Monday, March 8, 2021
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‘’The rich and powerful do not give away their favours for free. ‘’They always ask for something in return, and their demand is usually much greater than their initial investment. If care is not taken, you may lose your own soul in the process. ‘’Don’t be carried away by any “delicious” offer, because it is really nothing but deceitful food laden with poison. ‘’You’ve been warned!’’  — Pastor EA Adeboye.

 I laughed hysterically this morning on receiving an electronic message with somehow beautiful contents. I am always very careful in handling electronic communications these days of information explosion and manipulation. But this particular message conveys some meaningful information that could douse tension, particularly on the political plane. It also has the potential of encouraging budding politicians not to view politics as a do or die game. It reads:

“After watching the Goodluck Jonathan book launch, I stand not to speak, criticize or insult any Nigerian politician again. ‘’Seeing Oshiomhole laughing with and hugging Saraki, Uche Secondus having friendly conversation with Boss Mustapha, Oshiomhole and Atiku Abubakar laughing endlessly. ‘’I honestly  nearly slapped myself for taking sides and defending these politicians.’’

It continues: ‘’OBJ supports Atiku; his son supports Buhari. Doyin Okupe supports Atiku; his son supports Buhari. Atiku is the main opposition presidential candidate. ”His daughter is still the Commissioner for Health in APC Government in Adamawa. ‘’Bode George supports Atiku.  ‘’His wife serves under Buhari. ‘’Buba Galadima is supporting Atiku; his daughter  – Zainab is a special assistant in the presidency’’

The piece concludes by stating that:‘’ Whichever way things go, these families and many others within the ruling class will always benefit. ‘’Meanwhile, some of you are busy fighting, insulting, maiming, and killing yourselves for them.  ‘’Tell me then, what you gain from insulting people without being a direct beneficiary of the unfolding events. ‘’Better play polished politics and keep your relationship tidy – you may need them later’’. 

GOOD OMEN: I believe this is a very good development that indicates that the masses are waking up and could think deep and be influenced positively to embrace a truly democratic culture that places public and national interest above all considerations. It is a development that shows that given the right orientation and support, people could break loose from the stranglehold of the elite and political groups that have successfully purchased and imprisoned the conscience of the ordinary people, who are struggling to survive. The ordinary people have been used as canon-fodders for too long and will remain poor should they fail to realize that people in Government are their representatives who are answerable to them.

Political office holders are servants of the people, and not masters; which is why they are all running around to lobby you for your votes for next year’s general elections.. The truth is that ‘’all citizens, regardless of gender, race, religion or politics, have a stake in Nigeria’s future; and their loyalty and diligence will only be rewarded when they play their parts well by refusing to be slaves. There is nothing wrong with having a political mentor, but there are certainly so many things erroneous in regarding the political class as the masters. This is against the spirit of a servant-leadership culture that operates in modern times.

 WHAT WE AIM TO ACHIEVE IN NIGERIA — CREATING THE AWARENESS: The 2001 Kuru Declaration embodies the vision of the Nigerian Government as: ‘’Building a truly great African democratic country, politically united, integrated and stable, economically prosperous, socially organized, with equal opportunities for all, and responsibility from all, to become the catalyst of (African) Renaissance; and making adequate all-embracing contributions sub-regionally, regionally and globally”. Furthermore, government is working strenuously to create a Nigeria that Nigerians will be proud to belong to and grateful to inhabit; a Nigeria that rewards hard work protects its people and their property, and offer its children better prospects than those they may be tempted to seek in Europe or the United-States.’’

CONSCIENCE According to Dr DK Olukoya, CONSCIENCE is that: ‘’quiet inner voice; the inner policeman, that reminds us that we are wrong by the steps we take occasionally; but which we resist or dismiss because we want to be unfaithful’’. Once again, it is time for the 4-year cycle of political ritual. It is time for politicians to face the citizenry, to render accounts of stewardship. It marks the season for stock-taking, as well as another golden opportunity to make more promises to the electorate by the political class. Usually, they are occasions for sweet talks.  But will our individual conscience allow us to tell the truth and promise only what is feasible?

And it is the period of reckoning that presents the opportunity for the electorate to decide to whom they would entrust the task of handling their collective affairs, for another constitutionally stipulated period. Quite naturally, the fictional Squealers in George Orwell’s Animal Farm – the propagandists on all political divides, — have taken to the field again, to attempt to push forth superior arguments that are the norm in politics. The satire of Animal Farm is apposite here because we all know the answers to our problems. We only need to approach service with sincerity so that our society will progress.

