MR PRESIDENT, SO WHAT IF NIGERIA IS A VERY RELIGIOUS SOCIETY, THE CURSE ON THE NIGERIAN ROADS REMAIN UNBEARABLE
Sir, during your life interview with CNN Anchor Christian Amanpour in April of this year in Washington D.C. you proclaimed that Nigeria is a "very, very religious society". But of what use is a religious atmosphere when the care of life and the disposal of dead bodies are handled with a Godless attitude?
Sir, no one should query the office of the presidency as it is reportedly getting ready to buy three airplanes. Why, because the Nigerian roads are not routes in the civil, mechanical or actual sense. They are simply impassable and deadly.
The Nigerian Police Force in its style of traffic management remains crude at best, but how can one put all the blame on the police as its officers are products of an almost ruined society, in the institutional sense especially.
Who will like to maintain traffic rules in roads that lack updated or posted speed limits, adequate lighting, emergency telephones, rest spots, control of armed bandits and continue to lack functioning rules in regards to curtailing abandoned vehicles?
For now there are crude like check-points set up by the police, mainly in busy highways and at times these check points have become temporal centers of unmanageable traffic jams, points for bribery negotiation and in some cases sites of deadly accidents.
In the face of these turbulences it is not uncommon to find victims of fatal accidents rotting away along the highway and in nearby bushes.
Mr. President, take the case of one 39-year old Egbosele Eronmosele of Uromi , Edo State. Just this past Wednesday, he left Uromi in his car on his way to the nation’s capital, Abuja.
Throughout Wednesday and Thursday attempts by his family to reach him on his mobile phone failed. He is a newlywed man and naturally his wife and family were concerned and heavily worried.
The family being disturbed by his unusual silence and by him not picking up his phone, some family members had no choice but to look for him. They then proceeded to do this manually by aimlessly travelling by car, as there are no functioning police emergency services for distressed callers. These family members on leaving Uromi, took the normal route which included Auchi, only to reach the town of Okene in Koji State, one of the leading towns to Abuja.
Sir, with bits and pieces of information around the surroundings, 39-year old Egbosele Eronmosele was found in the bush—all burnt up and dead. His burnt body reportedly lay helpless facing the steering wheel in the burnt car. The family like every reasonable and concerned family proceeded to the local police station, Division 2 to inquire about the fatal accident.
They were reportedly informed by the attending station officers that the victim was involved in an accident with a trailer. As they requested to see the actual traffic incident report they were informed that there were no available reports of the accident. Also, there was no information provided on the trailer because the investigating officers were not currently on duty and could not be reached.
As to why the report which is supposed to be filed, kept and maintained in the police station, was not present the family were told, the report is with the investigators.
Mr. President, here is the most distressing part of the story. As to why the lifeless body of the victim was left rotting away from Wednesday up to Friday when the burnt car was found in the bush, the police reportedly stated that the body was left unattended due to religious reasons. What does that mean, the family asked the station officer? The apparent police response was gravely disturbing.
They were informed that Mr. Eronmosele died in a "very, very religious" area of Nigeria, a Muslim area. As such no casket could be procured, purchased, or publicly sold or allowed in the area. And neither was the body taking to any hospital mortuary as there is no fully functioning one in the area. Sir, all these occurrences generally resulted due to religion and as a consequence of the backward mentality that still exist in the policing of the Nigerian people.
The family then gathered the pieces of Mr. Eronmosele, and returned to Uromi to bury his remains this past Saturday. Sir, this reality!
Mr. President, fifty years later Nigeria the so called giant of Africa appears to be moving opposite to progress with a few Nigerians sharing in your sentiments that there is optimism for Nigerians.
No reasonable mind believes that the nation is finished but the evidence is openly clear that without sweeping improvement in the highways, traffic system, electric power, police system and in leadership; religion alone will not save the country from its quick entry into a state of an all-out collapse.
Mr. President, as you set out to declare a yes or no answer to the 2011 presidency on or about September 10th, 2010; hopefully you will remind the nation of the story of Egbosele Eromonsele as it relates to the need for a commons sense governance of the nation, despite the so called sacred state of the country.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, DABPS, FACFE is a practicing Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs-Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida. [email protected]