No fuel, no light, no water!: Patience and prayer – Part 1
Brethren, these, no doubt, are difficult times. From Kano to Kaduna, from Lagos to Lokoja, we are all going through trying times. Suddenly our roads have become wider than before – wider because they have become emptied of their users. Markets are deserted; deserted not because they are not open for shopping. Rather they are deserted because of the absence of shoppers. The water taps are also dry. But I remember that these taps have gone dry since a couple of years ago.
Brethren, at a public lecture in MUSON Centre a couple of weeks ago, I was confronted by media men and women after my lecture which was titled Leadership in the season of change.
They wanted to know what my response would be to the cries in the town that the change they voted for appears to be long in coming.
“We haven’t seen the change… people are crying,” one of them exclaimed. I took a deep breath before offering a response. I told my interdictors that the present situation in this country is indeed bad. There could be no better way to describe a situation where workers are owed five months salaries, where fuel is sold at #200 or more and where every Nigerian now suffer momentary heart failure each time the ‘megawatts’ takes a dip other than to say “this is bad!”
But brethren I quickly followed up my response with this statement: “this situation could have been worse.” In other words, it is my candid opinion that the present situation could have been worse had it been we were still under the jackboots of the previous occupiers of political space in the land.
Put differently, I am of the strong view that the situation would have been worse had ‘change’ not taken place in 2015. Brother, how could we have known about the large-scale loot of our commonwealth? Would we have known how deep the hole into which the Nigerian economy had sunk had change not become a reality in 2015?
Thus when carefully contemplated it stands to reason to argue that the present hard times we are going through is the natural corollary and indeed the after-effect of the sludge, the muck and the treachery that attended public governance during the past administration.
It is my opinion that a nation that has suffered such despoliation and humongous rape during the past couple of years would and must necessarily experience the kind hic-cups and systemic dislocations the Nigerian economy now go through.
The virus of failed governance with which this country had been infected during the past years had to run its full effect before the system is purged of its poisonous imprecations.
But since the past couple of weeks, the feelings I have of the temperament of my compatriots is that of people who are in haste.
The comments people now make about the change mantra is that of an irony – change for the worse. At a newspaper stand beside the campus, I overheard one ‘street analyst’, more out of derision and jest, say: “No be you want change.” This comment immediately reminded me of some unique traits, which are common to all human beings, no matter the race or status.
These include short memory, impatience and consequently an unconscionable pursuit of quick fix solutions to endemic problems. His comments awaken me to another reality – that Nigerians have forgotten that at the turn of the 21st century, international observers and critics had reached the conclusion that the Nigerian nation was going to expire. We have forgotten so soon that as at last year, this nation had descended into an epic decay; it had started to implode. The weak structures upon which it had been built, the fault lines along which it had taken its identities had started to eviscerate. Ethno-religious risings had become enarmoured, albeit negatively, by the rapacious disemboweling of the fortune and future of this nation by members of the political class who competed amongst one another in stealing the nation blind.
The options available for the country were two, not three: either to fail and fail permanently or reinvent itself in what became the change mantra.
In other words, brethren, each time some people talk about and look back to yesterday as if in nostalgia, I ask myself:
“have these people forgotten so soon the kind of political class that we had yesterday?” Have my people forgotten that yesterday’s leaders were like Jackals in their plunder of the ‘carcasses’ they handed over to this new government? Carcasses are dead bodies of animals, or humans or remains of an entity the substance or character of which is gone. Whereas in Islam, we are under obligation to relate to cadavers as sacred entities which shall rise to life again, jackals relate to carcasses with complete hatred and negation. They seek to deny unto the latter the very possibility of their resurrection once again. Recent revelations on the orgy of destruction that this country has suffered in the hands of this class accentuates this assertion.
Before the dawn of change, the political jackals sought to deny unto this country the chance to rise again. Wherever they go, like jackals, they leave their landmarks for all to see and ponder. Like jackals which leave landmarks with their urine and faeces, the political class equally leave their landmarks in our village, on our streets, on our life. Like the urine and faeces of jackals in the jungle, the political class of the last dispensation left insensate landmarks of corruption and maladministration for the current government to deal with.
The humongous amount of the national wealth stolen by these rabid official thieves point to an extremely arsenic spirit which oxygenated the sordid conduct of some of the actors and actresses of the past regime.
Removed as I was from the illogic of pedestrian analyses of critical issues confronting this nation, I have begun to see an opportunity in the challenges confronting our nation today.
In other words, if it is true that in order for the gem to be polished, it has go through friction, and if indeed it is true that in order for man to attain perfection he has to go through trials, then it might be useful for us to bewail our past no more. It might be useful to begin to see the failure of yesterday as an opportunity to improve our today and possibly perfect our tomorrow.
After-all, when we voted for change, it was based on that consciousness that we wanted change. It was based on that acute vision of things that were headed the wrong direction. We all knew how national wealth were being plundered; but nobody knew the extent of the pillage and plunder. But if indeed we all voted for change, what that equally meant and mean is that we must change.
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