The Restless Engineer

 

“You’re welcome, sir. You can sit right here beside me. The seat is vacant.”

“Thank you, young man. O she oo, Oloun a n’ife iwo na oo. You know, it’s so funny, I tried hard to get here on time but the traffic on the road is so crazy. Yet, I didn’t want to miss this event.”

“You’re right, sir. Only God knows what caused the gridlock. It’s terrible.”

“Ah, that’s Nigeria for you. We don’t get to know anything. Things happen every day without any explanation. It’s annoying.”

“Hmmn, God will help us, sir.”

“Young man, the God I know helps only those who help themselves. I think this idea of bringing God into everything is one of our greatest problems. I am 76 now and I can tell you categorically that, at my age, nobody can bamboozle me again with the idea of God will do this or God will do that. I’ve had enough of it.”

“But, sir, we’re a prayerful people. We believe strongly in God, that’s why we leave everything to Him; particularly those things that are beyond our control.”

“Haha, there you go. There is nothing beyond our control. Okay, are you telling me that our political leaders who keep mentioning God, God, and asking for prayers every now and then don’t know what to do? Is the economy beyond their control? Are you saying that the political issues are beyond their control? Look, you’re a young man, don’t let anyone deceive you. It’s all deception.”

“I cherish your wisdom, sir. But I’m just trying to say that we cannot afford to exclude God from anything that we embark upon as individuals or a society.”

“Okay, but I’m also telling you that I’m a strong believer in Christ and I have very high respect for the Muslims. As a matter of fact, my wife is a Muslim. Her father was a respected Imam. My own father was also an Evangelist in his days. So, it’s not a faith or religion matter. We must draw a thick line between faith and ineptitude. We must distinguish between what God should do for us and what we must do as humans. It seems to me that in our country of today, everything is left to God. It’s a big shame, my son.”

“I understand your point, sir.”

“Oh, pardon my bad manners, I am Engineer Adewumi. From your name tag, I think you’re from Ogun state.”

“No sir. I’m from…”

“No, no, no, no, don’t tell me. I will guess again. You must be from Osun state.”

“Correct sir!”

Hahaaaa, I’m right. Anyway, I’m from Ekiti state, and I have a lot of friends from your state. I also had my primary and secondary school education in Osogbo. Believe me, I used to walk five kilometers to school and five kilometers back home every day. Can any of our children do that these days?”

“Wow!”

“Everything stinks nowadays, my friend.”

“Sir, I think that’s where guidance from elders like you become necessary. You need to guide us. We need your experience to make the country great.”

“Never! Nobody listens to people like us again. I needn’t tell you how many times I’ve written privately to successive governments at both the Federal and State levels over the last 15 years. They don’t care. Wait, let me show you something… look at what I have jotted down in my notepad here. These are the suggestions I intend to offer at this conference. But guess what, I should count myself lucky if the microphone ever gets passed to me during the question and answer session. You just watch.”

“Quite sad.”

“More than sad, my son.”

“Ah great, I think the event is about to start, sir. It’s time for the opening prayer.”

“There we go again. You see, I told you – we will never change. Why have an opening prayer at an event of this nature? Is this a church service? We deceive ourselves too much.”

“We just have to fall in line, sir. Everyone is standing already.”

“I’m not going to stand up for any useless prayer. You can go ahead and join them. Of what use are prayers that none of you believe in? You pray but refuse to act. Even at this conference today, we will end up deceiving ourselves. It’s just crazy.”

“Awwwwwr!!!”

“Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

“Nothing sir.”

“Okay o. Iwo lo mo. Maa sha so temi, I will say my own.”

“Ameeeeen!”

“Hmmn, you’re all deceiving yourselves. Do you even understand the prayer that you just said ‘amen’ to?”

“Yes, I do, sir.”

“Really?”

“Yes, sir. The woman asked God to please take total control of today’s affairs.”

“And what did I just tell you? We deceive ourselves too much.”

“How, sir? That was a good prayer point!”

Good prayer point koo, gudu prayer pointi niii. Young man, God has already taken control. It’s you and I that must take control of every other thing right here today; outside of here when we finish; and at every other point in the future.”

“Excuse me for a moment, sir.”

“Oh, are you leaving now? Where are you going? The programme is just starting.”

“No, I’m not leaving, sir. I just want to move over there to join my friend.”

“Who? Oh, that young man in a white shirt?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Why? Am I disturbing you here? Am I talking too much?”

“Not really, sir.”

“Well, iwo lo mo. Mo mo pe gbogbo yin o ki n fe gbo ooto oro. I know you people don’t like hearing the truth. You’re all the same; citizens and leaders alike. Oya, pass through; don’t step on my conference bag oo.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“See you later.”

“Yes, sir.”