I had just stepped out of Roban Stores, Awka on the evening of Saturday, August 3, 2019 to see a burning vehicle just across the road. The owner, with his wife, packed in front of the mall to discuss when all of a sudden, an explosion was heard from the bonnet and the car went up in flames.
Passers-by all gathered to fight the fire. Thankfully, it had rained earlier in the day, so the wet soil seemed to be a good fire fighting tool in the hands of many. Every hand was filled with the wet sand, all thrown at the fire. Cars stopped by, not only to donate their fire extinguishers, but to join in putting out the fire. Tricycle drivers and their passengers all stopped to lend helping hands.
Watching the whole scenario and how willingly strangers volunteered to help, one would think the fire was the only problem facing humanity at that point in time. The fire raged on, as people made frantic efforts to subdue it. The small sized fire extinguishers seemed to be no match for the fire that was almost eating up the engine and spreading rapidly. They didn’t give up, but fought vehemently to kill the fire.
Finally, as words spread round that a car was on fire, some Roban Workers came racing with a big sized fire extinguisher and within seconds of its deployment, the fire died out. The car was saved, apart from the engine which was badly burnt.
All through the moment the fire was being fought, no one cared to ask for who owned the vehicle. His political and religious beliefs did not matter, neither did his tribe, race or colour make any difference. All that mattered was that someone’s car was on fire and he needed all the help he could get and everyone, united as one fought the fire in unity, till it was overcome.
And the when the fire was put out and the car saved, there was no man or woman; no Chike, Taiwo or Musa around. There was no rich or poor, dark or fair face there. I didn’t see any Christian, muslim or pagan standing right there. All I saw were humans who came to the aid of a fellow human.
Were we not humans before race, colour, religion and tribe separated us? Were we not one before personal interests and political beliefs divided us? Were we not united as “creatures made in the image of GOD” before greed and selfishness poisoned our hearts? Were we not living together as one before hatred beclouded our judgements and we are today left with the wreckage we call humanity?
Human life no longer matters. Gory images resulting from violence and death no longer make us shiver. Human blood is now spilt like water and we are getting used to it. The virtues that make us human have been thrown into the waste bins of history and we don’t seem to care. Love, trust, forgiveness, charity, respect, humility, meekness and their likes are words we can no longer relate with, because we are descending lower through the rungs of human decadence. And humanity is going, going . . . .
However, after watching what played out at the fire fighting scene that evening, I strongly believe that we are not completely gone. And happening in a country like Nigeria, where every good and noble virtue seems to have gone south, I am particularly thrilled.
It was amazing how we came together in time of distress to help someone in need. So perhaps there is still some humanity left in humans. Perhaps there is still some love left in our hearts. And maybe, just maybe, there is still a ray of hope for future generations who will put humanity first before tribe, race or colour.