Essays / Satiric / The Pontifical Papers

Enough of Your Sirens, Already. My Ears Hurt | An Exasperated Letter by Ayo Sogunro

To: The Military Officer

Who on the Third Mainland Bridge

Blew Past Me with a Blaring Siren

Dear Sir:

Re: Enough of Your Sirens, Already. My Ears Hurt.

I refer to the incident on the Third Mainland Bridge this morning, a very common incident, too common, in fact, but still very annoying despite its commonness. I refer, sir, to the effrontery with which your convoy bullied me, and several other drivers, out of the road. I refer to the manner in which, Moses like, you parted the thick traffic of the Bridge at the command of your sirens.

Of course, I understand your haste, traffic should not be a hindrance to the military man on his way to wage war at Ikoyi—I’ve been told that the gunfire and artillery shots in the officer’s mess can be heard for miles around. I quiver to think of the men at the Obalende frontlines, the men who would perish if you arrived too late to sign some cheques. I hear the battle is raging fiercely in Victoria Island as men wait for you to come in and sign all those documents. Ah, the travails of defending the country! Ah, the toils of saving our lives from the menace of expensive prostitutes and the rising cost of beer! I understand your hurry; after all, you would be facing a firing squad if you got to work late while I would only face a sack letter.

As you can see, I have gone out of my way to introduce myself as an understanding fellow. It’s only fair that you should try to see my point of view as well. This letter intends to explain that perspective. In summary: please turn off the siren and join the queue. Yes, I understand that you are in a rush, but so am I—and a hundred thousand other people. You have important work to do, but so do I—and a hundred thousand other people. If I could, I’ll take flight above the insanity of the road, but since nature has not deemed us fit to have wings, I’m willing to take my turn. It would be a mad, weird world if I were to fix a siren on my Honda and chase everyone out of my way.

Of course, you are a military man, with a big gun and several men around you—and I suppose you think this qualifies you to a right of way? Maybe in 1996, it would have, but not in 2012. That’s why you ultimately take your instructions, not from the man with the biggest gun in Abuja, but from a man I’m capable of sacking every four years. So, listen, if your boss is my boy, I don’t think you should be strutting around. You’re important, but not that important: you are the guy we pay to guard the gate. Security guards, sir, should not blow sirens in the living room—except in a period of emergency.

Well, I suppose we both have different ideas of what constitutes an emergency, but let me give you a quick guide: an emergency involves life or death—strictly so. No metaphors. If nobody is dying around you, and there’s no likelihood of people dying anytime immediately, kindly depress the mute button, wait your turn in traffic and don’t kill people with heart attacks.

Because, that’s what you do! You increase environmental and biological tension, induce high blood pressure, stimulate hormonal imbalance, prompt cardiac arrest, and even cause accidents! Come on, officer! You’re supposed to be defending me, not killing me! I hear your siren and my heart races to 440! It’s a dog’s life already—jumping out of bed at 5 a.m., bleary-eyed and aching joints; having to start up the generator or stumble around in the dark, eventually wearing two colours of socks, joining the morning traffic—without you adding hypertension to the parade.

Maybe you just love the noise—like boys with firecrackers, maybe you are tickled by the sight of cars hurrying out of your way, maybe you don’t even give a damn, whatever your reasons—it’s fine. However, we can’t always have what we want. Now, here’s a warning: guns or not, whips or not, juvenile, trigger-ready men around you or not, I won’t get out of your way again. You, sir, are a man like me, same flesh—same blood, same response to virus and bacteria, and same biological reaction to being beaten to a pulp by an angry mob. Please, do not let’s get to that stage: you may have the guns, and whips and boys—but I have the people. The harassed and angry people you dismiss out of your way like so much chaff before the wind.

Meanwhile, keep being cheerful. A happy solider is a good soldier. Don’t worry, nobody will attempt to assassinate you, it’s not like you hold nuclear launch codes or something.  Next time we meet on the road, I expect you to join the line and queue behind me. Enjoy the view same as I do, it reduces anxiety. I won’t move out of your route and I would encourage other drivers not to move out either. Let’s not smash each other’s faces over this small issue, ok?


Ayo Sogunro


@ayosogunro can be found blowing sirens on Twitter—a proper place for noise making.



