by ‘Yomi Kazeem
To whom it may concern, my name is Dr. Kazeem and I’m here to report an epidemic that has severely decimated our nation. This is worse than SARS and AIDS! It is with dismay and sadness that I have, in the fullness of my medical expertise, noticed this ailment that is plaguing vital components of our perpetually developing nation. The nomenclature I have ascribed to this odious phenomenon is ‘The National Disease’.
PATIENT No. 1: National Stadium, Surulere. Diagnosis: Extensive psychological trauma and Acute Neglect Deficiency.
Previously a fortress of sorts and an edifice that made other nations jealous, the National Stadium has become a shadow of its former glory. Built in 1975, it was a totemic pride of sports in West Africa, today it is totemic sign of infrastructural decadence. Rather than be the proud host of national team games, it now hosts the Daily International Conference of Lizards and Crickets.
On the day it was commissioned, different whiffs of cologne filled the air, today the stench of urine reigns supreme. Creaking and falling apart, the obituary of the National Stadium is due anytime now, especially when you evaluate the psychological trauma that the Teslim Balogun Stadium, its next door neighbor is giving it. It happens to us all, our neighbor buys a new car and we ‘hiss and carry face’ as though the car was parked in our bedroom. Why should the National Stadium be any different? The insensitivity of the builders of the Teslim Balogun Stadium is unbelievable to say the least. And there goes the National Stadium, the source of our pride in yesteryears. In a twist of events, the karma of the neglect the National Stadium has suffered is catching up with the National team, it’s harder to figure out which is worse!
PATIENT No. 2: National Theatre. Diagnosis: Dementia and the Gross Mismanagement Condition
Looking pitiful and dilapidated, the National Theatre which was architecturally designed to elicit comparisons with a Military cap now lays forlorn on the coast of the lagoon. Gone are the days when it was the spot for the premiere of world-revered movies and world-famous stage plays as it was in the 80’s. Now it plays host to children’s and Christmas parties that have badly costumed Santa Claus wannabes as special guests of honour and naming ceremonies. Talk about grace to grass. But the National Theatre has better chances of healing than the National Stadium, it can undergo reconstructive surgery and a face lift, but there’s always the risk that the fees supposed to service its medical bills will be disbursed but embezzled. However, it is not a total loss. At least the National Theatre is spared the indignation of looking across the street to see a better version of itself: the Murray- Bruce family ensured that.
PATIENT No. 3: National Assembly. Diagnosis: Moral Diabetes, Chronic Constipation and Indigestion.
This patient is terribly annoying. With well documented symptoms of its apparent sickness and ailments, it goes around bandying itself as the perfect entity. It is either a case of denial, or the more disastrous ‘I-don’t-care’ attitude. If it is the latter, then its treatment is far from being created – it’s an instance of self- affliction, it’s like an albino driving in the afternoon. The National Assembly displays its symptoms and illness on national TV and in the dailies, renowned for its multi-faceted personality troubles and characterized by inanity; it seems evident that the National Assembly will be sick for some time. In search of free entertainment, we look to the National Assembly for non scripted wrestling and shouting matches. The only way to rid the National Assembly of its maladies is beyond the medical industry, hence, we will need to refer it to our brothers in the Lord, I especially recommend healing by the Chief Consular at the Embassy of Christ and deliverance by the shepherd at the place where there is Fire on the Mountain.
PATENT No. 4: National Electric Power Authority. Diagnosis: Epilepsy, Death from governmental causes.
Paralyzed by a severe stroke for the past few years, NEPA’s sickness does not need extensive literal description. Its sickness has affected and shaped our lives in different ways, whether, there was high voltage and you burnt your best shirt or saw your little brother say his first words, ‘Up NEPA’, NEPA has lit up our lives in different ways. Food has gotten spoilt, lives have been lost and news broadcasts have been missed. But NEPA’s agony is peculiar, its depressing state could have been averted before the sickness entered its critical stages. Every year it was promised rehabilitation but people responsible for its creation and upkeep have siphoned NEPA’s pocket money to willing Swiss accounts. One tragic day, NEPA breathed its last and passed away in a federal hospital, as its life support machine couldn’t run on batteries anymore. Wails and dismay filled the air, but unbeknownst to many, down the hall in another ward, a baby was born and its name was PHCN.
In respect of the impending dead and the already dead victims of the fatal National Disease, let’s observe one minute of silence…
May the soul of the soon to be departed and the departed, rest in peace. *sniff*