Written by Ayomide Oluwasegun Tayo II
Imagine a world without regrets? Imagine a world where we never have to look back and wonder what could have been because we have already seen the future. That would be perfect right? What if someone shows you your future, how would you react? Would you follow the white rabbit or will you still be plugged in the Matrix. You are about to find out.
The year is 1953. It’s morning and a young Anthony Enahoro steps out from his home ready to face his destiny and make history. With a briefcase on his right hand he steps into the blue Peugeot, parked right in front of his house. The driver starts the engine and drives off on a journey that is going to change the lives of millions of people forever but he doesn’t know it.
“I can feel it in my bones. Today is going to be a great day” says Anthony Enahoro to his driver. “Why do you say so sir?” asks the driver. “Today is the day of freedom. Today is the day Nigerians tell the British that we are capable of steering the ship. Today we ask for independence” beams Anthony Enahoro with pride. “Independence?” the driver asks. “Yes, independence. No more bowing and genuflecting to the snotty long noses from England. We are not the Queen’s puppets. We are a nation filled with intelligent men and women created to become the best in whatever we lay our hands on” says Enahoro with passion on the tip of his tongue. “Wish you the best of luck sir.” Anthony Enahoro doesn’t believe in luck and shrugs off his driver’s good luck wish. “Come off it, we don’t need luck. Even the stars align to our request. The hour has come upon us. We must seize this moment. Nigeria must be truly 100% Nigerian. Just wait and see.”
The conversation stops. The car moves towards the House of Parliament. Within the next few minutes, Anthony Enahoro’s vision becomes blurry and he falls into a deep sleep.
Ladies and gentlemen reading this, Anthony Enahoro is about to step into a place where the present and the future collide. The young Anthony Enahoro is about to come face to face with the monster he created, the kraken he released. Anthony Enahoro is about to step into the… Twilight Zone.
Anthony wakes up and he is the only one in the car. The driver is gone and the doors are wide open and the seats torn. He looks around and can’t recognize where he is. He is alarmed and worried. How did he get here? Where is this place? Gunshots and sirens fill the air. Scared, he grabs his briefcase and gets out of the car. The place feels like a war zone, death is in the air. He moves aimlessly in the premises of what once was a huge factory. He suddenly stops dead in his tracks. His sees three creatures which look like humans and demons (more demons than humans actually) holding machetes. The three creatures notice him and stop too. For a few seconds both parties stare at each other. Anthony Enahoro clutches his briefcase to his chest. The three men grip the handles of their machetes tighter. Sweat beads form on Anthony’s forehead. Ahhhhhh! A woman’s scream pierces the tense silence. Anthony Enahoro peels off and the three creatures run after him. With only one thing on his mind- survival in this strange palace, Anthony Enahoro runs into an abandoned factory in the premises. He hides behind a huge machine. A few seconds later, the three creatures enter the factory and split up in search of him. “What is all this?” “Where am I?” “How do I get away from here?” These are the thoughts running through his mind. The way he figures it, he won’t find answers to the first two questions until he solves the third one so he quietly makes his way out of the factory. On his way out his leg hits an empty can which creates a loud echo. The three creatures turn their heads to the direction where the sound came from and spot him. Quickly Anthony Enahoro dashes into one of the rooms in the factory and bolts the door.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Enahoro. I see you are just in time.” Anthony Enahoro turns around. “Who are you?” he asks startled and rattled. “That is not the question you should be asking. The question should be why am I here? And my answer would be welcome to the future” replies a tall dark, very dark and skinny man at the other end of the room. He is wearing a three piece suit, navy blue all round, no other colour. “Future? What future?” The young politician is in a daze. He doesn’t know what to make of this strange man and this strange place. He is beginning to have a slight migraine. “The future, the Nigerian future. Sir welcome to the year 2012.” The strange man has quite a deep voice which booms in the room. “Two thousand and what? Impossible, the year is 1953!” screams Anthony Enahoro. He is so perplexed right now. Bolts are beginning to unscrew in his mind. Yes that was the year before you dozed off at the back of the car, remember?” Anthony Enahoro takes a look at his surroundings, everything is so unfamiliar. He feels lost in a strange land…and time. He peeps out of the window and all he sees is carnage, destruction everywhere. Ashes. Burnt buildings and the smell of human flesh. “Where is this place?” The strange man stands beside him and looks outside too. His face visibly shows his pain. This is Lagos. You are in 2012, in Lagos or what’s left of it.”
The pre-independence politician steps aside and looks at the strange man like he is a raving lunatic. Confused he lets out a frustrated chuckle. “Now I know you are lying, Lagos is more beautiful than this. This place is a dump. This is hell”. The man smiles and exposes his white set of teeth…really white set of teeth. “In your time maybe. Lagos now, here, is nothing more than filth and where I come from it is worse than hell.” The strange man rubs his eyes and walks away from the window. Something heavy is weighing on his mind. The gunshots are rapid. “Where are you from?” inquires Anthony Enahoro. The strange man lets out a deep sigh, turns to Mr. Enahoro and says “I am from a place and time farther from here. I come from the year 2060.” Anthony Enahoro cannot believe that this important day has been interrupted by a lunatic who is playing some kind of practical joke on him. “This must be some kind of sick joke” he says in utter disgust. “You must think today is all about fun and games”.”Listen Mr. Enahoro I am not here for jokes!” He grabs Enahoro’s hands and looks into his eyes. “The fate of the country Nigeria is in your hands. What you said in 1953 pushed this country into a very dark hole, one she will never come out from. Before you were transported here to the future you were about to move a motion for the self-dependence of Nigeria. “Weren’t you?” “Yes I was, err…I mean I still am once you get out of my way you fairy tale weaver” replies Enahoro with a taste of disgust. He pushes the strange man away. “Don’t! The timing is wrong” implores the strange man. Anthony Enahoro hits his right fist on his left palm, angered by this strange man who is saying gibberish. “No! The hour is now. The British Empire is weakening by the day. The time for independence is now!” The strange man replies with a tone of anger and frustration. “No it is not. If you could see into the future you will surely not….” Anthony Enahoro who is boiling now cuts him mid-way. “The Governor General put you up to this, didn’t he? My God how low will the British stoop!”
