Bequeathing Legacies

By Goke Omolade   |   25 January 2015   |   11:00 pm  

IF there is anything the average individual, especially those trusted with the common wealth of all should guardedly treasure and jealously work towards; it is the sort of legacies one bequeaths to oncoming generations. In fact, leafing through the pages of history, the legacies that still resoundingly echo the life style, beliefs and conscientious examples of heroes/heroines of yore were sacrificially laid on their ascetic idiosyncrasies. While in the flesh, these mortals were subjected to the same vices of their era, but rather, they selectively chose the narrow route of sheer honour and integrity.

  On a comparative note, no nation or individual can be an island to oneself, otherwise, such will suffer atrophy and ultimate extinction like the dinosaur species of a long-forgotten era. Rather, mankind acquires requisite virtues for developmental ethos, both on individual and societal parlance, by being eclectic of others’ proactive ideas. 

  For instance, prior to the Grecian civilisation, part of which foreran the democracy, the then world at large had one or another form of rulership, but with the standardisation of the accruing ethos of representative democracy, humanity oscillated towards democracy regardless of its own weakness.

  Consequently upon the virtual ethics of democratic principles and governmental processes, no single nation can afford to pooh-pooh the essence of democracy and what it has readily stood for. Before it came this far, democracy has had to face formidable opposition on different forms; the cold war of ideological supremacy vis-a-vis capitalist/communist warfare, colonial/neo-colonial battle of wits.

  Even on personal and societal reckoning, noticeable individuals had had causes to resort to philanthropy and related welfare services, thereby etching their memory quite remarkably on the sands of time. This feat of fond memories was attained not by mere sloganeering or empty pretensions, but by deliberate efforts of self-denial, altruism, fellow-feeling with a focused sight on what the morrow would say of them. That the league of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Vladimir Lenin, Nelson Mandela or even living legends such as Fidel Castro, Lee Kuan Yew or societal non-conformist Bill Gates recurringly remains relevant is because of their iconic and immeasurable contributions to human advancement.

  Apart from striving to make better their society than they met it, these consciences of the world-at-large hardly ever bothered to weigh the exacted price of the costly sacrifices required. Take Nigeria’s late Gani Fawehinmi, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Kaduna Nzeogwu, Isaac Adaka Boro, Aminu Kano as illustrative case studies and their listed brands for that matter. For this peculiar set, personal enjoyment, power perversion or other amoral vices meant nothing to them. Absolutely nothing. Though gone, never-the-less, their belief systems and what they represented while on this side of the divide still loom so relevant and infectious.

  Either now in this generation or subsequent ones, the inevitability of their core values would come forth; because central to them were the hallmarks of sincerity of purpose, good governance, free flowing dynamics of sound government processes.

However, taking a forth-and-back purview of our contemporary era, those who ceaselessly assail us claim to be our leaders (or rulers?) whereas they assault our entire sense of reasoning. If the sheer truth needs to be told, Nigeria as well as the rest of the so-called third world is yet to come to firm grips of what good governance and by implication, governance by sanity, equity and impartiality demonstrably note. Take Africa’s self-assumed giant, Nigeria, as a field study.

  If only on a remonstrating note, Nigeria’s web of intrigued governance is maladministration at its least ebb. Is it in its executive antics of inept leadership, overt illegality/impunity, shameless policy somersault; legislative collusion of power tenacity, abandonment of constitutional responsibilities/role expectation or the  judicial barricades to dispensation of impartial justice as at when due, or the seemingly sickening cowardice of the entire citizenry? Instead of standing up to demand for requisite justice or what is clearly right, the average Nigerian habitually recoils to his shell of inertia, cowardice, thereby expecting his similarly weak-kneed fellow citizens to carry on a yet-to-be-initiated battle of liberty and total emancipation! Pray, when will Nigeria wake up from this slumber of nihilism/cynicism?

  Matter-of-factly, it is because of the existing yawning void of normlessness that emboldens this corps of pre-Lugardian rulers to take easy advantage of the people’s lethargy, thus turning the serious task of sound governance to mere fun of musical chairs. Any wonder why Nigeria’s entire movement has continually been on a reverse gear of one step forward with 10 steps backward automated mechanism. Can any good ever come of out of their craftily induced ‘Jerusalem’? By extension, what sort of legacies do these typical rulers wish to bequeath to their generations? Or is it a case of scotch-earth rulership a la Josef Stalin-style?

  On the other side is the enervating antics of squandering what are supposed to be preserved legacies for the present needlessly plundered generation and the successive ones and if anything, the almost only hanging platform of a safe and secure tomorrow is a somewhat forlorn/ e-go-better hope. In fact given the ample choice-option of being born in the contemporary Nigeria, newly created beings might protest or be so wary of connecting with the endangered species called Nigerian citizenship. After all, the good and beneficial features of sane nationhood in other climes of less endowed nations are what have been so spiritualised to the height of needless prayer points. Quizzically, do citizens in the Western world of Europe, North America bother any longer, about issues of motor-able roads, electricity supply, clean water, sound and affordable education? True, people deserve the kind of leadership (altruistic and accountable)/rulership (power drunk and kleptomaniac) they are gifted /saddled with. Because in a society where absolutely nothing is taken for granted or treated with annoying levity, none so offered the rare opportunity of governance dare drift off-course the process of consensual nation building as such leaders are made alive by their people’s eternal vigilance.

  Often it may be imperative to go the whole hog in the course of developmental process and in cases of drastic ailments, drastic, not palliative, measures are aptly applied. Perhaps this was what prompted America’s J.F.Kennedy to postulate a patriotic fervency of asking what citizens should do for their nations rather than contrariwise. In a similar vein, it is contended that those who make inevitable/obvious change so difficult indeed pave the way for (avoidable) violence.

  Accordingly, the principles of good character of individual persons interrelate with the abiding societal norms of hard work, placements and adherence to predominant vision for the ultimate benefit to all. Herein, no one, no matter highly endowed, well-heeled or connected, should behave or operate above the regulatory ethos of the society at large. In place of impunity should obligatory adherence to set-rules and adopted laws prevail?

  It was Aristotle, a Greek philosopher of the medieval ages, who put an admonishing motto at the entrance of his reputed Academy(where philosopher-kings were tutored for good governance), let no man without knowledge of arithmetic enter here and what this essentially implied was that the issue of governance was/is an arduous task and mentally challenging. Of late, some pundits on good governance readily flaunt that grey hairs and body weight are measuring indexes of serious-minded leaders because they have to toil through the travails of providing required solutions to knotty problems! Sincerely or otherwise, proactive governance goes beyond possession of paper qualifications, speculative wishes, ascriptive pedigree or mere power grab.

  Just like everything human, legacies can either be bequeathed or squandered. For those who bequeath laudable legacies to their generation(s), their place in history is effusively assured and from time to time, their fame and fortune of emulation would be so conspicuous in their nations’ halls of honour and integrity and this is coupled with their fond memories in the heart of their people.      

  Condemnably, history reserves its garbage heap for such rulers who squander the hope, aspiration and yearnings of their people and what is more, after everything is said and done; wailings, mourning and ultimate damnation deservedly await such folks of evil machinations and misdeeds.

• OMOLADE

gokeomolade@hotmail.com

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