Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaTuesday, December 6, 2016




adness means mental disorder. It is generally said that everybody is mad, but it varies according to degree. I remember vividly in my elementary three at Our Lady of Fatima Boys' Primary school Jos in those old good days, when our class teacher gave us the word 'mad' to state the comparative and the superlative forms. Some of us including my humble self wrote: "Mad, mader, madest." Later he gave us the correction as: "Mad, more mad, most mad." To which category do you belong? Madness can be curable or incurable. My people maintain that any madness that reaches the market place can no more be cured. Recently I was in Jos. I met an akpucative (strong) mad man eating from a foul dust-bin in a market place. I pitied him. I then put hand into my pocket and brought out N500 note. I tried to give him the money to buy food. He gazed at me with ferocity and started pursuing me. I took to my heels before he gives me a mental blow, thereby infecting me with the madness.

Have you come across a mad driver behind the wheels? If you have not, thank your God. Personally I have encountered many of them. They can be commercial or private vehicle drivers, tricycle (Keke Napep) or motorcycle (okada) riders. If you are driving on the highway, behave as if you are the only sane driver. If you act otherwise, your life will be in serious jeopardy. Few days ago I was behind the wheels heading to Enugu. At a spot in 9th Mile a fierce mad driver from nowhere overtook me recklessly at a very high velocity. He was naked with unkempt hairs. I am not sure he has taken bath for the past six months. He was not alone in the mini-bus as he was conveying 18 passengers to their various destinations. He nearly hit my car as he was overtaking me. I thank God that my car has an angelic break. I was cogitating how sane passengers allowed an insane driver to convey them.

After driving for another 5 kilometers ahead, I met a traffic jam caused by a road mishap. The Road Safety men were doing their best to clear the road. All vehicles stood still. The mentally deranged naked driver came out from his bus with a bottle of dry gin in his hand. He started dancing at the middle of the road and was sipping from the bottle of the dry gin at intervals. All commuters and passengers came out to watch the scenario. No one cared to apprehend him or question him for being a nuisance. I wanted to confront him but the spirit in me restrained me.

Within some minutes, the efforts of the Road Safety men proved successful as vehicles started to move slowly. The mad drunk driver went back to his bus with all the passengers intact. Madness plus drunkenness equal to destruction. As he was on a high speed along Enugu - Abakaliki road, he lost control and collided face to face with an on-coming trailer loaded with cement. The mad drunk driver and the 18 passengers perished at the spot with their body parts scattered here and there. I hope they will not mix up their body parts on the resurrection day. The trailer driver sustained serious injury. Only a five-month old baby in the bus survived because of its innocence. The 18 adult passengers perished because they risked their lives by allowing a mad drunk driver to convey them. They couldn't even call the mad driver to order. Were they infected with his madness? It is the duty of the passengers to call any mad driver to order. If it comes to the worst, the passengers should disembark from the vehicle. Life has no duplicate. It is only a foolish fly that perishes with the corpse.

The Road Safety rule says: "If you drink, do not drive. If you drive, do not drink." The mad drivers do the opposites. They maintain that you see clearly when you are drunk, such that you can see the ghosts causing accidents and thereby avoid them. To this we say with Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo, "Fa-fa-faa-fowl!" Certain mad drivers pour hot drinks into bottled water container and sip from it from time to time as they drive along. The vehicle occupants would think he is drinking water. Recently, a drunk mad driver by reckless driving hit a promising young man crossing the road at zebra lines. The young innocent man died at the spot. The drunk mad driver tried to escape but was caught by passers-by. He was forced to carry the meat he killed. Unfortunately the victim happened to be his only son who has just graduated in the university. His madness and drunkenness disappeared instantly as he wept hopelessly. A man who throws a stone into a market place, does he know if it will hit his mother or wife? What a pity!

Over-speeding kills. It is better to be late than the late. Some mad drivers drive at an excessive speed. Where are they rushing to? As Christmas is fast approaching, some commercial mad drivers would try to cover as many turns as possible within a day just to make more money. What happens after making such money they do not live to enjoy? When the mad drivers see the sign: "Slow down" they increase the velocity of the vehicle. Some of them even compete on the road at the risk of the vehicle occupants. They blame the devil when any mishap occurs. Yesterday the devil issued a warning to those who blame him for any mishap on the road, even when they drive dangerously. He said that enough is enough. From hence anyone who blames him unnecessary will be brought to hell to face the consequences. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

The mad drivers do not attend driving schools before coming out on the road. They just start the engine and drive off. They cannot even read road signs. Due to ignorance they manipulate the essential vehicle parts by trial and error. Most often they do not have valid driving license. One day, a certain untrained mad driver was speeding along an expressway. He wanted to change the gear but ended up putting it in the reverse gear. He hit the vehicle behind with 12 passengers on board. Instantly, both vehicles went up in flames. No one survived. They were burnt into ashes. When the mad ignorant driver came into hell, he was beaten blue by the Commanding Officer in hell-fire for driving madly on earth. He was sent into the hottest section of hell to be disciplined.

Certain mad drivers do not care about maintaining their vehicles. Yesterday I saw an old, tattered taxi cab still plying the road and conveying passengers to their destinations. It has worn out tyres, no side mirrors and the windscreens are broken but patched with plasters. The smoke coming out from its exhaust pipe can cause a total eclipse of the sun. It has faulty break system. The seats and everything in its interior are in a rotting stage. It has no traffic lights. The mad driver uses hands to show the direction he goes, if he remembers. The head lamps have been plucked off. At night the mad driver holds torchlight with the left hand while he drives only with the right hand. At times only one head lamp is burning. The on-coming vehicle would think that a motorcycle is coming. If you are involved in a fatal accident with such a vehicle, there is no hope of going to heaven. Night travel should be minimized due to the hazards associated with it.

Many motorcycle (okada) riders are mad. Some of them do not learn before driving. They just start the engine and speed off. Please before you board any commercial motorcycle, listen to its engine sound before you climb. The engine of mad riders sounds, "Gbuo-m! Gbuo-m!! Gbuo-m!!!" (Kill me! Kill me!! Kill me!!!). If you take the risk, then you have yourself to blame. On the other hand, the sound of trustworthy okada riders goes this way: "Vu-m! vu-u-m!! vu-u-u-m!!!" which is the short form of "Vuru m" (carry me). Some years ago in Lagos, I boarded a commercial motorcycle from FESTAC gate to the street where I resided, when I was studying German Language in Victoria Island. The okada rider sped off like an aeroplane. I asked him to take it easy and reduce his speed. He ignored my plea. Already I was saying my last prayers and hot urine had accumulated in my bladder. By God's grace he came to a police check-point and he was flagged down. I thanked the Supreme Being for answering my prayer. I disembarked immediately and paid him off; even though my destination was still about one kilometer away. I did the rest of the journey on foot. It is better to lose my money than to lose my precious life. After he settled the policemen, he sped off again like a flight. In a twinkling of an eye, he crashed face to face with an on-coming tipper lorry as he was doing a dangerous overtaking at a sharp bend. He died at the spot with his head cut off. When I saw it, I sang praises to the Almighty God for saving my life that day. If I had died in that year 2001, I would have by now finished my purification in Purgatory.