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’Ember Months, not Uhuru Season to Die

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The Great Jesuit Sage, Antony de Mello, on casualty observed thus, “Everyone was surprised by the Master’s updated metaphor: ‘Life is like a motor car.’ They waited in silence, knowing that an explanation would not be long in coming. ‘Oh yes,’ he said at length. ‘A motor car can be used to travel to the heights.’ Another silence. ‘But most people lie in front of it, allow it to run over them; then blame it for the accident.”

This wise teaching is most needed at every ’Mber season, when every Dick and Harry wants to make all they could not make since the third-quarter of the year. Human life and its dignity are set aside, at times third in preference after wealth and ‘making it.’ Most of the ‘making it hustles’ are at all cost, by every possible means and at any attainable manner.

Truly, the last quarter of the year seems significant by the peculiar atmosphere that notch-marks the season. First, by the autumnal equinox that begins on September 22 or 23, when there are equal length of days and nights and secondly, by the beginning of rainfall at northern hemisphere, which here in Nigeria marks the end period of fall season, which culminates in Harmattan.

In the ancient Roman calendar the ’Ember months mark the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th months, thus the Latin origins of their names- Septem (7), Octo (8), Nona (9) and Decem (10). All these names were human fabrics with their diverse festivities attached by different human societies. These months, and their human-attached feasts and inclinations thereunto, are not worthy the wanton and nasty recklessness that has been made characteristic of the season, turning it to an Uhuru season to die or kill others.

Feasts are manmade. Days and calendar are sheer human reckonings. ’Ember months bear no natural or supernatural quality, danger, luck or ill-luck other than what we humans attach to them. The Creator of mankind did not make calendar nor named any collection of days for us. It is startling how man, who in fabricating calendar, has fabricated his own-undoing unto self-annihilation by the inclination to excessive materialism, especially during his self-made ’Ember months.

In most clans, human communities, socio-cultural settings and religious fiestas in Nigeria today, the ’Ember months mark many things. In the Igbo ethic nationality, it marks the end of August Meetings for our women, when most of our patriotic wives that travelled to their matrimonial communities return, not being what they were at departure. Most return with breast cancer, fibroid, tumours, elephantiasis, migraine, paralysis, miscarriages, hearing and speech impediments, strange coughs, etc., all culminating either to the highly mortal ‘brief illness’ or to the protracted one that leaves such victims of village play-gods bedridden till death.

It also marks the New Yam Festival period for the larger Igbo communities, and when some others fix as their national community’s days for various cultural fiestas. These feasts are not exonerated from evils, as like in the August Meeting, most poor and over materialistic women are caught openly in crowded markets for stealing wrappers, food items, etc., while some mount unnecessary pressures on their husbands in order to be like others in showcasing their finesses. Many travellers go home to feast, while others return at the ’Ember months to take chieftaincy titles; some, to destroy the progressive ones in their communities or mar them, while others become victims of kidnapping and assassinations, courtesy of internal collaborators and informants. But, the Imo Police Command is vibrantly now at work.

There are some that take these remaining four months as building season. Thus, sellers of building materials see it as time to make it and hike prices of goods. To parents and guardians that train children in schools, new resumption dates come fast with their demands, just as the Yuletide draws fast near with its own manmade headaches. Often times, the earlier our radio and television stations start airing “Feliz Navidad!” at the month of October, puts extreme fire on the heels of parents and over materialistic ones.

All like the hustling ants are busy striving to make it at all cost. While some resort to ritualism, kidnapping and trafficking in persons and human parts, others resort to various sorts of sharp financial deals- 419, money doubling, ATM frauds, pickpocketing, shoplifting, bag-snatching, armed robbery, barrow-pushers’ turn-bend-and hide-away tricks, counterfeit circulations, automobile snatching, etc.,- All in the name of making it for the ’Ember months.

