I live in Lagos. This metropolis is the most populous in Africa, the second fastest growing and the seventh fastest in the world. Living in this city is like palpating the pulse of Nigeria and even though its pace is absolutely frenetic, aside from Jos and Abuja I can’t imagine living in any other part of the country.

But as I pass through this Lagos every day, seeing people waiting interminably for transport in rain and sunshine, observing others being transported in rickety vehicles that are too tight to fit even match sticks while being choked in the thick smog of poisonous smoke being belched out by others, the irrepressible question that keeps coming to the fore of my mind like a buoy on a restless sea is if human beings were designed to live the way Lagosians or Nigerians (since this civic centre is a microcosm of the nation) live.

If you live on the mainland and work on the island or vice versa, sometimes you spend the better part of eight hours in traffic alone. Then you get home towards the better part of midnight and start battling with your generator sets because most times PHCN, the prince of darkness would have cast its cloak of shadows upon our civilization. Sometimes even with the availiabity of four generators, there would be no fuel to power them. Then there is the issue of water, even if we suddenly find ourselves in the future envisaged by the former bank PHB, where cars run on water, in Naija, loads of people will still walk to work due to scarcity of water. And the whole cycle plays on everyday becoming a life draining rat race. I know a lot of other parts of the nation don’t experience traffic the way it is in Lagos but the other challenges prevail everywhere.

Since the transport system of this country is messed up amongst other things and the government cannot utilize the waterways and provide an effective tube system, everyone takes to the road in their own cars thereby increasing traffic and pollution. Coupled with the long hours at the steering since everybody cannot afford drivers, Lagosians are perpetually in a daze of fatigue. So caught in this race of survival like a hamster in a cage running ceaseless on wheels, the question that comes up is, when do we think or imagine? When do we have the time to envision a better tomorrow for all mankind?

When God made man, He put him in an environment where every system was functional. There was power, light, water, name it before Adam was now placed in the garden to fulfill his potential (this is why i think it is ridiculous for most Nigerian companies to expect the best from their employees when all they provide is a deplorable work system. I guess they expect the workers to work with magic wands). In the cool of the day, man could also fellowship with God so everything was working. The psalmist exclaimed once about the King of kings, “how wonderful are thy works, thy thoughts are very deep”. That means that God was able to do great things like creating the universe because He had enough time to think and imagine. Man was formed in the image of God to function like God that is why the Elshaddai had to put him in Eden where everything was running smoothly to allow him enough time to be imaginative. Adam had enough imagination to name the animals and rule the world.

In this neck of the woods, you barely sleep before its time to wake up and continue the routine, the hum drum. Worse still, the sleep is interrupted by the groans of overworked generators. Lots of people are like walking zombies just going about not giving a thought to anything while performing perfunctory functions. I strongly believe that this is one of the reasons why this nation is the way it is.

Entrapped in the roller coaster of this joyless race, we barely have time to fellowship with God, relate with our spouses, commune with our families, invent and create things that would outlive us. We come, see but never conquer. We exit the grand stage leaving it the way we met it.

On the other hand, first world nations where the rat race is not as tiresome as ours, where the basic necessities of life are at least provided for churn out inventions that benefit the whole of mankind. For example in a roomy air conditioned transport, it is easier to think than when you are claustrophobic and ambushed with the odour of unwashed armpits (in this case all you can think about is about how fast you can each your stop).

Since we have a government that is as listless as a rudderless ship, we have to be intentional about creating a conducive environment for ourselves to think and imagine. Albert Einstein said imagination is better than knowledge.  If we cannot have time to think then we are walking a tight rope and this country will keep going backwards as other nations run past it with the speed of a jet fighter. There’s no great breakthrough that comes without some time of meditation and imagination. Jesus had forty days in the wilderness before he could launch his ministry, which has lasted for some two thousand years, Paul did some time in the wilderness too before he became the custodian of mind boggling revelations that has impacted generations, Heath Ledger locked himself away for about a month before he could deliver his magnus opus as the “Joker” in the “Dark Knight”.

Except we break away from the rat race, we would never really make any headway into the future and we would just watch while the things that mean the most in life die around us. Anything that prevents us from imagining is deleterious to our future. It was recorded that even God could not stop the united imagination of a couple of people in the early age of the world and had to put confusion in their midst to scuttle their plans. That is how powerful imagination is. Almost every outstanding thing on earth has its source from this.




8 thoughts on “THE DEA(R)TH OF imagi-NATION

  1. There is very, very,slow progress in Nigeria; but prgress never the less.33yrs ago, Europe was buying supermarket items with 'plastic money'.This era has at last reached these shores. Let us continue to be optimistic. God is in control.


  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree but the progress is too slow compared to the wherewithal at our disposal. We certainly could be better.I strongly believe that Nigeria will change but before a doctor can cure a patient, the symptoms and signs have to be crystal clear.


  3. I agree with you,but are the signs and symptoms not clear?e.g. Great wealth,great corruption,greed.No planning of any sort; not to talk of forward planning.Nigeria should adhere strictly to it's plan schedule' and when it fails to live up to expectation; heads should roll, although not literally.The problem with Nigeria is that no one wants to administer the painful injection.


  4. Spot on, your majesty. Imagination. There are many ways of responding to the apparent visionlessness of our leaders. One way is to despair. Another is to identify the people in leadership who do have good ideas and intentions, and encourage them. It takes great faith to follow the 2nd option. Why can't we have Trams/Metro/Trains in Lagos/Abuja etc? Economists have identified transport and communications as 2 sectors whose modernization can have a multiplier effect on economic growth. Da King and the rest of us must find imaginative ways of accelerating the slow pace at which our leaders are currently applying these reforms.


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