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We Need Roads? 

By Azore Opio — Did I hear some people who go by the fabulous title of Southwest elites saying they need roads? Roads? No more motions of support?

Why have roads suddenly become so important to these people who have been playing ostrich and cultivating the petit-bourgeois illusion of eternal life, trying to cheat their citizens even on the brink of the grave; have they have come to their senses and now know the usefulness of roads? Well, it seems they are beginning to discover that the Master for whom they have been singing passionate praises has been taking them for a rough ride on impassable roads right in their own backyards.

Petitions upon petitions. Motion of support after motion of support had been flowing longer than the Wouri and the Sanaga Rivers joined together. When for example, the Santa Anna militants of the flaming party and their conspirators-in-praise-singing prayed that their chairman rule for 25 more years, or even forever, they had blundered badly. They caused irreparable damage.

Some of them are now licking their wounds behind bars, without beer moreover, while others are beginning to realise, with shock, that roads are more useful than wishy-washy praise-singing. That they need roads.

Whenever vain people concoct lies to massage the ego of a dictator, they often miss the obvious. The Southwest elites hawked hollow praises for short-term gratification while their roads deteriorated. And they knew it but pretended that roads could wait while wine flowed as they feasted on rice and meat. They become so consumed by their fiction that they missed a fact or two – like roads.

The Southwest elites and their “Santa Anna” cousins seem to be tired of pretending that everything is alright. The problem with the praise-singers is that they are liars. The Southwest elites and their Abakwa “Santa Anna” cousins are career liars. They lay their lies thick in palisades. And lairs eventually get caught in their own traps.

It is so rare to find elites in villages and towns who are considerate these days, and ‘educated’ ones at that. One has to be blissfully naïve, as only the naïve elite can be, to send motions of support for nothing received. And not even be able to visit their villages for lack of good roads.

It is amazing how wrong one can be about the Southwest elites. For example, one went distributing CPDM flags positing that national flags unite people more than roads. When the sweet gentleman was approaching the town of Tom Bell in the country of the Twin Lakes with his cargo of flags, he couldn’t move any further than where his Intercooler air-conditioned 4WD had sunk in a swamp of mud. Only a caterpillar could remove him from his muddy prison.

They are waking up under avalanches of pain, their minds traps of torn nerves; the Southwest elites. And their Northwest cousins of the elite praise-singing clique. They are confused and throbbing with angst. Their bowels are spitting hot mercury.

The scales are thick over their eyes. To those who have so far been, blindly, as in a stupor, singing its praises, the party of the flame or is it the torch, has been an unmatched national bazaar of bizarre junk slogans; an opium grey market as well as a romantic opium den. The recipe is simple enough; hot air and empty promises, rice and meat plus an ‘envelop’ for rigging elections.

They drink from the bowl of flaming laudanum; a papaver somniferum brew as putrid as a bowl of warm pus; they have drunk from the ceremonial chalice of pole beer; a fermented slosh of sediments of repulsive deceit and scorn and feel redeemed with the reel of life becoming distant, pleasant and feel etherized. Their heads are overstuffed pillows of pleasant promises from a “divine” origin and become happily stuck in the bog of abstraction, as fragments of immorality spread their wings and float like moths in their bombed minds.

Some of the wags, still singing with elongated tongues; are less dignified than cattle egrets that follow cows to eat their droppings. They have refined traditional praise-singing when nonentities used to sing for their supper and to gain recognition, to an abominable art. And the political utterances are ever full of a great many exaggerated prolepses.

These professionals hired to praise as an act of worship, sing not in their heart, but in their stomachs. Whenever they have eased their throats and jaws with slush, they make the party “church” resound with theatrical measures and airs.

They have been living in blissful oblivion because their attention is distracted from the realities of what they chant about. As Thomas DeQuincey, the original confessional opium-eater put it way back in the London Magazine of September 1821: "Booze is an acute pleasure, while opium is a chronic one. Wine robs a man of his self-possession, opium greatly invigorates it.”

Thus, with their jaws lubricated by the silly buzz of party opium, the troubadours become creative and sing out their lungs with praise songs. Often, they get that uncontrollable opiate “itch” and roam the countryside imagining that the one day they spend praising-singing, they seem to live for 70 to 100 years, as DeQuincey noted. Some of the poets, however, seem to be coming out of a long incubation period. They are now singing a different hymn from a different script; a dirge, a requiem for the death of their dignity.

They need roads.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01363

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