The worst is the traffic. Virtually every vehicle owner wants to be on the road, whether road-worthy or not. Drivers drive recklessly in order to make excess returns in piles for the ’Ember months. At times, normal seats are overloaded with persons and goods, at the absolute discomfort of the drivers. Even Keke drivers while staying at the middle, put passengers at their left and right, making an entire six persons in the voyage. Bike people and speedboat drivers are the worst category in the sharp deals and hustling at this season. They steal, kidnap, rape, assist ritualists, and do all sorts of odd jobs to make it before December, and by ‘December’ they mean the1-day feast of Xmas.

Down to our dear State Imo, there is no single one-quarter kilometre road without death-portholes, worst now rain and erosion have dug trenches on them, making dying nearer than ever. At the Imo capital city for instance, there are no single 100 metres road without death-traps, in both local and federal roads. These make for traffic congestions and excess hustling, wherein all drivers are in haste to pass, with 4 or 5 lines of traffic on a lane- All heading to nowhere at last. The rate motorists speed in order to make it also demonises ’Ember months. The late Igbo literary Icon, Prof Chinua Achebe in his poem “Benin Road” in There Was A Country, said “Speed is violence, power violence and weight violence”. All these: Speed, power and weight are demonstrated and seen on our roads by daily road-users mostly at these ’Ember months.

Beside these, there are rampart self-created motor parks along busy roads and junctions. Keke, cab and bus drivers load at the middle of the roads and T-junctions, causing virtually 2 to 3 accidents of various gravities daily. The deadliest is the problem of broken-down vehicles on the middle of the road. This, these days have become a common attitude of drivers. ‘It is only in Nigeria’ (as Nathaniel Ndiokwere would say) that a vehicle will break down at the middle of the road and remain there up to 4 days. Most of these abandoned broken-down vehicles are projections from blood-sucking demons, and until they lead to blood sucks and untimely deaths, the owners never come to tow them out.

Sometimes one wonders whether the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Traffic Police, the Imo Police Officers (driving daily passing these), the Imo ENTRACO, Imo Orientation Agency workers, Road Worthy checkers, etc., are only sent to catch defaulters. This is good, but which is life-perishing than the other: Broken-down vehicles without road signs and fast removal from the middle of the road to avoid death of innocent others, or the catch and pay fine technique for internally generated revenue? When all Imolites die, God-forbid! As the other 3 died at the Irete (Owerri-Onitsha) road few days ago because of a broken down tipper carrying red mud sand not worth N2,000. When Imolites die off like that, abandoned by the Government- Task Force, Police, FRSC, ENTRACO, etc., who will generate which fund for the State? One day will be the turn of those in charge or their relations. God forbid!

It is thus suggestive that the Imo State Government at this year’s ’Ember months project a strict enforced law on broken-down vehicles. To this effect, when such vehicles are abandoned, let them be carried to the designated areas by any of the agencies mapped out, with towing vans, and the owners in search of them must come and pay for the tow, the repairing point and the road hazards created for others. This towing should be within 6 hours of sighting such breakdown, and with designated workers at watch for safety of other road users passing along the sports. This too, would generate revenue, and compel road users to put their vehicles in order to avoid expenditure, and which again saves lives of commuters.

As we step into these manmade months and season, let life and safety be prime before wealth, time, and haste. Like Anthony de Mello said, ‘A motor car can be used to travel to the heights. ‘But most people lie in front of it, allow it to run over them; then blame it for the accident.” Most daily accidents are repairable faults managed by drivers or faults created by man’s recklessness on the road, while blaming demons and enemies at homes and workplaces.

Let us be patient, careful, wary and Godly minded as we live this year’s ’Ember months as it seems 2016 is the worst austerity year witnessed since the Third Millennium. The ’Ember months are for onward survival, not for death, they are not Uhuru season to die, just as its manmade aura are not Yanchi-time for sundry inhuman atrocities. God, the Supreme Eye is watching us and will never welcome any killer of person(s) out of recklessness and excessive materialism of the ’Ember months.

