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Cars and asses, by Dare Oduwole

“And the angel of the Lord said unto him, wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.”(Numbers 22:32-33).

I began to drive somewhat late in life, specifically at age 37 because of my mother’s disposition towards children driving. Although my father was more permissive, my mother’s insistence that children should drive only when they could afford vehicles of their own invariably became law in our household to be broken only by my only brother who managed to bend the rule.

It was, therefore, with much joy I began to drive using my first car which was a Renault. I probably overvalued this car because of the time and effort it took me to acquire it, happily christening it ‘my faithful friend’ simply because it rarely broke down.

So careful was I with the car that I would always buy oil filters for servicing at exorbitant prices from the automobile company rather than the open market and if the car ever developed a mechanical fault (which rarely occurred), I would call a company mechanic and pay for services through my nose.

I only stopped calling company mechanics upon discovering Kehinde, a countryside mechanic who would fix my car better than any city or company mechanic, and believe me, Abuja is a notorious territory of poor motor mechanics who could sadly engender the sale of a perfectly good car as a result of poorly rendered services.

Unfortunately, one fateful morning, I drove into a filling station, and while waiting; a driver whose vehicle brake had suddenly failed hastily left the highway and ran into my car in a bid to avoid driving into a facility pole, crashing the car beyond recognition, and all at a filling station. This accident marked the end of my affair with the Renault which was towed away to a scrap yard and dismembered for sale, the engine being in a pristine condition. I was devastated but grateful to be alive while the erring driver disappeared into thin air, abandoning his vehicle with a panel beater.

Months later, I managed to purchase another car: this time a Chrysler, though not particularly exuberant but managed to continue driving by heeding the counsel of my father that ‘when you get toppled by a horse, you remount and ride on’.

Over the years, I have grown to appreciate the Chrysler but never with the enchantment with which I embraced the Renault. Interestingly, the Chrysler has served me longer and better than the Renault but a single accident was enough re-orientation, and were the Chrysler to be human, it would easily register its displeasure at my nonchalance towards it.

However, this was bound to change recently as I moved from the suburbia town of New-Wuse where I had lived for 12 years to central Abuja. New-Wuse or Sabo-Wuse as popularly called by the natives is a resettlement town in Niger State, about 30km to Abuja and although cited specifically for the residence of the natives of Abuja (i.e the Gedes, Gwandaras, Gbagyis, and Gwaris) who were dislodged from their native homes by the Federal government in the course of developing the Abuja metropolis, many non-native workers live in this suburbia making the daily trip to the metropolis to earn a living and returning only in the evenings to a quiet and peaceful residence in a manner typical of suburbanites all over the world.

While at New-Wuse life is simple, stress-free, and the cost of living incredibly low since the ordinary natives’ dreams and aspirations are quite simple and hardly inordinate, the same cannot be said of Abuja, and its elites and wannabes who seem to be in the city to fulfil lofty dreams of affluence.

While striving to fulfil dreams of affluence is one thing, ruining lives in the process is another and this underscores the issue of my car. Back at New-Wuse, I neither spiritually protected my car nor realised that I needed to: probably due to the simplicity of life of the people, but here in Abuja, it has been a different ball game as my car quickly became a subject of neighbourhood interest. What do I mean?

Well, upon parking my car at a convenient place, I’d suddenly notice exotic cars of all brands milling around to find parking spaces just by my car or aligning to its position. Some would move their cars quickly out of the parking lot when I returned from an outing: trying to park, only to re-park within minutes of my parking.

I find most annoying those who would wash and seriously buff their cars once my car is parked for the day. I never thought much of these events until I began to experience some unusual and pesky issues with the car and the Lord drew my attention to the fact that my life energy was being stolen from the car via those processes.

You can now imagine my rage the other day when I was at Utako on business, by the time I returned to the car, an aboki had veered off the highway and squarely parked his keke Napep straight into the car bumper, leaving the entire parking spaces free. Of course, a fracas ensued where I pointedly told him and his boys to explain what they were stealing and parked into my car. Unnerved that I had an idea of their purpose, they scurried off with a couple of them offering, ‘Hankuri madam’.

Nonetheless, Maikeke Napep and Goyins are not my problem for these often back off once accosted. My problem is with the middle and top shots who are supposedly enlightened and religious, for with these I’m short of tackling wisdom considering that they are often educated enough to understand the difference between right and wrong.

Interestingly, in the Bible times Asses, Camels and Horses were used for transportation and these animals are protective of themselves and their riders as demonstrated in the Bible text above, for God has blessed them with gifts of clairvoyance and clairaudience such that they could see invisible dangers and hear inaudible voices, and steer themselves and riders quickly out of harm’s way but same cannot be said of our modern cars that would see nothing though blessed by the manufacturer with two headlamps similar to gigantic eyes.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of any Christian driving a car to protect the car from the unscrupulous ones who think nothing about taking the life energy off other people’s cars and causing these cars to develop inexplicable and sudden problems, and sometimes accidents. Protection could be as simple as learning to park sensibly by parking between already parked vehicles for these could deter someone with an evil intention from suddenly using a free space near your car or parking in places you consider safe.

Equally helpful are the practices of praying daily and activating your energy before leaving your home. And for those who survive by ruining lives, be rest assured that God is never on the side of the wicked for the Bible says, ‘though hand joins in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.’ (Proverbs 11:21).

Dare Oduwole is a Nouthetic Christian Counsellor and founder of Godly Counsel Christian Foundation, Abuja. She can be contacted via 08027291632.

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