Obafemi Awolowo University.
So I was reading in Oduduwa Lecture Theatre 2 when I heard this strange terrible sound. It was sounded like a gunshot and then I thought it was an explosion. I wasn’t the only one who heard it. All of us in the lecture theatre turned back. Some folks were on their feet. But it was nothing. It was just some guys shooting at the bats.
Sidenote: What’s it with these guys and the lovely bats? At least once in two weeks, you’d hear this terrible sound that will make you think you are in Syria. And then when you look back, it all nothing but bats? Bats?? For Goodness sake why?
The gunshot shook the ground and the bats fled. Thousands of them flew into the sky and the sun was covered by their number. After watching for a while, we returned to our books. Some folks left. I don’t blame them. This is how people get High Blood Pressure. You are thinking about a dying CGPA and some annoying folks are shooting bats? Who does that??
But what mattered most was that we returned to our books. Immediately, it dropped within me that it was all for bats, not humans.
It is always difficult to understand what a man is feeling if you are not in his shoes or haven’t felt the same thing before. It is not because you don’t want to. It simply because you can’t. Some try and get close to it. I salute them.
It is what happens when there is an announcement probably in church or on the radio or TV that a 12year old boy just lost his life to malaria. As a guy/girl, you’d just change the station and mutter something about the finality of death. As a father, you’d probably shake your head and say a few words of lamentation. As a mother, you’d stop. You’d ask some funny questions. Who died? What killed him? Ha, such a pity! Is that his mother on the TV? Where is the father? Is he dead too?
To all those who aren’t mothers, this is nothing but complete waste of time fretting over nothing. But it is not to the mother. Why? She has experienced childbirth. She knows what it takes to house a babe for nine months and then release it to the world. To her, nothing could be more heartbreaking than watching helplessly as death takes the life out of the babe.
The same can be used to explain how and why we all react to situations differently. Something happened in 2014 that shook the nation. Three years ago, on the night of February 25, Boko Haram terrorists attacked a federal unity school: Federal Government College, Buni Yadi. Boys were butchered in their sleep for doing nothing. The hostels were set ablaze. It was brutal and the height of wickedness.
When the news got to us in FGC Ogbomoso, fear and grief gripped us. The story made sense to us. We could relate to it. These guys were students like us who had probably gone for night prep classes that night and had slept after making plans for the next day . And then they woke up in heaven facing eternity.
It made more sense to us because it was around this time that we heard rumours that the Boko Haram terrorists had reached Lagos. The only thing that we could think of was what would happen if any federal unity school in Lagos was attacked. Sure that meant the South West was no longer safe. It meant all other federal schools in Oyo, Ogbomoso, Ilorin, Ipetumodu, Odogbolu, Akure, Shagamu, Ekiti and every other state close to Lagos would be closed down. It was the thought of this that made us fear. To us, the attack was real.
(It might not be to you and you might go to Google after reading this.)
Eventually, nothing happened in Lagos. We were safe again. While I discussing this Buni Yadi incident with a friend in another school, he asked, ‘What school is that? Where is Buni Yadi? Abuja?’ That day, I realized that we all as humans don’t think the same. To him, it was just another story in the newspapers. It wasn’t real to him. Of course he must have seen it on the TV or newspapers or even heard the news on the Radio. But he paid no attention. I do not blame him.
Back to my first story. When we heard the sound of this gunshot targeted at bats in ODLT, we panicked. Numerous thoughts must have crossed our minds. Boko Haram! Terrorists! Bomb blast in OAU, a school with more than thirty thousand students? Fear gripped us. Eventually when we saw the bats take to the sky, we relaxed. But still, some people packed their books and walked out of the lecture theatre
Here in OAU, you can be shooting into the sky and say you are aiming at bats. You dare not do such in Buni Yadi and say you are hungry for bat meat. That’s the day you know how the four corners of a cell feels like. Imagine if those who live in places where bombs have exploded before should hear such sounds, they would not wait. They would run out without taking their books and seek shelter.
Sometimes, when we experience peace too much, we forget what it means to have war. Sometimes when we experience war too much, we forget what it means to have peace. When you experience uninterrupted happiness for a long time, you forget the definition of sadness, of pain, of depression.
So as to remain human in some certain situations, it is essential that we try to feel how people feel. Read the newspaper with emotions. Watch the TV with your mind wide open. Listen to the Radio with your heart. Cry with those who cry. Laugh with those who laugh. When you hear that someone is dead, try to know how it feels to not see the light of tomorrow. When you hear that someone has gotten a visa, try to imagine what it would be like to get out of this annoying country. Don’t live too much in luxury and forget that there are still those who live in slums. Don’t forget yourself in this life and fail to remember that there is something called death
Cry with this who cry. Laugh with those who laugh. However hard it might seem, try to remain human. Cheers.