I love dogs. In fact, I am crazy about dogs. This craze dates back to my teen. As I grew up, the craze doubled and tripled when I enlisted into the Federal Road Safety Corps. As an American would say, I went bananas, acquiring all sorts; Doberman, Alsatian, German shepherd and even local dogs. My only check was my take-home. At a point, I had six breeds all bought with gbese-debt. I had become a regular dog lover so much that once I point, I pick for the asking from my favorite dog dealer in Abuja named doggy.
The costs for these dogs were hidden in so much secrecy from my wife and late mother. Both women would have dragged me for spiritual cleansing. My wife would have been worse. She hates dogs, but loves the puppies for the money they bring-very typical Delta-Ibo that she is. My boys are however, my pride-taking after me as they have caught the dog bug.
Today, I am excited over the economic meltdown as my addiction has just disappeared without any pastor straining to deliver me from the spirit of dogs. I am now contended with just these lovely dogs; Zophie, Rockie, Teddy, Rex and JJ. But if you think am crazy, ask Sony Irabo. Like every dog lover, I have had my sad moments. On two occasions I lost Rambo and Master. I also lost Zidane. And a local breed too. Their death broke my heart. Ask my wife and she would tell you how much these dogs mean to my household. Each time you ask her to name members of my household, the list was never complete without our dogs’ name after our sons.
Well, today’s piece is not about dogs although it provides the trust as it reminds me of an advert I stumbled on way back University days at the prestigious University of Lagos. I think that the advert was displayed somewhere around Allen/Opebi during the glittering days of the emergence of the highbrow area. It read, ‘the patient dog eat no bone’ in contrast to the saying ‘the patient dog eats the fattest bone’.
I cannot recollect the agency that came up with the advert. I cannot even fathom the product or even the client. All I can remember is that it was a beautiful concept that for me ranks alongside the one by Gulder Max beer- ‘’ A man was here’’ and the one by Jonny Walker, ‘’keep walking.’’ Like I said, I have dogs and I know that when they are hungry or thirsty, patience is not a virtue that they display. When my dogs sight me after work, patience disappears from their dictionary as they wag their tails to show love and to welcome me home. Such gesture disappears when they see you as a threat. So, to describe dogs as patient was for me misplacing, although it was appropriate in preaching about patience.
Therefore, for any creative mind to stand this saying on its head as far back as the 1980s was indeed prophetic as today that advert vividly captures our driving habits which is devoid of respect for one another, while patience, a necessary virtue in redressing road crash is rarely imbibed. As we gradually navigate this month of my birthday, with about sixty five days or less to another Christmas, please kindly reflect on how you drove last year. How have you be driving since then? Patiently? Are you one of the rage drivers in town? Do you let your personal problem-financial or emotional affect your driving? Do you have a penchant for flouting traffic rules at will?
Have you been involved in a road crash? Do you know that a road crash is not an accident? Do you know that the 2471 deaths recorded from 5320 reported road traffic crashes in the 2021 second quarter road traffic crash statistics were avoidable and preventable? Do you know that 15,398 were rescued without injuries while 8,808 vehicles were involved?
The statistics reveals that the total persons involved was 33,751 while 15882 sustained various degrees of injuries. All that is required is change in our driving habits. Imbibing patience and being discipline remains fundamental.
This data should sound a note of warning to bread winners and their dependents as we prepare for another celebration in a couple of weeks. Don’t get too spiritual. Pray as you drive but and avoid tempting God by passing the buck to him.
In the words of an observer, ‘we are the only being that has left everything to the will of God while the rest of the world is busy finding solutions to safety issues. We please the blood, blame the devil, blame government and its agencies while our responsibilities as citizens who directly bear the brunt of road crashes is played down.
In the foreword written by South African Bishop Tutu, in Make Road Safe, A Decade of Action for Road Safety, the respected Clergy expressed similar concern. He noted that ‘from time to time in human history there comes a killer epidemic that is not recognized for what it is and is not acted against until it is almost too late. HIV/AIDS which is ravaging Sub Saharan Africa is one of such. Road traffic injuries have the potential to be one. We ignore it at our peril. In my words, just as a lot still do with the COVID-19 Protocols despite the spate of deaths globally as well as in Nigeria.