The Roads Need to Rest

The Roads Need to Rest

Sunday, April 26, 2020 8:17 pm

Johnson Babalola

By Johnson Babalola, Canada


“Ouch…” yells Roads


“Why are you yelling Roads?” asks Legs

“Excuse me? First, it is Mr. Roads and not Roads. I have existed long before you in Nigeria. I was existing before Nigeria became Nigeria. Culturally, you respect your elders. My entire family members had been in existence here for long. My father, Untarred Roads is still alive. My mother, Bushy Roads is also alive. You have met my wife, Eroded Roads; my son, Express Roads. You once had a drink of palm wine with one of my brothers, NonexistenceRoads here recently. You will meet other members of my family soon. So, my dear Legs, I deserve some respect. Call me Mr. Tarred Roads or at least, call me Tarred and not by my last name without a Mr.”

“Forget it Roads. I don’t care about first or last names. I am way older than you in Nigeria. My family came into the world with Adam. He was the first man created by God and he was put in the Garden of Eden. So, don’t talk to me about seniority”

“Ha. Hear you Legs. You just mentioned Garden of Eden. Let’s go back to that time then. Garden of Eden came with Paths who are my cousins. Remember that my mum’s name is Bushy Roads. That tells you that when the garden was created, there were bushy paths and road therein. I will accept though that we were created same period but still, I deserve some respect because I am older thank you in age”

“What’s going on with you today Roads? You are very unfriendly and irritable.”

“What’s going on with me? Listen to yourself. I have internalized my anger for many years. We have been abused for years in this country. Every year, funds are budgeted to create new members of my family and to maintain us. Then, some members of your family embezzle the money or in very few instances, create or maintain us with inferior materials. My son cries daily because despite the huge funds spent by the government, the link between Lagos and Ibadan remains a dream. I wonder sometime why I named him “Express”. I should have named him “Slow”. Well, it was my wife that insisted on that name. Hmmnn, my boy has learnt his lessons though. When he fell in love with his girlfriend, the Second Niger Bridge, they made a bet that they would get married once they are both fully completed. Children of these days!. They are still waiting because in our family tradition, you cannot break a bet made to your lover.”

“Really Roads!. You have that kind of stupid tradition in your family?. This is 2020”

“Is that all you are concerned with? You are not concerned about millions of your country men and women who cannot transact businesses with ease due to the situations with members of my family? You are not concerned about your fellow citizens practically stuck in traffic daily, stressed, weary and angry? You are not concerned about the citizens of your country that die on us daily? You are not concerned about many of the citizens that the stress they pass through daily have led to broken homes, health problems, drug abuse, lack of productivity, You are not concerned about the multiplier effect of my family’s situation on the country’s economy, your wellbeing, educational development, employment, infrastructural development etc? You are not? I am not surprised. You guys never think about the well being of the nation. You only think about yourselves. As long as you are able to provide your own water, nice vehicles, healthy savings, electricity, send your children to good schools at home or abroad and some basic comfort, then nothing else matters. You don’t care about your environment and you certainly don’t care about others”


“Easy, Roads. You are making this very personal with me”


“Making this personal with you? You bet! Were you not one of the people that elected those who are misusing this nation’s resources in exchange for N1,000, a kongo of garri or N200 recharge card? Are you not? Will you not do the same in 2023? Did I not see your cousin, Mouth Onijekuje the other day bragging to his University girlfriend that he made a lot of money from maintaining the Roads family? I was angry because he never took care of us. My father,Untarred spent all his useful and youthful time toensure that goods were transported from one end to the other in this country. He inhaled dusts daily because like his name, he was not tarred. When he finally retired, his pension is not paid regularly. He has health challenges but there is no medical infrastructure anywhere to help him. When he passes on, you will show us with aso ebi to eat rice and fish. Don’t let me put a curse on you and your family o!”

“Bros, I am sorry…. I don’t know what to say but this has nothing to do with me nau! Ehmm…”

“Then don’t say anything. Just let me be. Let my family be. We have suffered enough in your hands. Your cousins and siblings are worse though. Look at Soakaway, your friend. He is my filthy neighbour. He does not take care of himself. He is tired because you dump your filth on him. Look at those responsible for traffic offences. Right in my presence, some accept bribes. Who do I report to? The Police? But they are the ones taking the bribes!. Many fights that include stabbings happen right here in my presence. My cousin Side Roads witnesses abuse and rape of women daily. She had called the Police many times without any success. My distant cousin, Market Roads tells me your family members have blocked access through her to other places. She cannot breathe properly any longer. When my former schoolteacher, Rain visits with anger, he invites our former school invigilator, Flood. They have transferred their anger against your people against my family. Then my family suffers. Your people suffer too. Are you aware that in some parts of the country my family members are cut off from each other due to the activities of our no good former environmental science teacher,Erosion?. Of course you are aware of this but you have done nothing about it. I have witnessed abuses and poverty. Some walk on me not sure of when they will get the next meal. Some have no clothes on, some walk barefooted. There are a lot of agonies my friend. I am depressed and will need some counseling but then, the good healthcare workers have mostly left for other countries. I can go on and on. Yet your people budget billions of Naira yearly for the construction and/or maintenance of my family. You often wrongly think that my family members are the only victims of your greed, negligence and unpatriotic actions. You forget that your people are victims too: unwarranted deaths, inability to transport foods, goods and materials from one end of the country to the other, lack of growth of the tourism industry, extreme poverty etc. Some of you buy expensive vehicles you cannot ride joyfully because you have not taken care of my family. Abeg, make I just keep quiet !”

“Bros, again, I have no appropriate response. At first, I thought you were being selfish but no, you are really hurting. Let me just apologize on behalf of my people”

“My dear friend Legs, you are a good man. You are gentle when you walk on me. You care about me. I must however remind you that there is a COVID-19 pandemic going on. You should have stayed in your house. When the stay at home order was announced, I was happy because I had thought that you would all stay at home and let us be. My family and I need some rest … from the noises, the pollutions, the kidnappings, the poverty, the abuses, uncaring behaviours…… Then the same problems (domestic abuses, rape, poverty, hunger, lack of infrastructure etc) forced many of you out and our peace is disturbed again. Is there hope for your people and my family?. For this COVID-19 pandemic period, the Roads family is asking for your understanding to allow us some rest for a few days please. Please!”

“Ok bros. I will head home now to my family. You need your space and need to rest too. I am however sure that others not so privileged like me will always be out to disturb your peace for the same reasons you spoke about: the greed and lack of care of my people.” Legs states as he walks away in deep thought.

“Dear Lord …..” Roads starts praying.

Johnson Babalola Writes From Canada

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