33 thoughts on “Enough of Your Sirens, Already. My Ears Hurt | An Exasperated Letter by Ayo Sogunro

  1. Mr Sogunro, you have the right to remain silent – or we will give you that right. Especially on that your Twitter avenue or whatever you call it, which me and my boys will run over very soon with our special online-based supersonic siren.

    You think you can just open your mouth and speak “oyinbo”. Look my friend, we also know grammar, it is not because we are carrying Kalashnikov and wearing uniform that you will take us for some nonentities on Ben 10.

    Who told you that our boss is your boy? It is YOU who is a boy na. Boy sef? Let me not give you disciplinary! Since you have plenty sense, you remember that since 1966, we have been providing a special dish called “coup” to the customer who can afford it at our restaurant ba? So you see, that man you call your boy, we can arrange him anytime we please…..

    For your information, in this kitchen ehn, we are the chef. Do I make myself clear?

    Now, Steven!… give Mr Sogunro black coffee….it seems he didnt have any in his hurry to get out of home this morning…


  2. Thank you! A witty and precise expression of the collective ire on that issue. You know what would have been nice? If that officer gets to read this, and @KathleenNdogmo’s reply, for good measure. 🙂


  3. The RIGHT to blow the SIREN, the FREEDOM to blow it out LOUD and the AUDACITY to become a NUISANCE…..maybe everyone should have sirens too then-trucks, buses, vehicles, tricycles, bikes, bicycles, beasts of burden, pedestrians and even skaters!


  4. This is lovely. Witty and Satirical. God punish devil. They should see this. They get me pissed all the time whenever they do that; and harrassing people on the road because they are wearing a uniform and holding guns. I pray I am among the mob the next time. So we can beat their worthless ass.


  5. You are talking to me and my type, Ayo and i dare to say, in your misinformed exasperation with us, who nourish with our blood, the environment wherein you sip your coffee and tap away at your pc to to spew out so much sarcasm, you err. You are not a man like me. We have the same flesh,the same blood but that is where it ends. My mind’s might and my heart’s valour, you can only read about and even then, you may never comprehend. I have been taught that there will be people like you, who would make it seem as if the renunciation of my life for my fatherland isn’t worth it but guess what? Its not about your likes; in all likelihood whose progenitors are the cause of our present woes as a nation. Or how else can I explain your irritation with an occurrence, ‘too common, in fact, but still very annoying despite its commonness’, if not the expression of a ‘Lagos big boy’s’ sour grapes for having being made to stand aside in his ‘Honda’ with the rest of the masses’ danfos. For all you know that siren blaring team needed to use it to attend to real security issues. Just because it does not affect your egocentric person does not mean it should loose its sense of emergency. It is about the gratitude we percieve in the eyes of the woman and her kids me and my colleagues rescue as we perform the numerous night operations we conduct in the most incredible places to keep you safe, while you slept in your smugness, definately with a sound proof generator. You are not a man like me, oh no, you are not.If you were, you would instead, direct your exasperation at the people in your ilk who purloin collective wealth and deprive all of us better roads and a more efficient, encompassing transport system, healthcare and education system; you would put your skill with sarcasm honed in a private school am sure, to good use appraising the quality of governance to bring out any observed shortcomings.To think you even mentioned a mob action on a soldier makes me want to offer to renew your international passport, so you go and see how greater nations appreciate their soldiers. So, compatroit, keep your cool and never belittle your soldier . He just may be of use to you tomorrow.By the way, please when he passes you again next time, wave at him and just shout… COMBATEUR!!!


    • I’m glad you stopped by to read this, its highly encouraging. I’m also glad for the wit displayed in your comment–as well as your splendid character profiling. If more soldiers were like you, this article would be highly unnecessary. 🙂 So “Combateur!” it is.


      • Ma’am, that isn’t in the least bit erotic, if I understand you literally. Indulge me in conveying the figurative implication please.


    • @ SkipperJoe, I am a bit late to the party, but when I see responses like this, I feel the need to point you in the proper direction. The soldiers/Police do not respect Nigerians. You hurry us out of the road to attend a security meeting every day? You blare sirens so loud, the dead could rise and you think you are justified because you were a uniform?

      There is a simple reason why the Army live in some type of ‘space’ usually Forts in International Countries, it is so that they do not infringe on the rights of the citizens.

      I go to do my job that helps this country, I suggest you do the same without creating some noisequake.

      It is through my eyes.