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The Great Jesuit Sage, Antony de Mello, on casualty observed thus, “Everyone was surprised by the Master’s updated metaphor: ‘Life is like a motor car.’ They waited in silence, knowing that an explanation would not be long in coming. ‘Oh yes,’ he said at length. ‘A motor car can be used to travel to the heights.’ Another silence. ‘But most people lie in front of it, allow it to run over them; then blame it for the accident.”

This wise teaching is most needed at every ’Mber season, when every Dick and Harry wants to make all they could not make since the third-quarter of the year. Human life and its dignity are set aside, at times third in preference after wealth and ‘making it.’ Most of the ‘making it hustles’ are at all cost, by every possible means and at any attainable manner.

Truly, the last quarter of the year seems significant by the peculiar atmosphere that notch-marks the season. First, by the autumnal equinox that begins on September 22 or 23, when there are equal length of days and nights and secondly, by the beginning of rainfall at northern hemisphere, which here in Nigeria marks the end period of fall season, which culminates in Harmattan.

In the ancient Roman calendar the ’Ember months mark the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th months, thus the Latin origins of their names- Septem (7), Octo (8), Nona (9) and Decem (10). All these names were human fabrics with their diverse festivities attached by different human societies. These months, and their human-attached feasts and inclinations thereunto, are not worthy the wanton and nasty recklessness that has been made characteristic of the season, turning it to an Uhuru season to die or kill others.

Feasts are manmade. Days and calendar are sheer human reckonings. ’Ember months bear no natural or supernatural quality, danger, luck or ill-luck other than what we humans attach to them. The Creator of mankind did not make calendar nor named any collection of days for us. It is startling how man, who in fabricating calendar, has fabricated his own-undoing unto self-annihilation by the inclination to excessive materialism, especially during his self-made ’Ember months.

In most clans, human communities, socio-cultural settings and religious fiestas in Nigeria today, the ’Ember months mark many things. In the Igbo ethic nationality, it marks the end of August Meetings for our women, when most of our patriotic wives that travelled to their matrimonial communities return, not being what they were at departure. Most return with breast cancer, fibroid, tumours, elephantiasis, migraine, paralysis, miscarriages, hearing and speech impediments, strange coughs, etc., all culminating either to the highly mortal ‘brief illness’ or to the protracted one that leaves such victims of village play-gods bedridden till death.

It also marks the New Yam Festival period for the larger Igbo communities, and when some others fix as their national community’s days for various cultural fiestas. These feasts are not exonerated from evils, as like in the August Meeting, most poor and over materialistic women are caught openly in crowded markets for stealing wrappers, food items, etc., while some mount unnecessary pressures on their husbands in order to be like others in showcasing their finesses. Many travellers go home to feast, while others return at the ’Ember months to take chieftaincy titles; some, to destroy the progressive ones in their communities or mar them, while others become victims of kidnapping and assassinations, courtesy of internal collaborators and informants. But, the Imo Police Command is vibrantly now at work.

There are some that take these remaining four months as building season. Thus, sellers of building materials see it as time to make it and hike prices of goods. To parents and guardians that train children in schools, new resumption dates come fast with their demands, just as the Yuletide draws fast near with its own manmade headaches. Often times, the earlier our radio and television stations start airing “Feliz Navidad!” at the month of October, puts extreme fire on the heels of parents and over materialistic ones.

All like the hustling ants are busy striving to make it at all cost. While some resort to ritualism, kidnapping and trafficking in persons and human parts, others resort to various sorts of sharp financial deals- 419, money doubling, ATM frauds, pickpocketing, shoplifting, bag-snatching, armed robbery, barrow-pushers’ turn-bend-and hide-away tricks, counterfeit circulations, automobile snatching, etc.,- All in the name of making it for the ’Ember months.

