Friday, 30 January 2009

Grown-up Toddlers (1) (The Banger Syndrome)

On December 12 2008, a teenage girl stepped out unto the balcony of her house with a baby in her arms. She had just been instructed to take her little baby brother outside so he could get some fresh air. While attempting to lay the mat on which they would lie, a smoky object suddenly flew into her arms and landed on the baby’s face. Instantaneously, the object exploded, making three deep sounds momentarily. In response to the sudden explosion, the frightened teenager dropped her younger sibling. Before she could recover from the shock, the baby was already dead. Someone had just thrown a banger and the dangerous object had successfully brought catastrophe into a home.

The moral of that story is this, “beware of lunatics; but more so, beware of those ones that do not wear rags especially those whose age is deficient to their character.” Only lunatics try to prove beliefs that have a weak and nonsensical foundation. Physical normalcy is not necessarily a firm criterion for healthiness and the test for maturity does not lie in one’s acquisitive ability but in consistent character. Maturity is not entirely physical; it is no longer a function of height, countenance and weight. Rather, maturity is revealed in character and thought-pattern coupled with consistency. Nowadays, you can hardly judge between an adult and a huge person. With just a good piece of blazers, a matching shirt and a pair of contemporary shoes, anyone can pretend to be intellectual. Maturity has now evolved into an intangible quality that has to be tested before you can ascertain a person’s mental status. Therefore, it will be erroneous to still assess people’s maturity based on their age or financial capability because that approach has proven ineffective time and again. The days of drawing conclusions on people’s personalities based on their finesse and aplomb are varnishing. The human personality is fast becoming unpredictable.

From the story shared previously, one can deduce that just one stick of banger can wreck havoc upon an entire family. It could erase the hope of a labouring mother. Banger is as simple as a product of explosive phosphorus and paper but its effect could be as serious as death. It could be as terrible as initiating a severe fire massacre during the harmattan or autumn season. It could cause automobile accident. And still, banger remains a strong source of noise pollution. Apparently, bangers are not a source of good tidings neither are they indispensable reminders of festive seasons. When the need for exciters arises, fireworks will keep doing the tricks. Although more expensive and sophisticated, fireworks seem to be much safer than bangers and they bring back good memories than some rotten bangers do! They explode in the air and produce a creative effect. But what do bangers have to offer other than a recall of wartime pictures and a passion for violence? A vital truth is that bangers never prevailed in Nigeria until the 21st century. So, festive periods could do without them!

However, one thing is for sure; the continuous existence of these mini-explosives will keep doing more harm and no good. Before bangers ever existed, Christmas was always fun and new year celebrations were never dull. It only depends on how you choose to spend the holidays. So, if an end was put to the use of bangers, festivals will certainly not cease to be enjoyable. We do not need a rude supply of noise pollution, aggression and physical harm to remind us it’s time for season’s greetings. We are human beings with well developed faculties that naturally relevant stimulate actions. So, why should part of our motivation come from the use of bangers? Life is worth more than mere living and living is too wonderful to depend on inanimate objects like banger. All we need is a heart that blends with the season. We should not because of excitement create problems and sorrows for other people.

Yet, a pertinent question to ask is this, “what kind of adults need a noisy sound to arouse excitement within them?” the folly is excusable for young and immature children but what can we say about adults who engage in such acts? Are they really adults or are they lunatics disguised as responsible adults? If you are familiar with the age group of those who use bangers, you would have observed that some older folks are among them. Their age and status range from secondary school seniors to middle-aged grown-ups, usually men. Yet, if we ignored the supposed senior secondary school students because theirs seem excusable, what can we say is wrong with their much older co-users who have some knowledge on how hard earned money should be spent? Is their experience on the flow process of money not adequate to teach them how their earnings should be spent? Or, how does one describe the possessed wisdom of a middle-aged banger user of perhaps, 35years? The scenario is even worse when both father and son are involved in this illegal act. And that unfortunately, is not rare in most major Nigerian cities.

What sorts of legacy will a man who derives pleasure from throwing bangers leave for his children? How does he expect those children to respect any rule he lays down in the family when he, himself, is an active law breaker? Truly, the use banger is a punishable offence as declared by law enforcement agencies but, I think a more effective approach needs to be applied. The number of lunatics breaking this law is always on the increase and violence seems to be gaining more grounds than order. If placing a ban on the importation of these dreadful objects will help the situation, then the federal governments should do something to that effect. Also, it seems the punishment of using bangers is as ineffective as the passive complaints of affected non-users hence a suitable solution would be to cut out the supply of these items.

Baby adults will always remain and the banger syndrome will continually spread if both the government and society refuse to curb the use of bangers in our environment. What good does noise pollution do us? What consolation can erase the memory of the harm bangers can do? We already know what is right so, let’s do it!

Saturday, 24 January 2009


We are human beings
We are not dogs
We are not cats
We are not rabbits
So, we should never live like such
We have senses to think
We have senses to choose right
We have senses to cause a change
we have the means to choose right
So, don't let's mess it up!
We are not daft cos we're black
We are not dull cos we're struggling
We are not where we are cos of what we can't do
We are not here because of our worth
So, let's get to work and make some worthy sense!
We could make things better than they are
we could project true wisdom and deep intelligence
We could be the best that we could ever imagine
So, if its imaginable, let's achieve it with our senses!