Agbowo, Ibadan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The figure trotted groggily ahead of me and my brother as we paced in haste past it on the pedestrian walkway.
He was completely looking thin and frail with a dark skin coated in a perfect job of dirt hidden under bales and bales on rags accumulated from every bin, backyards or streets he has toured in this big metropolitan city.
His fingers are also ardorned with a rusty and faded looking collection of rings, which seem to look more like some kind of trophy collected from where nobody cares to know.
For anyone familiar with Agbowo area which is close to the University of Ibadan, they will know or remember this mentally disabled individual. He is quite popular - he is renowned for begging money or depending on his mood, aggressively asking you to give him the soft drink you are holding in your hand.
This morning what highlighted his features besides the wafting smell of cigarette lodged firmly between his fingers was his red eye s.
Credit: Dara Media.
Just as we were about crossing to the other side of the road to board a cab, I got distracted, because what I heard almost spun me around right in the middle of the busy highway.
"Tomiwa", he beckoned at the boy beside me.
"Wá je ń bá ẹ soro. Óse kókó!"
(Meaning, "Come, I want to tell you something. It is very important!").
This is not the first time a mentally deranged would part his lips for words to spew. But what made this a personal defining moment was the fact that, he just called my brother whom I know they could not have met before and to cap it, he had gist for him.
I know many may want to say: "Come of it! This is nothing new!" But have we asked the questions as to why once in a blue moon, these people suddenly and mysteriously attain sanity for brief moments and as much as possible advice people, reveal secrets or even go as much as give lucky numbers or make right predictions of games.
Some are also found often solving mathematical calculations or humming to themselves in an intelligent fashion.
Well, in a minutes, this man sounded suddenly sane and serious. His mien, tone of speaking in Yoruba Language and polite beckoning put me in awe.
He stood watching intently and beckoning at some point to him till we hopped into a cab and left.
I've often wondered what makes many write about the mentally deranged. How did they end up that way? Are they absorbed of problems, life drama, goals and dreams? Do they have their own dreams or are they in a time frame capsule existing in a moment.
The role of government in this issue does not appear effective enough. For there are serious cases of mental health issues yearly with many of them turning bus stops and other public places into platforms of theatrical display.
Well, if you ask me, I can only tell you that words on the street reportedly has it that the mentally impaired man we encountered that sunny Sunday morning was a naturalized citizen of one of the coldest parts of the US. He was said to have been 'drawn' back home with 'jazz' or 'juju' (forced home through diabolical means) by jealous relatives.
The after effects of having leaving behind his business or family over there it was said, could have been what has made him degenerate mentally to his current state.
Another even added that the man may be thinking he is still over there and so he walks about 'feeling himself'.
Thus, the rumour holds a theory that this guy may be living trapped in a kind of time capsule that makes him relive the cold winter back in the states which is evident in his constant wrapping of his body with as much rags as possible to keep the chill out.
However, the issue of mental health is very common in our society and it is important to note that there are other certain factors besides spiritual or diabolical attack that may likely cause or lead to mental illness.
Agbowo Complex multistory building. Credit: InsideOyo.com
In recent times, this upsurge in the number of cases of mental illness has been associated with depressing factors such as emotional and cognitive hardships at home, workplace and the society generally, while economic depression, significant failure and marital challenges can also be a major factor for mental illness.
To the observant, more Nigerians however, old and young, are now falling victim of mental illness. The prevailing economic situation and self inflicted social habits are said to have contributed to the situation.
It is therefore important for every individual, especially youths to make smart choices even while trying in this hard times to be successful.
My advice is that we all make smart choices in the lifestyles we adopt.
A life devoid of hard drugs, fetish or voodoo solution to cut short the path to material wealth or occultic practices and other vices will only bring about impending adverse consequences.
What is your opinion of this issue? Feel free to drop them below.
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