The worst is the traffic. Virtually every vehicle owner wants to be on the road, whether road-worthy or not. Drivers drive recklessly in order to make excess returns in piles for the ’Ember months. At times, normal seats are overloaded with persons and goods, at the absolute discomfort of the drivers. Even Keke drivers while staying at the middle, put passengers at their left and right, making an entire six persons in the voyage. Bike people and speedboat drivers are the worst category in the sharp deals and hustling at this season. They steal, kidnap, rape, assist ritualists, and do all sorts of odd jobs to make it before December, and by ‘December’ they mean the1-day feast of Xmas.

Down to our dear State Imo, there is no single one-quarter kilometre road without death-portholes, worst now rain and erosion have dug trenches on them, making dying nearer than ever. At the Imo capital city for instance, there are no single 100 metres road without death-traps, in both local and federal roads. These make for traffic congestions and excess hustling, wherein all drivers are in haste to pass, with 4 or 5 lines of traffic on a lane- All heading to nowhere at last. The rate motorists speed in order to make it also demonises ’Ember months. The late Igbo literary Icon, Prof Chinua Achebe in his poem “Benin Road” in There Was A Country, said “Speed is violence, power violence and weight violence”. All these: Speed, power and weight are demonstrated and seen on our roads by daily road-users mostly at these ’Ember months.

Beside these, there are rampart self-created motor parks along busy roads and junctions. Keke, cab and bus drivers load at the middle of the roads and T-junctions, causing virtually 2 to 3 accidents of various gravities daily. The deadliest is the problem of broken-down vehicles on the middle of the road. This, these days have become a common attitude of drivers. ‘It is only in Nigeria’ (as Nathaniel Ndiokwere would say) that a vehicle will break down at the middle of the road and remain there up to 4 days. Most of these abandoned broken-down vehicles are projections from blood-sucking demons, and until they lead to blood sucks and untimely deaths, the owners never come to tow them out.

Sometimes one wonders whether the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Traffic Police, the Imo Police Officers (driving daily passing these), the Imo ENTRACO, Imo Orientation Agency workers, Road Worthy checkers, etc., are only sent to catch defaulters. This is good, but which is life-perishing than the other: Broken-down vehicles without road signs and fast removal from the middle of the road to avoid death of innocent others, or the catch and pay fine technique for internally generated revenue? When all Imolites die, God-forbid! As the other 3 died at the Irete (Owerri-Onitsha) road few days ago because of a broken down tipper carrying red mud sand not worth N2,000. When Imolites die off like that, abandoned by the Government- Task Force, Police, FRSC, ENTRACO, etc., who will generate which fund for the State? One day will be the turn of those in charge or their relations. God forbid!

It is thus suggestive that the Imo State Government at this year’s ’Ember months project a strict enforced law on broken-down vehicles. To this effect, when such vehicles are abandoned, let them be carried to the designated areas by any of the agencies mapped out, with towing vans, and the owners in search of them must come and pay for the tow, the repairing point and the road hazards created for others.

This towing should be within 6 hours of sighting such breakdown, and with designated workers at watch for safety of other road users passing along the sports. This too, would generate revenue, and compel road users to put their vehicles in order to avoid expenditure, and which again saves lives of commuters.

As we step into these manmade months and season, let life and safety be prime before wealth, time, and haste. Like Anthony de Mello said, ‘A motor car can be used to travel to the heights. ‘But most people lie in front of it, allow it to run over them; then blame it for the accident.” Most daily accidents are repairable faults managed by drivers or faults created by man’s recklessness on the road, while blaming demons and enemies at homes and workplaces. Let us be patient, careful, wary and Godly minded as we live this year’s ’Ember months as it seems 2016 is the worst austerity year witnessed since the Third Millennium.

The ’Ember months are for onward survival, not for death, they are not Uhuru season to die, just as its manmade aura are not Yanchi-time for sundry inhuman atrocities. God, the Supreme Eye is watching us and will never welcome any killer of person(s) out of recklessness and excessive materialism of the ’Ember months.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Prince Stanley U Okoroji and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Prince Stanley U Okoroji