Monday, December 21, 2020 6:01 am
By Fred Chukwulobe
Take a look at this picture. A picture tells a thousand stories.This is what my people go through every December in this country just to travel home and be with their kit and kin in the annual ritual called Christmas.
Being itinerant people, we are largely outside our South East geopolitical zone in search of livelihood. From Lagos to Sokoto, Abuja to Port Harcourt, America to South Africa, the Igbo man must go in search of food and comfort. The “One Nigeria” people, hated for that still by many Nigerians of other extraction. Yet, travel from place to place we must – itinerant Igbos.
Christmas is supposed to be a celebration – celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour, whose birthday we, Christians, don’t even know.
Anyway, we have chosen December 25 and it is a period we must suffer to celebrate. Apart from navigating through the deplorable and numerous security check points on the Lagos – Onitsha Road, Abuja to 9th mile and other busy routes, and parting with our money to grease the palms of the ubiquitous security men on mainly roads leading to the South East, we also face unprecedented traffic bottlenecks in our towns, cities and villages.
But the Igbo man being resilient, he must endure it to go home, see his loved ones and attend to numerous and energy sapping ceremonies of marriages, burial, house warming, Thanksgiving and all sorts.
But must it be so? Must we suffer this way? Some die in the process. Many vehicles break down on the famished roads and are left at the mercy of criminal elements who rob mercilessly.
Imagine if our country had been ruled by people with vision like the Al Makhtums of Dubai, travelling would have been a pleasure as trains and good roads would have been available for us by travellers.
Unfortunately, we have been, continue to be, ruled by people who want power for its sake and who have no ideas what to do with power.
Safe trip, my brothers. Please stay safe. Covid-19 is not relenting. There is a new variant that is spreading faster than the one we have known since a year ago. Observe the prescribed COVID-19 protocols still.
See you all in a Covid-free 2021.
-Fred Chukwulobe is a journalist and public affairs analyst