A B C AND 1 2 3

By Rev. Fr Gerald Nwafor

At the earliest stage of our education, we learn with A B C, and 1 2 3. It is not strange that people still think that the learning process is not applicable today in adult life. Not so long ago I watched with horror when the conductor fell off the bus along Awka Road in Onitsha and we gathered to help him to his feet with people trying to bandage his wounds. Meanwhile, the door of the bus broke off with the conductor while he was in the free fall.  I am not laughing as am putting this narrative down, but I can assure you many onlookers were rolling on the floor laughing at their hearts and with tears coming out of their eyes. I was not surprised because that could have been my position if not for the wisdom of my mother who would always say “Ada amulu ife ojo amu.” The literal translation would be “you should not laugh at a mishap or bad omen.” So, the driver of the bus stopped the bus probably two poles from the scene of the accident and shouted to the wounded conductor, “I told you to come yesterday to learn from my former conductor who was stopping work today and your reply was ‘I don’t need a teacher to be a conductor.’”

I could see the conductor was pained because of the damage to the door and the shattered glass. The driver was not interested in the injuries sustained to the body of the conductor, but in how to repair the door so he can go back to work and make returns to the oga at the top. A woman standing by said something that informed the topic of this article. She said, “Ima conductor abrokwanu 1 2 3 nke onabu A B C D.” (Being a conductor is not as easy as 1 2 3.) Although I agreed with her, I was not sure if that was the right moment.

The road safety group arrive at the scene and told the conductor to produce his license for conducting in a bus. All of us bystanders were taken aback. Is there anything such as a conductor license in the system? Nobody standing there could claim to have heard about this new license. What next? They were telling the driver to pay ₦2,000 to avoid being towed and sent to the headquarters in Awka. I can’t believe the driver paid. I asked him what the license was, and he said he didn’t know anything about the conductor’s license. To date I am still questioning if anyone knew anything about a conductor’s license.

A careless switch to the government of the Federal Republic. How do the presidents qualify to be in charge of Nigeria? How do the governors qualify to be in charge of the states? I am asking so that they will not fall off the bus while conducting the affairs of the nation, or the state in any case. The affairs of the nation may look so easy but when you mount the bus you will discover that it is not 1 2 3 or A B C D as the woman affirmed. And by the way, we need to see also the license of leadership from the would-be conductors of our country and states. INEC should be up and doing this, and the general public who would validate these licenses on the voting day should open their eyes properly. Since 1960 till date, many conductors have been falling off the bus but the problem here is that we recycle them when they promise that they will do better next time. How market? That is the question on all our lips about all the recycled conductors that came back to prove they have learned their lesson. I think the second fall was more devastating compared to the first fall.

Finally, that early teaching and learning pedagogy is very important in all works of life and sundry. The citizens should learn how to be citizens and the government should learn how to rule the citizens. Now we are getting ready to elect a new president. I am watching the conductors in the arena to see who has taken his time to learn the 1 2 3s of leadership and the A B C Ds of government. Some said that the most qualified person has no money, and the most unqualified persons have a lot of money to throw about. By the way, whose money? “Akpa ezu ndi dibia, ofeke nyalu abuo.” The real doctors have not received enough medical bags and the fool has two medical bags. What will the fool do with a medical bag? Some people contesting for the presidency in Nigeria have no business in that political arena of the country. I should not mention names, but you can Google APC and PDP presidential aspirants and you will judge for yourself who should receive a red card and marching orders before the election day. I bet you, your guess is as good as mine.

Next time we should verify the reason why some men are not as strong as they claim to be and the real reason why some government officials like to talk too much with little or no action. The governors of eastern Nigeria are not excluded because we are involved in the system that has failed its citizens. Name any of the five governors who are doing well. I don’t know of any, you can tell me if you know. I will be glad to hear, I am all ears. So, we can learn the 1 2 3s or A B C Ds of governance from the person.