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By Morak Babajide-Alabi
Today we celebrate mothers all over the world. It is a day that is set aside to appreciate the wonderful creations of God. Today, we call out mothers for recognition for their contributions to birthing and ensuring a functional society. Taking on this role is not easy for some who go through thick and thin in their bids to make sure we come out the best.
Sometimes we underrate their roles. In some societies, they are active only in the “other room” cooking, bearing and “rearing” children. But in societies where gender supremacy is a no-no, mothers have every opportunity available to fathers. They are part of governance and not just homemakers.
In appreciation of the relevance of mothers in society, I wrote an article in 2016 titled “Mother’s Day: Profits and Reality of Motherhood”. I said: “The role of mothers in the larger society cannot be under emphasised, especially this crucial times when most governments are too “broken” to care what happens to the traditional family institution. As governments are daily shedding their roles of providing for their citizens, mothers’ duties are not becoming anything easy.
“In recent times, Mothers have taken on extras roles in society. They have to bend backwards every day to make sure that despite the failures of governments, there are no excuses to let their children add to the ever-growing population of demented individuals on the streets. And the streets are full of broken individuals who lack the love and warmth of mothers. They are not difficult to identify.”
Happy Mother’s Day, 2019.
The rate at which news events unfold all over the world if we are not careful they can rule our private lives. In the past year, a lot has happened that it is difficult to keep up with all. Some landmark events that we thought would dominate the news scene for a while have paled into insignificance by the scale of others.
Take for instance the Americans. They are now noticeably divided after the 2016 general elections. This past year, politicians from the major parties were busy throwing stones at each other while ordinary citizens guzzle the crap provided them. The government shutdowns and breakdowns define the year, while citizens label themselves. Some say they are far right or whatever names they fancy that allow them to preach hatred.
In Zimbabwe, the citizens trooped out onto the streets begging the government not to kill them with poverty. They protested the fuel increase that further impoverished them. In Venezuela, a sitting President is fighting tooth and nail to keep his job. The opposition leaders, with the backing of foreign powers, have made sleep elusive for him. In France, the Yellow Vests protesters are now a regular feature in the capital city of Paris. They are not slowing down.
These are some of the many events that made the last twelve months seem like yesterday. And come to think of the major disaster of the century – the British BREXIT. The political groups have been shuffling their feet and mimicking forward movement. They have been pretending to work towards the exit of the country from the European Union.
The divide among them in the past year is so wide that it is impossible to find a middle ground. The politicians are confused and do not know what they want. Prime Minister Theresa May has not been any help too. She has been dousing the fire with petrol as she threatens the worst on her country should her deal not be passed.
May’s deal has been condemned, rejected and thrown in her face, by the parliamentarians. Yet, she is still adamant that nothing better could be achieved than what she has. Her stubbornness and the confusion of the political class have put the country at the brink of crashing out of EU without any deal.
The citizens look on amazed as the country is now a laughing-stock. They queried themselves many times how they ended up electing these set of leaders. They are angry. They are on the streets demanding their desires should be respected. But the problem is that they are as divided as the political groups they are protesting against.
For the third time, the parliament voted down the withdrawal agreement. On Friday, a date Britain would have exited the EU, the deal was finally sent to the dustbin of history by 344 votes to 286. May’s deal is dead and only a miracle can revive it. This was despite offering to fall on her own sword and quit like her predecessor, David Cameron. What a year?
The BREXIT circus continues. We don’t know the next destination. BREXIT has finally moved from the bizarre to the ridiculous. Who will save the country from itself? Time will tell.
In all these, I also find it unbelievable that a year has gone after I got that unbearable phone call from a staff of Hartfield Hospital, London. It was a painful call and till date, I hear the entire conversation with the doctor in my head day in and day out.
After the usual identification the caller, a doctor, said: “Mr Babajide, you have to come down to Hartfield Hospital immediately.” I thought it was a joke. Come down to London? I am hundreds of miles away. “I am presently in Leeds”, I remembered saying to the phone. The thoughts ran riots in my head. This must be a wrong number.
It was not a wrong number. The caller, probably thinking of the many thoughts in my mind, spoke so fast I almost did not make any meaning out of it. “You have to come, your brother is in the Intensive Care Unit”. Now I jumped off my seat. I had only one brother and he was on a flight to Abuja from London on this date. “But my brother should be in Abuja by now”. I sat back down on the chair as my whole body shook.
“I am sorry, your brother had a Cardiac Arrest as he was about to board his flight at the Heathrow Airport. He is in the ICU now. I am sorry!” “What?” I shouted. “No, it can’t be”. My hands had gone clammy and shaky. My heart was beating so fast that my chest hurt. I could still hear the doctor repeating “I am sorry, I am sorry.”
“Mr Babajide, you have to come down as soon as you can,” he said his bye and hung up. That started the journey of hundreds of miles through the night to London. And it turned out to be bad news.
One year on and it seemed like yesterday. It is still hard to get over the loss. The loss of a loved one is always hard to accept. But the fact is, death is the debt that we owe and will pay one day. For some, they are transformed far too early and the sadness that accompanies such is so thick.
For Opeyemi Bamidele Alabi, the journey ended rather too fast. It was unexpected, painful and has left a void in the hearts of those who knew him. But the scripture was quick to remind us in Isaiah 57:1-2 – “the righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.”
This is the consolation for Opeyemi. May your soul continue to rest in peace.
As published in the Diaspora Matters Column, Sunday Vanguard, March 31, 2019.