ADMONITION   This admonition is not restricted to politics. They are words of wisdom for all segments of society. In one of his ministrations captioned: THE TRICKS OF THE DEVIL, Pastor Enoch Adeboye asserts that: ‘’Some attributes that used to be highly valued in society, such as integrity, diligence, moral principle and godliness, have become things of the past and are now looked down on. ‘’The younger generation seems to have a warped idea of what success really means. ‘’Consequently, predators are using the weapon of deception to entice vulnerable individuals into evil deeds, such as sexual gratification in exchange for favours, drug-related businesses, human trafficking, organised crime, internet fraud, and many others, promising quick money, political appointments, business opportunities, rapid job promotions etc.’’

He went further:‘’ Is anyone promising you something in exchange for “nothing”? Ensure that you do not fall for any deceptive proposal of the devil. ’The rich and powerful do not give away their favours for free. ‘’They always ask for something in return, and their demand is usually much greater than their initial investment. If care is not taken, you may lose your own soul in the process. ‘’Don’t be carried away by any “delicious” offer, because it is really nothing but deceitful food laden with poison. ‘’You’ve been warned!’’ This message is exactly what our institutions of higher learning, religious organizations, and other bodies with parental responsibilities should be preaching as we negotiate the bend leading to another civil democratic transition from civilian to civilian rule

The last time I heard one of our departed nationalists speak with burdensome passion was when bombastic Chief Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe appeared on the popular news magazine programme: ‘Saturday Special’ featured in 1989 by the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State. Mbadiwe, in the interview, was almost weeping as he pleaded with the military and Nigerians generally to give serious thought to the evolution of brilliant, committed and dedicated leaders with vision and mission, coupled with the ability to manage the country for the overall benefit of the entire citizenry. Mbadiwe,  a flowery speaker  and forceful orator was at the peak of his political career nicknamed, among others, “a Man of Timber and Caliber, Caterpillar, and the Juggernaut.” That glorious era is gone; along with great Nigerian nationalists and patriots. Some of the remaining  few great minds like Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide, SAN passed on serially not too long ago.

THE NATIONAL PEACE COMMITTEE should be fully supported the in public and national interest, given our collective attitudes to the emergence of winners in electoral contests in this great country. We must pray for the success of this committee as we get into the most critical phase of the democratic transition exercise. Beyond this, we must FULLY SUPPORT the INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION to hold fool-proof elections. We must prevent violence that does not pay. Why must we kill ourselves or shed human blood because of politics? I think we must be very reasonable and conduct ourselves peacefully, and in accordance with our individual conscience and allow Nigeria to grow.

LEADERSHIP & OUR TOMORROW: I once suggested, in one of the pieces authored by me in 2014, that we should test the spirit of the endurance of aspirants to the topmost political positions in the country. I hold the view that our leading politicians are matured and have refrained from engaging in violence, at least from the 2015 experience which saw a peaceful transition exercise. We must prevent acts that could threaten national stability and peace.  If leaders refuse to fight themselves, followers will definitely follow suit.

WE HAVE THE CAPACITY FOR GREATNESS: Nigerians are all over the world performing as world-class professionals. Rehashing the thought of Mr Bola Borisade, a contemporary of Dr Yemi Farounbi at the defunct WNTV/WNBS is appropriate here; for the purpose of reflections. Borisade pointed out in his book titled: ‘NIGERIA: From Depression to Greatness’ that “Molke, a General of distinction and their group, paid the price for Germany. ‘’They laid the foundation upon which Adolf Hitler later built upon. ‘’Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles de Gaulle and others paid the price for France. ‘’Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell and their group paid the same for England. ‘’George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King and their group paid the price for the United States. ‘’Mandela and his group paid the price for the black in South Africa. ‘’The search for the magic wand for the development of Indonesia was led by General Suharto; while Lee Kuan Yew lives till today in the minds of people as the modernizer of Singapore.’’

We have the resources to be great – human and material. There is apparently no black nation that is more blessed than Nigeria in terms of human resources. The feat of greatness is possible only if we act dispassionately and conduct ourselves truthfully; and with the fear of God.

May the good Lord help Nigeria.

First published – December 2018.

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