The story of my life in 2012 repeated yesterday after I tried to peer through the video of Dr. Chike Akuyili’s murder. The only difference is that I wasn’t murdered by a gun, but rather with negligence and unrepentant people who did their worse by using their phones to take shots and videos of someone who is gasping for life.
It was in the afternoon after I had finished having my haircut. I drove through the road, a route mostly busy with commuters, marketers and other vehicles that are making their way to different destinations. Luck ran out me that I met a very terrible bus driver, who was carrying passengers in Imo Transport Company, from Orlu to Onitsha. I was maintaining my track when the untold happened. The bus driver, who was skidding quite fast, lost control of his steering, suddenly, he was able to recover the wheel, but by then, big damage has been caused. A cyclist, who was carrying a man who was in his late forties, received the first pickle, unfortunately for the passenger, he swiped from the tricycle and had his head smashed on the tarred road. He became unconscious with his head broken so badly.
Within a twinkle of an eye, I took the next knock, from the back, the same bus driver, I was pressured by the hit that the wave placed me and the little tricycle I was riding apart. I did see that my spirit had left my body and I was spread at the centre of the road, where vehicles and trucks are steeping with force. A Catholic priest, who was driving a fine red jeep could have levelled me with his tyres, because he was driving again with speed, only to recognize very quickly that something wrong had occurred. I was saved by the careful driving of the priest.
When I managed to pull out from the centre of the road, where the bus driver shoved me, I was deeply in pain. My hands were mauled and my trouser thorn into pieces. The blood that cemented the road was much and I was scrambling between the injuries and the tattered cloth. My tricycle fell inside the gutter with the headlights, broken in bits. There were other parts of the tricycle that were terribly damaged, that it became very impossible to kick-start it.
Among the many things that happened, none of the passersby came to help me. Those who saw when the accident happened were only screaming and I could hear their screams deeply inside my head when I was striving to stand. Others were very comfortable using their cameras to snap, some were videoing. The few others were raising their shoulders in panic without thinking of how to assist me. Everything happened at the speed of light. The crowd that pulled around the scene only came to snap pictures and update the populace across the state on what had happened in their area.
When I saw that the crowd were not helpful to me, I crawled into the gutter with the unbearable pain, struggled with my tricycle and dashed out to pick up a few parts of the tricycle that had broken. By the road, towards the other end, a mechanic was there, I signalled him to help me push the tricycle to his shop. I didn’t come out with my phone and I hadn’t in mind who to call. When I got to the mechanic shop, he checked the tricycle and seeing that I was the victim of the accident that had happened, he ceased other things he was doing and fixed my tricycle in a way I can manage it home.
While I was trying to push out the tricycle after the mechanic had given it a quick check, I heard trembling cries from the other two-storey building opposite where we had the accident. I sought to understand the reason. A heavily pregnant woman, who was coming out from the building, said that the man died. He lost a lot of blood before treatment was able to commence. I came to know that the building was a hospital and the man was the first victim of the accident whose head got whacked on the tarred floor.
Humanity probably lost its bearing after the invention of phone camera, especially social media. The redundancy people exhibit in the face of accidents is appalling. People at times chose to document painful events with their phones instead of assisting the victims to get recovery. The sweetest part of humanity, where people are touched by the mere seeing of blood has been overtaken by senseless exercise. What they struggle to do is to fight who gets the news first published on the net and which media platform is the first to carry the news.
It is troubling to accept that even though we live, we are no longer humans. The part of us that is benign, concerned and ready to help, has been distorted with unhealthy competition. Nurses watch victims of accidents die in their face and they are not troubled if it is their father or brother who is in that condition. Humanity sees those who are trapped, instead of seeking for alternative, they resort to using cameras and phones to alert people overseas of what is happening in Nigeria. Where have we kept our ‘Onyeaghala Nwanne ya’ mantra? Has it been overpowered by gullibility? If we keep making this a tradition, a time will come, when brotherhood will be feared death.