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Adewura: The Guilt We All Share

Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe writes that the outrage Nigerians have expressed over the death of 26-year-old Adewura Bello should be channeled to actions that can prevent such needless deaths in the country.

Adewura Bello, 26, met her untimely death last week after falling into a manhole in Lagos / Photo credit: Pulse.ng

Outrage is good. So, it’s also good when we’re all outraged over the needless loss of lives that has become the Nigerian narrative.

The outrage that has followed Adewura Bello’s senseless death is one everyone can understand. The 26-year-old chartered needn’t have died.

In a country where human life still retains any semblance of value, people would be facing panels over her untimely and horrible death.

I still get shivers thinking of what her last moments would have been like. I have tried to imagine it, but it’s simply unimaginable. Hers was a death you would never wish for another human being.

And so I have continued to hope that she passed on immediately, without the horrors that could be associated with the circumstances surrounding her death.

But what is outrage if it doesn’t compel us to demand and work for change? What is the value of outrage if after venting and ranting we all go back to the road we’ve always travelled, leaving the dead to bury their dead?

The Cable, an online Nigerian newspaper, launched a campaign in her memory last Monday with people demanding that the authorities close all manholes and fix every pothole.

But what is outrage if it doesn’t compel us to demand and work for change? What is the value of outrage if after venting and ranting we all go back to the road we’ve always travelled, leaving the dead to bury their dead?

However, how long will it all last before we go back to our daily routine of trolling whizkid and Tiwa Savage on social media or keeping tabs on the number of Davido’s baby mamas?

Nigeria isn’t the only country where manhole covers are stolen. From Chicago in United States to London in England, there have always been stories of thieves making away with manhole covers.

Newham, in East London lost as many as 93 covers in a week.

The stories abound.

In India the Calcutta’s Daily Telegraph once estimated that at least 20,000 of the city’s manhole covers are stolen every year.

The Beijing Times also claimed that Beijing lost 24,000 covers, valued at over $5m, to theft in 2004 alone. The China Daily also reported that on average, 12 are pilfered every day in Shanghai. It’s a world epidemic.

However, the difference is that those countries didn’t fold their hands in helpless surrender and lament about thieves.

Some have gone ahead to make and enforce stricter laws prohibiting scrap dealers from trading in manhole covers and other obviously stolen scrap.

Others have installed locking devices on its manhole covers not minding the costs, because human lives matter.

China is also producing covers made of non-metal polymer materials such as glass fiber, resin, quartz or corundum. Since these materials have no recycling value, thieves would have no choice but leave them alone.

These are all options for a country that cares for its citizens.

China is also producing covers made of non-metal polymer materials such as glass fiber, resin, quartz or corundum. Since these materials have no recycling value, thieves would have no choice but leave them alone

But no, Nigeria is always a different story. Both our elected and appointed public officers have never pretended to care and so, we keep sacrificing our future on the altar of their inept and egotistic leadership.

For as long as many of us can remember, flooding during rainy season and Lagos State have always walked together. Yet, government after government has only paid lip service to finding effective and enduring solutions to the problem.

The result? A 26-year-old with such a potentially wonderful future has been swept away right before our eyes. Yes, Nigeria happened to Adewura Bello.

Unfortunately, the citizens aren’t any better. Perhaps Nigeria will take the trophy for the most docile citizens globally.

More often than not we ignore so many wrongs around us, even when they’re staring at us right at the face. In our streets, cities and states, we side-step the ills around us.

As long as we deem ourselves and our family members safe, we don’t really care, even when we could have acted to prevent needless tragedies like Adewura’s death.

I wonder how many of us could have passed this same manhole that claimed her life without giving it a second glance or thought.

We all have failed so woefully to hold the government accountable. We hardly ever shake any tables and it’s not because we are powerless.

For as long as many of us can remember, flooding during rainy season and Lagos State have always walked together. Yet, government after government has only paid lip service to finding effective and enduring solutions to the problem

Often, it’s simply because someone we know is sitting at the table or hanging onto one of its legs. And so, we look the other way and hope the tragedy is always far away from home when the inevitable comes visiting.

But tragedies do not know about the politics of self-survival that has become so Nigerian.

That’s why when we refuse to shake any table and it comes crashing down someday, no one ever knows who will go away with a broken spine or bloody head.

Our outrage must be made to count. We must begin to act like we truly care about Nigeria and Nigerians.

We must devise effective ways to ensure our public officers earn every kobo they receive to serve us in any capacity.

In 2015 an anonymous artist in Manchester in the UK, drew big penises around potholes in the city.

With that action, he not only alerted motorists about the dangers lurking ahead, he also embarrassed the city officials into taking action sooner than they would have.

Last year in Rome, after a mother, Graziella Viviano, lost her 26-year-old daughter in a motorcycle accident that could have been avoided if the roads were in better conditions, residents of the city started painting potholes with yellow spray paint.

Sometime ago, in India, an anonymous motorist erected a scarecrow in the middle of a pothole along national highway 17 near the south-western city of Kaup.

Our outrage must be made to count. We must begin to act like we truly care about Nigeria and Nigerians. We must devise effective ways to ensure our public officers earn every kobo they receive to serve us in any capacity

According to the report, previous appeals to the local authorities fill the pothole had got nowhere until then.

Back home in Africa, protesters in Kampala, Uganda declared June 8, 2010, the National Pothole Day.

They didn’t end it there. The demonstrators on that day pretended to be fishmongers, selling fish from the large and deep potholes, filled with water.

Our outrage must go beyond social media ranting.

I know it’s too late for Adewura but we have to do it. We must do it for ourselves. We must do it for our children, and for our children’s children.

We No Expect Anytin From Buhari

We No Expect Anytin From Buhari

Temitope Ojudu AkA Morello

Music Is the Only Thing That Makes Me Serious – Morello