all obligations, his faith lifts him up and he sees and hears further than others who think they have a superior belief but unfortunately fails to hold on to the tenets of their belief. It is not the profound nature of your belief that saves or uplifts you, but how you carry out the obligations of the belief. It is an open secret that in Nigeria people are given contracts, appointments and promotions because of the contacts they have with the powers that be, or the connections their parents or relations have with the authority. Denying this fact is a stupid way of denying the truth.
“Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s son, Mahmud Tukur, is one of the 20 persons standing trial for alleged looting of the Petroleum support fund. He is the Managing Director of Eternal Oil and Gas, one of the companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scam. I believe you remember that Bamanga Tukur is the chairman of the ruling party the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. This is the party that has ruled the nation since the present dispensation of democracy that began in 1999. Till today, we are crying that the nation is sinking fast and needs urgent surgical operations. Now, instead of him to bury his head in shame and resign even if his son has not been pronounced guilty, he tries to remove himself from it as if his son’s success in his business does not affect him. He who shares in some one’s success must also share in his failure. If his son has won a national award, he would have shared in his glory, so why should he not suffer the pains that his son has been indicted for fuel subsidy scam? Will he honestly swear that he knew nothing about it? Like the devil quoting the scriptures to suit him, he is saying the father shall not be put to death for his children and the children for their father; everyman shall be put to death for his own sins.” Good! But what about the other chapter that says because of the sins of their fathers, generations of descendants are to suffer? Or is that not why the scriptures say because Adam sinned, and Adam was our father, we have all sinned? It is necessary for all to believe in their religion, warts and all, for the nation to grow!
“Now, the most annoying part is the stand of the PDP, the ruling party. Instead of them to tell their chairman the real import of the arraignment of his son whose alleged culpability must have been influenced by his standing in the party, they are trying to defend him. They took a position they would not have taken if they are not the ones involved. According to the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, who was defending the involvement of the sons of two of the party’s bigwigs undergoing trial for their alleged involvement in the fuel subsidy scam, Mahmud, son of the present PDP chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Mamman Nasir, son of a former national chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, ‘Mamman Nasir and Mahmud are individuals and should be allowed to bear their cross.’ Can you imagine! It never occurred to them that in this dire-need situation to get the nation off its moral abyss, a determination to hold even the fathers responsible for their sons when they are among the ruling class could go a long way to salvage the nation. I wonder why the Nigerian police arrest parents, brothers and even children for a crime committed by one of them, where the culprit runs away!”
The thoughts of Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts was abruptly interrupted by the Oldman of the Waterfronts. The Oldman of the Waterfronts, like a programmed robot, has got up at the appointed time to begin deliberations, automatically silencing all thoughts and conversations. He stretched his left hand and picked up the bottle of the local white brew. His right hand went for the little glass cup and he filled it, ready for the libation.
“Odumodu,” he began, “Great ancestor of the People of the Waterfronts, he who dwells at the domain between the Land and the Sea. The People of the City searched for you in the sea and on the land, not knowing that you dwell in between the two. You refused to reveal yourself to them so as not to be contaminated by their corruptive presence. Take, drink and hearken to us your untainted descendants, the People of the Waterfronts. The eyes of an elder never stray far away from his little ones. It does not matter what offence they have committed, his love for them supersedes all and he still directs their footstep. Take, drink and lead as away from the snares of the People of the City.
“Otumo-Ogugu, favourite of the Maidens, he who goes in and out of the Maidens, take and drink. The evil influence of the People of the City would encompass your descendants, if you our ancestors refused to play your protective roles. It is you, our ancestors, that said the cane meant for the goat sometimes strays to the humans. Guide us from such painful incidents and let the People of the City bear their burden alone. Let them bear the consequences of their actions with their descendants.
“Osokolo, another Favourite of the Maidens, he who pursues the Maidens out of the Waterfronts, reminding them of their duties at home, take and drink. It is only the concerted efforts of you our ancestors that would save us the backlash of the notorious activities of the People of the City. Ours is to keep our part of the bargain by giving you your favourite, the local white brew. Take and do your part.”
At the end of the libation, the Oldman of the Waterfronts refilled the little glass cup and emptied all into his mouth. He then allowed the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup to go round the hall.
“People of the Waterfronts, I greet you all. There is fire on the mountain!” It was Arukulo, the man who says he is always at the front of the canoe, that got up to speak immediately the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup returned to the table.
“Major General Usman Abdulkadir, Chief of Army Standards and Evaluation has declared that the war on the Islamic sect, Boko Haram and similar groups, is over stretching military resources. He spoke at a Ramadan lecture of the Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria, MMPN, Abuja, where he also disclosed that an estimated seven million assorted illicit weapons are in circulation in Nigeria, about 70% of such weapons in the West African sub-region alone or seven percent of the total of 100 millions in sub-Sahara Africa.
“People of the Waterfronts, the General went on to say that the access to small arms and light weapons, ‘makes criminals and militants to be bolder when facing security agents, making it more difficult to combat them.’ If a General of the Army could state this openly, then there is really trouble in the land. Grandpa, please let me wet my throat. These are the type of news that automatically dries up your throat.”
The Oldman of the Waterfronts filled the little glass cup, poured it inside his own throat, before allowing the bottle of the local brew and the little glass cup to go round. ###
By Kenneth Amabipi
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