    • hmm, i love your response, i almost share same opinion with Ayo, but with this response of yours i concur with you, especially when you believe we are all being deprived of good roads and other amenities by these killers who forced their ways into power. The military is the strength of the government. We the youths are watching, one day we would rise against this corrupt leaders but it will be more successful if the military would not intervene so that we can deal mercilessly with this individuals that does not even care about the life of ex-service men. Jesus Christ is believed to die for the sins of the Christians, but a military man die without any compensation to save his country people from slavery and to make them have a place to live and also to preserve their fatherland. there is nothing as painful as installmental killing, being a slave is more painful than that. i am a complete lover of every military personnel. if i become the president in the future i will spend heavily on the welfare of every military man because risking their lives at war fronts while me and many others are sleeping is not an easy task. it may seems the military are idle, but when war begins we would appreciate their effort.

      But nevertheless, it doesn’t mean they should over exploit their freedom, we are all subject to the ways of the government, the military should understand this as you have emergencies other too do, especially the fact that many are hypertensive. i was once at Ojota garage, a woman collapse just because of a sudden noise from a petrol tanker, the woman lost her life in that eventually because of emergency response.

      So dear military, if you would support the youths we need to rebel the government not the military, to save our own future and protect our dear nation. but the military would be used by the government who doesn’t care about their lives to defend themselves. the question is, how do we work this out?


    • Mr. Freedom Thinker u;r mad for all i care…
      has serving the military become a yardstick for lawlessness, oppression and brutality?
      go find out if it’s so in the United States or the United Kingdom..
      Nigerian military personnel (AlL uniformed Men) people with 3rd world brains.


  6. Wow after reading dis beautiful piece and d reactions especially from d combateur I’m left astonished at d soundness of d reasoning from mr Ayo nd d combateur, but one question keeps has remained in my mind and infact has acquired a C of O in my ever probing mind. D question is, in our quest for a beta Nigeria, in our ever increasing thirst for a revolution, in d ease with which we vent our anger and frustrations on d enemy for making our lives less better than it ought to be, who is the real enemy here, is it d govt dat deceives us or awards projects without supervising them, perhaps bcos they were awarded to his friend as compensation for his loyalty? Is it d ordinary man banker or civil servant who takes part in such transaction or indulges his friend who does because its not his business, is it d law enforcement or security agent who looks is too lazy to do his job or looks for a settlement so dat he can observe d eyes right salute like some president on indepence day? Is it d bus driver who exploits his fellow compatriots nd masses just because there are no other buses in d park? Is it d doctor who refuses to save a life because no deposit of cash has been made? Or is it d press people who are afraid to expose evil for sake of some financial settlement or some threat? Is it d Council of Legal Education that has made it ritual to increase law school fees every year without averting their legal minds to d fact that d poor also have a right to become barrister at law? Who is d enemy here please?


  7. @to the combateur, as much as foreigners respect their soldiers, the soldiers equally respect and treat them very well as individuals, because they know they are been kept by tax payers money …it is reciprocal and when a soldier or anyone in public service begins to think he is not equal to the masses then he begins to err. service is an honor and if you are not prepared to be entrusted with it then you have no place been in the military in the first place…. moreover the use of siren by office holders has been banned ke so why is he breaking the law he is meant to keep .


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  9. This combateur believes he is more man than the next man. Why? Becos he wears a uniform and joined NdA and carries a gun and confronts terror. That makes him more man and justifies him riding roughshod over the rest of us. Let me inform him of his compatriots in civilized places who do the same thing, successfully, without thinking they are more man than other men. How much more man would I be over him if I had the gun and he didn’t have the gun? Did he go to nda to feel more man or did he go to nda to defend the country? So long as he hasn’t earned our respect by treating us with respect, he won’t get our respect. Guns can be available to anyone and only he who prevails in an equal battle is more man than the other.


  10. Nice write up, however, I think the write up is directed at the wrong set of people. Am not sure if have seen an army do this but police and private security firms are the ring leader in this mess because they are driving a big 4×4 hilux ! And most times they are alone or escorting some Lagos boys in different sectors even white men! It’s very annoying!


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  13. Mr Ayo, if talking down a soldier is what makes u feel a man, Then you need to visit a physician . the most people that use siren are not the soldiers but police and DSS/SSS. yet u pour ur Vernor on the military. if you know the attribute of a good soldier, I advise you to go and pick up recruitment form. Soldiers are men of honor that deserve ur respect. Even Obama can not talk down on the least of American soldiers.


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