by Demola Rewaju
(A form of this story appears from one or two authors but not in this form. I first wrote this piece and published it via my Facebook page on December 8th, 2010.)
“And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it inside and outside with pitch. And this is the fashion which you shall make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shall you make to the ark, and in a cubit shall you finish it above; and the door of the ark shall you set in the side thereof; with lower, second and third stories shall you make it. And behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shall you bring into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every sort shall come to you to keep them alive.”
Now was Noah a Lagosian living in our day and time, and that made all the difference in the story.
After several months, God came down only to find Noah sitting on a pile of rotting wood and weeping sadly. The skies were dark and rain had started to shower as the hour of the deluge set in….
‘Noah,’ God thundered ‘where is my ark?’
‘Baba God, e no easy o! dis gofment wey dey our state na die! I don suffer no be small.’ Noah responded in the pidgin that most Lagosians speak.
‘Since the day wey u say make I build ark, na hin I rush go buy wood for sawmill. You say make I use gopher and na so I tell di man wey I see for dia. Na three times di man sell wood for me wey my capinta say no be gopher dem sell for me. Di capinta sef come collect money go buy di wood come. As e dey carry am come, na so KAI hol am say wey him permit to transport wood? Capinta say no be today hin don dey buy wood. Dem say dis na lawyer gofment and tings don change so dem bundle am put inside black maria do case for inside say make hin pay five thousand and di case go die. Na me go pay and as I dey drive go, na so one LASTMA tell me say make I follow one-way find my way. As I turn enta di one way as d LASTMA talk, na hin anoda LASTMA just comot from inside drum, enta my car wit force, begin dey follow me drag steering make I park.’
Noah continued: ‘as I park nah hin dem say I follow one way, I say na one LASTMA say make I follow dia. Dem say make I point d LASTMA but hin don disappear and I no see am again. Na 15,000 dem collect from my hand for dia.’
‘Baba God, di first land wey I buy for Lekki dia godfather and governor emeritus na hin seize am give one judge. I buy another land for Lekki say make I build di ark on top, after I pay big money for the land, state offishial come say make I pay land use charge, I pay; local gofment say make I pay tenement rate, I pay; dem come back say make I pay infrastructure development levy, di money for dis one pass di money wey I take buy di land, I pay; dem come again say make I pay physical development charge, I pay again. Dem come say my planning permit dey on ‘awaiting approval list’…Jehovah God, as I dey follow You talk now, dem still never give me permit o! Omo onile collect money from me, I threaten to report to gofment, dem laff me sey shey I no know sey na their godfather be my governor godfather?’
‘Di day wey I go bank go collect money, na so armed robber enta come carry our money go. Police no come until dem finish. I ask di bankers say shebi dem say security trust fund don mobilize police to fight armed robber. Dem tell me say na only banks and big big companies wey pay money into di fund, nah in dem dey protect. All di animals wey come meet me as You talk, gofment offishials come ask me whether I get permit to carry live animal. Dem say weda I be butcher, I say I no be butcher say na God work I dey do. Dem say I go pay levy and I must join association because na efribodi get association for Lagos and na to pay tax – barber get, hairdresser get, pepper seller get, even people wey just start business sef must join association make dem dey pay tax.’
‘Me I don tire for dis gofment o! for yonda, dem dey collect award but for hia, we no dey see dia work. Road wey good before, dem go first spoil di road say dem wan resurface, dem go come leave am for one year, wait make election time dey come before dem go put red sand come level am. After dem level am, dem go tell us say if we vote for dem, dem go do di road. Light dem no do, despite sey dem fit do IPP, water e no dey. Di water works for Isheri wey dem commission, e no dey comot water again. Doctors strike, dem no pay dem until many people don die. My son Ham sef nearly die for di mortuary, sori, hospital wey dey Igando. All di state higher institution dey go on strike anyhow, dem increase LASU school fees before dem reverse am. Dem ban okada wey NUC seize LASU licence to do Law and Economics, di governor dey look. Lekki road na toll gate dem put for dia say make we dey pay money and I know say e go soon spread go other places. Tejuosho na poor people market, dem collect am from dia hand afta governor don say hin go give them back. Na so di governor dey lie for us: he say he go do waste-to-wealth, we no see am. Solar energy? We no see am. Independent Power Project? We no see. He come say hin don do road pass Ghana and Sierra Leone, na dia wahala nah in hook me wey I never even start the ark.’
