ONE MOMENT OF MADNESS
Two Sundays ago, I wept like a baby.
The 2nd of March started like every other beautiful day. And, as if to thank God for making one see another month, I decided to go to church, after several weeks of absence. My pastor, Sam Adeyemi talked about God’s original plan for marriage; and the choir gave a wondrous performance. Hey what a brilliant Sunday, I said to myself! Had lunch with fashion designer Teslo, then hit the road for the usual Sunday evening ritual: hanging out with friends, gisting about everything from politics to music, sports and obamamania – and, downig a few bottles… see, we journalists lke to comb the town. Especially those of us who are on the showbiz beat. We dedicate our entire weekends to hopping from Legato to Club Papas, swe Bar, and down to La Cachete, The Coliseum, Planet One, Motherlan, and wherever else there’s some form of activity. And, forget the belief that lagos is not safe; that theroads are bad; that robbers pose as policemen at night; that if you love your life, it’s better to avoid nightife completely in this town. Come on! Lagos. Our own town? If wee don’t rock this town, who will?
Well, I changed my mind last Sunday. What started as a beautiful Sunday, ended up one of the most tragic days I’ve ever experienced. Call it a black Sunday and it’ll sound mild. Call it a bloody Sunday and you wouldn’t have aptly captured what happened on march 2nd. I was having a light discussion with a few close friends at their home in MAgodo when the call came in: Robbers have just shot Kingsley James’ wife. Without waiting to say goodbye, I jumped into my car and beat every traffic rule ‘beatable’ until I got to Omole, where I joined Ayo Animashaun as we formed a mini convoy and headed to the Lagos State University teaching hospital, Ikeja. To cut a long, sad story short, bloodthirsty men, totally insane and on the loose, had shot into Kingsley James’ car, right in front of Big treat, around Omole, Ikeja, almost wiping out his family. According to Kingsley, (who by the way, was just on the verge of opening a new entertainment property called VISA, in opebi Lagos), ‘the robbers had wiped out the family in front of us. When they got to me, I could see them, but they could not see the occupants of the car. My son was seated in the front with me, while my wife carried out new baby in the back. My sun rolled down the front glass. The robber looked at us, and shot t my front tire. Thinking that was all, I tried to speed of and at least leave that area. Then he shot into my back seat’. One moment of madness, by some unscrupulous, trigger-happy bandits, was all it took to sniff out the life out of the gentlemans wife. One moment of madness. That’s all it took to send baby Onome, Kingsley’s 5 month-old baby into a coma since Sunday. Yes. A bullet hit the poor, innocent baby in the head. Close your eyes and take the picture. Imagine a bullet in a poor, little, innocent baby’s head. That’s what Lagos, our Lagos has turned into. That’s the agony the entire showbiz and corporate community has been nurturing since last Sunday. Guess what time all this happened? Oh, you guessed wrong. It’s not 10pm. It’s not a few minutes past mid-nite. 6pm. That’s when! In broad daylight, adjacent to a place where for years, men of the Nigeria police regularly mounted a road block, to extort money from Danfo and okada riders, and harass car owners for tokens.
For your information, Kingsley James works at Digiprints, a printing/signage company where he has used his position to help/support almost every artiste/comedian/promoter in Nigeria today. And that’s not the only reason the entertainment community in Nigeria is mourning. KJV, as he;s fondly called by all, is on the central committee for hip hop world awards. Needless to say that the organisers have postponed a pre-awards party earlier scheduled for last Saturday.
Preparations for the main awards, billed for net sturday are now going on on a rather sombre level. And what’s more, we were all planning big for the opening of VISA on March 3oth. Now, instead of opening up the joint, and redefining indoor entertainment in Lagos, the poor lad’s wife was given a visa to paradise. We’re all still mourning. Mourning Mrs Adeyinka James (1976- 2008), the latest victim of this chaos we call state. Mouning several others who lost their lives on that red Sunday. Mourning dozens of others who lose their lives ona regular basis, no thanks to the increasing insecurity in Lagos; no thank to the pot holes (for pot holes, read death traps) on major roads; no thanks to helpless policemen who flee at the faintest sign that a robbery is about to happen.
We’re mourning for Lagos. We’re mourning for the dead. And we’re mourning for ourselves. For no one knows who’ll be next. It’s sad enough that government is not taking necessary steps to support the arts industries. It’s sad enough that no one is interested in giving us first class events venues like the Royal Albert hall, Wembley Arena or the O2. it’s even sad enough that the road networks are bad, and we have to stay in traffic all day. It’s sad. And right now, I’m not about asking the government to begin to try to give us power, good roads, or some sort of funding for the arts. No! Let those guys up there simply do something about our safety. How do you say that in English? How can we still sing that song’ there’s no place like home’, when we drive around town all day speaking intongues and saying the lord’s prayer? How can entertainment thrive; bars make money; how can we build tourism when these days, everyone’s rushing home before 6pm? I think it’s high time the government takes action. In this same town, In just a few months, they’ve robbed weird MC. They’ve shot 2face Idibia. They’ve robbed dozens of other celebrities and journalists and regular workers. And, believe me, for every celebrity whose robbery is reported, there’ll be at least nine other helpless residents crying in their quiet little corner.
Now, when the robberies begin to happen at 6pm. When the bullets begin to hit toddlers. When some bunch of hopeless bandits begin to sacrifice our lives just for the fun of it, then we’d better stop deceiving ourselves that ‘nothing dey happen’; cos, actually, ‘something dey happen’. And it’s high time we did something about it. Why? ‘cos no one knows who’s next…