We will all die eventually, no doubt about that. But some of us intend to die when God says its time and for me, it will be time when I am 92years old, with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren surrounding my bedside. Death is inevitable, of course it is, but I refuse to die a Nigerian death. I refuse to die a statistical figure in the pages of a rarely read newspaper. I refuse to die a senseless death, fodder for back and forth name-calling between political opponents hoping to score insignificant points. I will not die a Nigerian death.
There are many ways to go as a Nigerian, none of which is the way I have envisaged my eventual passing. You could die in a bomb blast! If you live in the southern part of Nigeria, this may not be your end (I presently live in the southern part)! If you live in the northern part, then you should be worried. When the bomb goes off and takes your precious life, social media will light up, not in your specific remembrance but in remembrance of a collective figure like 30 and it might read something like this “30 people lost in another blast, God console their families”, then of course there will be all black pictures or a picture of a burning candle to show your collective faces (no individual will get special recognition). 2 to 3 days after, or a week at the very most, you will be totally forgotten and the rest of the country waiting to die either in a Nigerian way or in a normal way will move on.
You could die in a road accident, this is really a very common type of death, with our roads. Many die on our roads, those ones don’t even get any media mention. At the end of every year or at its beginning FRSC will mention your precious life as statistics, “1000 lives lost in road mishaps in 2014” and that’s that for you.
You could be kidnapped, if you live in the southern part of Nigeria you are at high risk of being kidnapped and you might be killed whether you pay the ransom or not. The media will light up for you, security agencies will struggle to get media mentions acting like they are doing something to get you back, if you are just a little bit popular you might get out, if you aren’t popular you will most likely die and we will not hear about it. Your family will not announce the cause of your death too publicly either (they have to guard against presenting themselves as a target for future attacks.) Now, if you are kidnapped in the north, you have just a little bit of hope, Oby and Josephine won’t rest, they will try their best to get you back but mark my words, you will still be a statistical figure “234 chibok girls still missing after 200 days”. Then the political giants will engage each other over you “Missing girls: APC accuses PDP of negligence”. “Chibok girls: They only want us out of government – PDP Chieftain”. Will you be found? I am not too confident but at least some noise will be made.
You could die looking for a job, I understand your frustration, you have to feed yourself, you have to clothe yourself, you have to exist and exist well! If you have a degree chances are that you will be searching for gainful employment as hard as I am. Then the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) would invite you for an exam or more likely the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would (2015 is around the corner, hands are needed). You and about 1 million other people will turn up at a 1000 capacity hall and (a.) fight to squeeze in. (b.) fight for question papers (c.) fight to submit. (d.) fight to squeeze out. In the midst of all the fight, you could be among the numbers who slump and die! You will definitely make the news, your friends would say they warned you not to go. The INEC chairman would blame you for animalistic behaviour and still hold his office very arrogantly, your people could receive compensation and of course let’s not forget the media headings “20 die in INEC examination stampede!”. A week or so later, you will be forgotten, another statistical Nigerian death.
It could be sickness and I am not talking Ebola, serious affairs like Ebola which can creep into all levels of society will be fought to a standstill! The government would do all in its power to stop it. The world would help too #worldhealthorganization, they have our interests at heart. Viruses like Ebola will be contained abeg, before it wipes the entire nation or worse still wipes big people in government. Business will continue as usual after we contain the virus and heroes of the virus war will be forgotten after the government mutters platitudes. Now back to the sickness that can really kill you, it could be malaria, just simple malaria that we get periodically. You would be down with a fever, you wouldn’t have a private hospital access card or funds to pay consultancy. The Doctors would be on strike protesting something and the government would fire the resident doctors so no public hospital for you. You would probably go to a pharmacy (not any big one o), a local one where a barely educated chemist will put a few multi-coloured drugs in white paper for you. The fever could get worse and you would die. There is a slim chance that you will make the news, it will read “Thousands still die of malaria in Africa, WE NEED NETS!” Heaven forbid you get diagnosed with a major illness, you know those kinds that require surgery or advanced treatment outside the country, then would be the time to put your house in order, you would surely die, not because our doctors don’t know what to do but because they don’t have the equipment or because there are long queues waiting in lines at one or two private and public hospitals to benefit from that particular machinery.
There are many ways to die a Nigerian death, I can’t list them all but I do not intend to go in any of those ways. I will die very old with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren scattered everywhere in the world. By then I would have been published, I would have practised my communication for development too, I would have commented on several issues bothering the country and hopefully, seen giant strides in the country’s progress. By then, I would have insisted that hunger in the nation be alleviated, that poverty be combated. By then I would have loved passionately and lived very fully. By then I would be very fulfilled. I will die a biblical death, the kind where you bless your children lying down and then close your eyes to rest. I will get media mentions, full paged obituaries by friends and family. Well written eulogies from colleagues and the government of that day. A long list of survivors on every media announcement and an even longer list of gratitude from my family after the funeral rites.
Too many Nigerian ways to die, we who won’t die in any of those ways salute you!