26 years ago,exactly on 17th April,1994,the popular,but sadly now- defunct,Sunday Concord newspaper published the story of the suicide by Mr Enoch Alade,a senior accountant with old Ondo State Government.
Mr Alade was reported to have committed suicide,following his retrenchment by the ODSG,and the notice served him to quit the official quarter originally allocated to his wife,also a civil servant who had travelled abroad in 1990,on study leave.
Nigerians will recollect that life in the country in the 1990s was perilious,after the then Federal Military Government headed by the self-styled military President,now-retired General Ibrahim Babangida had introduced the painful Structural Adjustment Programme(SAP)which indeed sapped lives out of millions.
Mr Alade’s wife,like many citizens who seized the opportunity of travelling out of Nigeria,as a form of escape from the hellish living conditions in Nigeria then,had stayed back abroad,leaving her husband to continue occupying the government quarter said to have been originally allocated to her.
Shocked like millions of Nigerians,on reading the sad news of the suicide by Mr Alade in the Sunday Concord newspaper,I expressed my sympathy to the family of the late Mr Alade through my article titled,”KONGIS DON’T MELT”,published in the Sunday Concord issue of Sunday,24th April,1994.
In that article,I wrote inter alia:”KONGI,Yoruba parlance for ruggedness,is made popular by a locally-made soap of same name.It is whitish in colour,hard and very corrosive.
“Kongi soap,before the depression(SAP),was the first choice of the lower class of the society for their laundry,more for its cheap cost,than its detergence.Today,however,the Kongi soap is packaged under different brand names.Coloured and scented,it is now a popular choice among the haves and have-nots,thanks once again,to the ‘good’ mis-management culture of past administrations in the country.
“It is with great pity,therefore,that I received,over the weekend,the reported suicide of one Mr Enoch Alade,a retrenched senior accountant with the Ondo State Government.
“Alas!If only the deceased had familiarised himself with Kongi soap’s ruggedness,he would not have committed suicide nor melted,despite the yoke placed on him by an outmoded and vengeful establishment system.If the said Mr Alade took his life because of what I perceive as the “iwosi'(degradation)feeling,as he had not been charged with any offence of misdeeds,that is.
“Whereas, there have been cases similar to the late Mr Alade’s,some even worse, human ‘Kongis’ who have emboldened themselves with faith,experience and wits have always come out unscathed from the traps set by envious,callous or officious fellows or conditions.”(My Sunday,24th April,1994 KONGI article continues)
But,it is the last paragraph of this post above that I want to invoke today,by this recall,in view of the reported cases of growing frustrations,threats and tendency for suicides in Nigeria and other parts of the world where lockdowns exist,as occasioned by the raging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lockdowns,observance of COVID-19 pandemic anti-spread advice and general health rules are mandatory,in order to stem the spread of the scourge,treat victims and save lives.
Suicide is forbidden by God,and is not the answer to fear, frustration,disappointment or anger.Before this COVID-19 scourge and the attendant pains,there have been reported cases of suicides by many citizens,particularly failed students,jilted lovers,the frustrated poor,the cheated the disappointed etc.
In order to discourage the looming disaster,governments,corporate companies,the rich and philanthropists all over the world are humbly urged to increase their kind acts of providing palliatives to the poor,weak and hungry.