The hidden slavery in Rivers State

I had a short day yesterday. Not because time became lesser than
usual, but because my mind embarked on a journey that got me
wishing that time could stand still. But time being time, I was
disappointed because as much as I wanted the day to go by
unending, there are those who wished that the day passed with the
snap of a finger; those who for a reason or another would say that
the day was over long. In our error, we have failed to see that time
is not here to serve our divers individual will, as time wasn’t made
to be our slave but to be a master of itself. We are therefore not
the victims of time as we will want it to look like, rather time is our
poor victim because we impose ourselves on her, raping and
accusing her every moment our far-reaching emotions causes us
to make wishes beyond the powers of time.
My yesterday didn’t start with the dawn of yesterday. My
yesterday actually started when I decided to listen to a recording I
did during the birthday celebration of Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs at
the Cheshire home for the physically challenged opposite the New
township market Portharcourt, on 13th June 2018.
As I listened to the recording, I felt my heart in the palm of Dumo’s
heart as he stood under the widely opened eyes of the sun – that
gave me a glimpse of what hell looks like – with his friends who
were the physically challenged and residents of the home and took
a sober reflection on the untold pains that must have characterised
the experiences of our brothers and sisters which the word “slaves”
was first used to describe. I layed on my bed with the earpiece
plugged deeply into my ears and listened as he narrated with an
obvious heavy heart, what must have been the case when our
people were forcefully carried across the Atlantic Ocean in the
harshest of all conditions and my mind couldn’t help but wonder
back to that hot afternoon and to that particular place and time. I
shot my eyes and watched the scene all over again. I stood behind
the crowd, under the canopy that provided shelter for the Dj and
his equipments and watched Chief DLB dramatise by humming in
consonance to the pains that must have followed the whips,
chains and hunger that accompanied the airtight, cockroach and
rat infested bunker below the deck of the cargo ship that carried
them across the Atlantic Ocean. As he hummed, he finally broke
into tears but not before one of the old women seated next to me
burst into uncontrollable tears, sending a chill through my spines
that left a lump in my throat.
When he was done, he said “these hummings caused by the pains
experienced by our brothers and sisters is most definitely what
inspired Captain John Newton to write the Smashing hit ‘Amazing
Grace’ one of the most sanged songs in history. Their pains made
a better man and a believer out of the Captain who was an
unbeliever” He reminded his audience that they didn’t take slaves
from Africa, but that men and women were taken from Africa and
made slaves. He also pointed out that we are not yet free from
slavery because everywhere we turn, we can still see the
characteristics of slavery rearing it’s ugly head and we can only be
free when our happiness is linked to the happiness of the next man
because we are all one in too many ways than one.
Before now, it was easy to define slavery but today it is very
difficult to define it and truly capture the different forms it has
assumed. I believe that not providing jobs for the unemployed is a
form of slavery. To turn the youths into political thugs no matter
the disguise is a form of slavery. To cut support for education is a
form of slavery. To owe retired workers their pensions and use the
money to play politics that benefits you and your cronies alone is a
form of slavery. To spend the people’s commonwealth without
budget is a form of slavery. To fuel violence that claimed and is
still claiming the lives of many across the state is a form of
slavery. To spend billions that could be used to better the lot of the
people on the charades of flag offs and commissioning is a form
of slavery. To spend a million naira on a project and claim that you
spent five billion is a form of slavery.

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1 Comment

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