After a litany of woes and tales of bitterness at the hands of government and its officials, the Lord God spoke unto Noah:
‘I canst not proceed with the punishment of the flood to destroy the earth for two reasons: the state hath corrupted thee and thine family; thou art no longer holy enough for me to continue the human race with. Secondly, I have found an easier way to destroy the world, starting with Lagos State.’
Noah, repentantly changed the language Lagos had made him fluent in and replied:
‘Lord God, do not look on my sinfulness, I repent as of this moment, I with my household. Only I pray thee, do not leave me in this Lagos or if you would, please change this government and give us a new leader. One that is not imposed by any godfather; one who does not over-tax our people; one who has a heart that drips with human kindness and sympathy, one whose heart truly beats for the poor and less-privileged; one who is not concerned only about international accolades and grandstanding; one who says what he will do and will follow through. Give us this day, the change we so desperately need! And pray Lord, what is this new punishment you want to use to destroy Lagos for our sins?’
As the clouds became brighter and the sun started to smile once more, the Lord spoke from heaven:
‘Son of man, my ways are yet hidden from even thee. I do not interfere with the will of man nor to deliver him from problems which by himself he created and which he hath the solution to. I doth have worthy men in Lagos State but the people choose to listen to that manikin which I created and who has turned himself into a god. He calls himself the godfather but I am the only God, the Father! His cup is gradually filling up in my sight and I will surely reveal him as he is when the time comes for he is but a stranger upon the earth as all men, and an alien to Lagos state.’
‘As for imposing a leader, the people chose democracy and not theocracy. The former is about the people and the latter about me. It is a pity though, that even in democracy, plutocracy holds sway in Lagos.’
‘However, unless the people open their eyes and see the dangers of the cabal, they will continue in perpetual slavery and servitude, even as they continue to smile and appreciate the improving aesthetics without matching reforms.’
The Lord continued:
‘Lagos is a beautiful city to which I directed my servants from Portugal and Brazil. It was a city of enlightenment, founded upon equality. I blessed it with wealth from the seas and made it a corner city. I called into it, people from every part of the country and all over the world. I made it a city without tribalism but respect for the supremacy of enterprise and commerce. The Igbos thrive in it with selling clothes, entertainment and electronics; just as the Hausas who change foreign currency and are content with living average lives. Yet, the city has managed to retain its identity with a strong sense of culture and tradition.’
‘The seeds of division were first sown early on when one of my messengers whom you called Zik, was denied the opportunity to lead the parliament on the basis that he was a non-indigene. Ever since then, the offshoot of that cabal still proves difficult and the people of Lagos whom I created discerning have not seen the need to rise up. My destruction of the world will start with Lagos therefore because she was my city beloved but it has sold itself out to a cabal and I will punish it with same. Yet, if my people who are mine indeed, will rise and challenge this cabal and overthrow it, the punishment may yet be averted. I am the Lord and I have spoken.’
And with that, the heavens started to shut once more but Noah rushed forward, threw himself on the ground and shouted:
‘My Lord and Father, if I have found favour in your sight, please reveal to me what this punishment to destroy the world starting with Lagos will be’.
The heavens seemed to smile for a few seconds as Noah heard a faint voice whisper just right behind him
‘The punishment shalt be thus: the governor shall field a candidate. His godfather shall also field another. Yet again, they shall have another candidate in what you think is the opposition party in Lagos. That man is a mole in PDP. So, you see, unless Lagosians “shine their eyes” as you humans say, the cup is full and will soon run over’.
PS:- The old man who told me this story swears it is true and he is yet alive.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.