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Published On: Fri, Mar 28th, 2014

FRSC v. GSM god

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By Abdullahi Musa

Religion is based on a deity. With monotheistic religions, the deity is one: Allah with Islam, for instance. In the religion of politics for example, in Nigerian politics for instance, the god might be the President, if the party is PDP. To God we ascribe all powers, particularly that His commands must be obeyed. But we disobey them with impunity! Although he promises Hell to transgressors, we disregard His threats, and behave as suits our hearts. But not so with the god of GSM! When he rings we are in demonic speed to answer. All his calls are important! All are urgent! All must be responded to.

However, FRSC insists that we must disobey him. They say we must park every time he calls, before we answer him! Imagine parking about ten times on a journey of two kilometers! Why did the Nokias, Samsung, et al, make him mobile? Why did they not create a stationary mosque or church for him so that we do not respond to him while driving? Muslims do not prostrate while driving, even though the call for prayer has been made.

I stopped at a junction recently in Kano. As usual FRSC officials were there looking for opportunity to collect revenue; the ‘R’ in their name is not standing for road, but for revenue. A woman also arrived at the junction with her children in the car, but she was responding to GSM god’s call. Having sighted her, a huge, pot-bellied FRSC officer directed his leaner subordinate to enter the car. To do this, he had to share the seat with the lady’s young daughter.

The reader may note that Muslims, particularly the learned and well-to-do, do not like another man to sit in proximity to their wives. I had no chance to explain to the officer this sensitivity, but when I chanced an encounter with another official he sided with his colleagues, saying even at a junction, gsm god should not be obeyed, but rather the phone should be ignored! I repeat, why did you make this god mobile?

Nigerian officials like static laws. Any casual observer of Nigerian business climate knows that it is no longer business as usual. People need to be in constant touch not to lose a business opportunity. An FRSC official can ignore a call, and no repercussion on his salary. But a petty trader, an estate agent and the like will see immediate retribution when they disobey GSM god to please FRSC. I am sure, were it not for the revenue they were collecting, road revenue officials would not “ give a damn”, to quote their Supreme Boss if I drove my car blind-folded.

My proposal is that the National Assembly should delete the concept of federal roads within the cities. They should go further to limit FRSC to a radius of twenty kilometers outside city area. If we had leaders who cared for us, we would recommend that cars coming to Nigeria should be fitted with device that would enable a driver to connect his gsm to car stereo system. In the meantime, the first sledge hammer that should fall on the head of FRSC is that all fines should go to the coffers of the state whose citizens were robbed.

Abdullahi Musa via kigongabas @gmail.com

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