Our existence is not without an essence. It has been so from time immemorial. Humans still exist with purpose, the only difference between then and now is that humans mostly exist to defeat that purpose. That purpose varies- just like the plethora of explanation science has for everything- that in its own is what I see as the major fault of science-that there must be an explanation for everything. There are no explanation for many things. May God forbid the day I will study beyond pondering on the wonders behind the songs of the birds, the power that leaves stars twinkling at night and the mystery surrounding the inevitable end of every man. That mystery I do not seek to unravel, but it suffice to say death is the chief measure that curbs human excesses.
One day, somewhere in a part of the world, a 70 years old man is on the run. He is wanted, not for his grey hair or his frail structure- he is the headmaster of a primary school. He is the headmaster who lured a 5 years old girl into his office and had carnal knowledge of her. ‘It was the devil’, his son shamefully remarked when questioned about the act of his type of father. The poor girl still bleeds-she does physically and psychologically. That moment someone old enough to be her great grandfather welcomed her to the brutal reality of this world would linger. For how long would she drag the memory about?
In Yet another day, in another part of the world, a group of extremists gathered. Motive sparked by reason unknown to any. Yet, they sing that they stand to fight for God. Their cruelty speaks volume in their modus operandi- massacre in target places- churches, mosques, parks, markets. I saw it- I saw the picture of the boy they left without limbs. He sat right on the floor and drew limbs for himself with a piece of chalk. He would rise to walk, but again, the fantasy would be wiped by reality- a fellow human has made him a perpetual ‘crawler’. For how long would he be haunted by the picture of that moment between having limbs and having none?
In the same world, though in another region, a man of God stands before a crowd speaking the word. His words are touching- the content brings teary reliefs to the earnest listeners. He condemned adultery and fornication. He lamented that corruption has left the nation crippling. Doing the work of God could be sudorific, he dipped his hand in the breast pocket of his expensive suit to pull out the sweat absorbing handkerchief. The congregation saw it and sighed at the challenges of being a man of God, but just below the pocket is the receipt- the receipt for payment at the hotel he patronises to have bout of bed matches with the chosen ladies in the church. No one saw the receipt, no one did. Is it really true that a blind driver can convey passengers to the proper destination? I do not want to touch the anointed.
That same day, in the same world though in another part, a respected affluent man was seen addressing the chief Imam and the senior Pastor in the area. He is passionate about promoting God’s work. For the mosque, he donated 150 bags of cement for expansion purpose. He did not stop at that, he gave out one of his big lands for the construction and then ordered for his cheque book. Without much ado, he wrote a check to the worth of fifty million naira. ‘Allahu akbar’, the devout Muslim onlookers chanted at the benevolence of this God sent man. He must strike a balance- he turned to the pastor. There was no need for a construction of a new church complex- one was just completed and he donated a sum of thirty million at the launch. Yet, he would do something. He just announced that he would sponsor 30 people to Jerusalem. He also handed the senior Pastor a cheque of twenty million naira. ‘For you have sowed a seed, the Lord shall pay you in folds!’ The pastor prayed as he placed the cheque slip in his Bible. Just last year, Bose got missing- Bose was the first daughter of the only gardener in the environment. ‘We leave all to God’, Bose’s crippled mother had said after months of unproductive tears. No one knew that Bose went to the world beyond as the Chief’s sacrificial lamb. Chief is a ritualist and as long as Bose’s blood flows, his cash shall flow. Nobody knows that- the man that deserves all the curse still goes home burdened by blessings.
Again, in this same world, though somewhere different. On the television screen, a renowned personality was invited for an interview. He spoke extensively on how determination took him from grass to grace. Parents gathered their children before their respective television screen and compelled them to listen. ‘You must be like him!’ Mama Ebuka retorted after her stubborn son felt he did not need the interview. The next door neighbour was already praying that heavens make their children like the personality the world just saw on the screen. They did not know- that the personality controls boys who collect at gunpoints. They did not know- that innocent lives have been taken by the ‘great’ personality’s boys for not trying to cooperate.
And today, it was in the news that their allowances would sum up into billions- wardrobe allowance, travelling allowance, newspaper allowance, sitting allowance etc etc. They would take it because they have lost touches with reality and the purpose of their existence. They forget so soon, the grey hair that queued under the sun because of their promise of a better life. They turn their heads so fast- to the orphans who count on them to be able to compete in this world of shift. What if men don’t die? How long would these people eat the poor? How many years would it take the common men before their lives can be a priority to someone? We must all die! We just must.
We have had men who got wealth without work, let them go to pave way for men who would garner wealth with pride. We have seen people who derive pleasure without conscience, death should do a routine check to pave way for those who can have pleasure without losing conscience. Our world is tired of science without humanity. It is fast dying because of knowledge without character. Politics without principle is eroding the polity fast. Commerce without morality is truncating potentials beyond imagination. Worship without sacrifice abounds beyond count.
Men have beautified the world, but not their own lives or that of others- they build great structures on land and sea, but no positive structures in the minds of others. If men just don’t die, how long would this last? Men have have chased the life and are still chasing it- the life they chase is not tired, but men are so spent and weak. Even in places of worship, men now chase life- a moment with God is threatened!
If the 70 years old headmaster won’t die, what would be the fate of our children in the hands of such? If the victim won’t die one day, how would nursing the pain for eternity be? If extremists would live for life, what would happen to sane lives? If the boy without limbs won’t age and die, how many sighs would he afford to tell his stories for life? If men don’t die, how long would the blood stain afforded the altar by the ‘man of God’ last? If men don’t die, how many Boses would it take the rich man to sustain his eternal wealth? If men don’t die how many parents would curse their children all in the name of praying for them to be a hidden robber.
Men have identities- the characters or personalities that distinguish them from others. Men are good at moulding that to suit their ego- to project that they are the best thing that would ever happen to the world. We all have ‘hidentities’ too- our hidden identity- that which no one knows about us. That which if known would be our true person. Our ‘hidentities’ should be exposed too, and death is the surest executor of that- it leaves the secret door opened, the unsaid things said, the unknown people known and the hidden messages revealed. When that happens, how many men would remain men? Men should not be killed, but we must keep dying. But here, I am just left wondering- what if men don’t die?
David Oluwasegun Ogundipe is a Nigerian.