EMBER MONTH AND ITS SUPERSTITION
Happy new Month, as I welcome you to the first Sunday of the month of December, the first sabbath of the last month of the year. Sabbath is generally known as the day of rest, a day blueprinted by the creator to rest from all endeavours and ‘run arounds’, to take an intensive and exclusive care of ones soul and body after you must have gone to feed the spirit if you are a Christian, if otherwise, then you are permitted to focus largely on the body.
Yesterday’s wasn’t sabbath for some, as it marked the end of the their journey, for some it left forever bitter marks in their hearts, and their bodies. This was the story of some individuals as they encountered something bigger than them, whether it was due to their own imperfections or the wiles of the devil played on them or ultimately, the will of God.
It was already getting dark, as we had to see the father of the house off as a family, he has a business activity to carry out, one that deals with a client leaving this presumed by many to be unfortunate and unyielding country, I still argue a difference. A drive away from home, we hit the main road, I was sitting at the front, not because I wanted to be the first to give the good by kiss, but an opportunity to see the turtle and brake interplay. This story is not about me anyway nor about my family. The road, a federal road which leads to the popular Iwo road in Ibadan, accommodated lots of careless movement, as angry spouses rushed out of their houses, so did curious ones rushed back home to enter the loving nest of their loved ones. The bottlers and drinkers, today is fast and furious, even as inconsistent drivers rushed to get to their destinations, who knows where?
Carefully we remain on the seemingly insane road, as if we were the only ones abiding by the federal road safety rules, maybe there e others who were sane enough to notice the long arrival of the EMBER months.
If you are not a Nigerian reading this, the ember months starts from September to December, and attributed to this months are calamities, such as fire outbreaks, road accidents, kidnappings and maimings, outrageous news stories of death of extended family in one night, so many more that I had declined in the repertoire of my vocabularies. Those who are conscious of this tabooed months are however not left out of the tragedies but there are some that have been designated to be swallowed by the infamous ember months.
Just a peep away from the turtle, I saw a somewhat disfigured sienna bus who had run through the demarcation of the two way road. Ten to twenty people surrounded the distorted vehicle, with some individuals helplessly lying by the side of the road with paints of blood on their bodies, hiding their wounds. The vehicle windscreen is off, the bonnet was totally written off, it was ghastly, maybe fatal, I had no sympathy to look longer. I changed the angle of my view away from the sight of the horror, not to the interplay between the brake and turtle too but straight to the road, as if I’m looking out for more, rather, it occurred to me for the first time this year, the superstitious notion attached to the last four months of the year.
I’m not one of those that still hold to that superstitious belief system, anyway, but to a large extent, what happens during this period is convincing enough to sustain the superstition in the minds of many, however, I believe that the attitudes of people during this period is the cause of bloodbaths and bitterness in the country.
As the Zonal Commanding Officer, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in charge of Ogun and Lagos States, Mr Shehu Zaki, once noted that “ember month is a period when commercial drivers are in desperate haste to double profit while the private ones hurry to meet up with engagements as a result of festivities” due to this incessant flair to make money and meet people, lives are lost excessively every year.
Statistics from the commission have shown that thousands of people die each year by road accidents but most of the accidents occur in the latter part of the year, the “ember months”. I don’t have the luxury of time to ‘cry’ out the statistics, I’m not prophet Jeremiah, so I do not want to start sowing seeds of anxiety and fear in you.
The essence of this is to inform you that it’s the ember months again, and we are in the last two, December is known to be the deadliest. Don’t be perturbed, I beseech. Be cautious and not curious to meet up with engagements while driving. Engagements, yuletide, festivities will always be there but you only have one life, and as for commercial drivers, the whole of next year is still there for you to make money, you can’t make it all in a month, please take it easy on the road, and for ‘us’ still looking at God’s face to have an automobile or learn to drive, don’t be a night crawler, or a drunkard, have all the yuletide fun but remember to be safe.