ST. VALENTINE, THE PHANTOM OF FEBRUARY 14TH

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If you have been following my blog for a while now, you would know that I do not care diddly squat about Saint Valentine’s Day. It is not that I am constantly in an over sized armoured suit that prevents Cupid’s arrow from getting close to my heart. On the contrary, I am an incurable romantic maybe way more than you even are (so do not give me that condescending look). I believe in star-dust filled ambiance and slow motion hugs, a weekend get away with the wife, roses and chocolates. Lately, I have even been thinking of a way to bottle the moon and a couple of stars to give my Amor as a gift, to enlighten her heart when the light of my love for her seems to dim a tad. However, in a world where bombs and bullets are given instead of hugs and kisses, slaps and fisticuffs are distributed instead of goodwill and harmony; to take out one day where we all go wild celebrating something we know zilch about is an elaborate charade.

A lot of madness is going on in the world but let me use my beloved Nigeria as a microcosm of the globe. This is one country where selfishness and greed fester to unimaginable proportions. Most peeps live with the creed of me, myself and I. Decisions are almost never made based on how it will favour the next person but for self-centered pecuniary reasons. Bus drivers knowing they do not have enough fuel to undertake journeys would do so anyway so long as they can collect some cash from the passengers before the vehicle stops on the road. Even if it is in the middle of the bush on a Monday morning, they do not give a hoot. Cross country transport companies would put faulty buses on the road and write on their tickets that fares are not refundable. I do not even want to talk about airlines; their own issues are on another dimension. Health personnel would jolly well know a case is beyond their expertise but would keep patients on the wards to make some quid, when the person is about expiring they would now refer so that it would not be said that the sick individual died in their hospitals. Lagos state government officials (touts with uniforms) would pounce on unwitting drivers like hyenas on wounded lambs and whisk them off to their offices on the pretence of putting down their names as first offenders, then slam N10, 500 fines on them after impounding their cars. These officials plus policemen remove road signs deliberately sometimes to catch “offenders” who will line their pockets with money. In Nigeria, laws are not made to protect but to punish, punishment that would accumulate more dough for the punisher. Petrol station owners would sabotage PHCN efforts to generate power so that the nation would continue being connected to the umbilical cords of the fuel pumps. Charlatans parading as clergy would rip off the undiscerning to get more prophetic offerings. We should be the last people on earth making so much noise about Valentine’s Day!

It occurred to me recently that when people run away from this country in search of a better life outside our shores what they are really running away from is the selfishness, greed and wickedness. Reason being that if our leaders were not consumed by the vices stated above, then Nigeria would be even better than the countries we run to in terms of infrastructure and better standards of human living. The difference between us and these other countries is not in the preponderance of natural resources but it is just that people there, out of love for themselves and others, put things in place to make sure their citizens live comfortably at least to the barest minimum.

Thing about inventions is that they usually make the inventor well off financially but beyond that they make life easier for people. Nigerians love money. In fact, we are probably the greediest people alive which explains most of the evil that abound in this nation (419, ritual killing, embezzlement, corruption, name it), so if money were the greatest motivation behind inventions then Nigerians should be way up on Fortunes’ totem pole. However beyond money, the greatest inspiration behind creativity is love. God loved man so much, that He created an Eden filled with gold and every beautiful thing imagined so that life would not be tedious for Adam. Love fired up God’s creativity. How many inventions to help humanity have come out of Naija?

For most people, Valentine is all about the sex. Deceptive sex by the way, in the sense that these people profess all the love in the world with only one reason behind it (it is common knowledge to dudes that the fastest way to get into a lady’s underwear in this country is by professing love and declaring marriage). They bequeath gifts of flowers only to reap and steal sacred flowers they know they are not entitled to. I am sure this makes the Saint nauseously sick in his grave. For others It is all about the getting, the grabbing. A dude is made to feel like the bees knees so that he can part with some goodies but it is usually a sham. After the acquisition of the latest toy from him, his heart is put on an anvil and smashed with a sledge hammer. The Black widow then walks away whistling, preparing her trap for the next love sucker, 2014’s the poor schmuck. Kudos sis, you sure are a master of this game.

As funny as it might sound, in this climate the muses of St. Valentine do not even thrive. Can you imagine you getting home after your car has been impounded for no just cause to find PHCN at their darkest best and no fuel to run your generator because somebody somewhere is hoarding it for greater profit and you suddenly becoming the most romantic Romeo on earth? Even if Cupid’s projectile were a nuclear weapon, it would most likely not make a dent on your heart. It would take some doing folks to become Dude Love.

So, please save me all the hullabaloo of the 14th of February and let us start the real celebration of love today by putting other people first. Let us start loving by treating others the way we want them to treat us. Let us begin to love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us all strive to put the phantom of St. Valentine out of his misery and make him real everyday and not just on one phoney day. This is why it was eternally written not just for today but for ever…..

Let brotherly love continue…..

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