“Sir this is not a game. This is real. This is Nigeria just before the break-up” says the man from the future. Anthony Enahoro laughs mockingly. “What break-up you silly man? Goodbye.” Anthony Enahoro opens the door and is shocked. The hallway is gone and right in front of him is the room he just left with the same damn strange man in it. He turns back and behind him is a concrete wall. “Going somewhere?” The strange man slowly walks towards Anthony Enahoro. The statesman is rooted to the ground. Fear grips his soul. Being a man who normally picks things up rather quickly he wonders why he hadn’t noticed all along that the strange man does not have a shadow. “Sit Mr. Anthony Enahoro. There’s a lot to see and not enough time”.
Tears roll down Anthony Enahoro’s face. In seven minutes his eyes take in 52 years of pain, agony, shame and failure. Its too much for one man to bear. He sees it all, lowering of the Union Jack, the raising of the Nigerian flag, the first coup, the second coup and the many coups after that. He sees it all, Biafra, Fela’s mum as soldiers throw her from the balcony, Dele Giwa as he opens the letter, MKO Abiola as he drinks the tea, Ken Saro Wiwa hanging with his Ogoni brothers, Yar’Adua as he is given the injection. He sees it all, the oil spill in the Niger-Delta, the neglect of the South-East, the abject poverty in the North and the economic collapse in the South-West. He sees mothers who die during child-birth, young men cut in their prime by accidental discharge from the Nigerian police, ritual-killings, blood money, 419, prostitution, evil men of God. Anthony Enahoro sees it all…
Its night time An eerie chill settles over the factory. A dog in the factory grounds not too far off is howling like it is seeing ghosts. A mass grave isn’t too far from the complex. Its goose-pimple inducing. Screams, gunshots and explosions go off intermittently. This must have been how Egypt felt like on the night the Angel of Death came visiting.
Switch! The fluorescent bulb flickers into life. Anthony Enahoro squints his eyes and lets out a slight groan. “Have you ever heard of the Snowball Effect, Mr. Enahoro?” The politician’s blurry vision becomes clear. He sees the man sitting opposite him with a small wooden table in between them. “The Snow what?” “The Snowball effect is a figurative term for a process that starts from an initial state of small significance and builds upon itself, becoming larger, graver, more serious and perhaps potentially dangerous or disastrous” delivers the strange man in dead-pan style. “You sir, started the snowball effect in 1953 when you moved for the motion of self-dependence. Even though it wasn’t successful your words created an idea, a concept that the Nigerian body wasn’t ready for. Everything you just saw was created by you, by the very words that came out from your mouth”. Anthony Enahoro remembers what he saw and lets out an agonizing sound. “No I didn’t cause all that. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t my fault. How can just one man create all that evil” says Anthony Enahoro. “My dear friend you did create it, you opened the Pandora’s box and all the evil escaped. The killings, the injustice, the pain and agony you let them out, your words did. You said open sesame”. Anthony Enahoro violently shakes his head as he cries. “No! It can’t be! It must have been somebody else!” cries Anthony Enahoro. The man swiftly gets up from his chair and grabs Anthony Enahoro’s shirt. “Yes you are the cause! Biafra! June 12! The military coups! Bombings! You did it all sir!” He throws him back on the chair and straightens himself. He goes over to the window. “You know what was left in Pandora’s Box was opened? Anthony replies. “Hope. You sir are our last hope. A glorious future awaits this country if you do as I say.” There is a loud bang on the door. Its the three demonic creatures outside trying to get in. “Quick we do not have much time, let me tell you what exactly you should do when you get back…
“Sir we are here.” Anthony Enahoro wakes up. Its 1953 and he is at the backseat of the car in the Race course, Lagos. He looks around nervously. “Any problem sir” asks his driver who notices he is acting a bit strange. “No” he slowly says. “Its nothing at all.” His driver gets down and opens the door for him. He takes his briefcase and gets down from the vehicle. “Do you believe in dreams” he asks his driver. “Dreams? Dreams are stupid most of the time” says his driver. “Huh? Oh yes they are aren’t they”. Anthony Enahoro still looks around nervously. His driver taps him on his shoulder. ‘Sir it’s time to go in”. “Oh yes it is. Well here goes nothing.” Anthony Enahoro enters the building for the day’s proceedings.
59 years later an old Anthony Enahoro is sitting on a chair in his living room, reading a newspaper. Anthony Enahoro suddenly drops the paper. There are tears in his eyes, grown man tears that glisten with a lot of regret. As a voice in the radio talks about civil unrest, Boko Haram, the corrupt civilian government, tribal guerrilla armies and the imminent civil war in the country, Anthony Enahoro slumps and dies.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
P.S I know Anthony Enahoro died in 2010, I just changed the year to fit into my scheme of things.
(c) Ides of March 2012.