If I die today
MOST religious doctrines enjoin the faithful that they should remember to count their days so that they might constantly and continually remind themselves that their physical presence on the surface of planet earth diminishes by each day. That is for every day they live, their longevity reduces.
This admonition is quite germane to the clamour for ethical revolution and civic reorientation now gathering momentum in the land as panacea to the redemption of our lost cherished values as a people. Evidence in the current clime convinces all of us that the solution to the dreaded corruption that is about to send Nigeria to her grave will not be found in convictions and jail houses but rather in the rehabilitation of our wobbled values.
What is playing out in Nigeria today, and in Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Gbendu Waga Banza’s world is the fact that quite a number of those privileged to have received the favours of their Creator never imagine that one day they shall close their eyes and breathe their last air! It simply does not dawn on most in the position of wealth, power, authority and influence that their days on this side of the Continuum are critically and clinically numbered by the Supreme Intelligence that sent them forth.
People give appointments for meetings to hold in a year’s time, tell you authoritatively that they would be in Japan in six months time, be in the UK in three months time and give a date for the house-warming of a house which is yet to have a foundation, and you wonder if such characters were responsible for their own creation.
Nigerians of all ages and of all situations in life must begin to learn that they are not in control of when Death, the final terminator of everyone’s physical presence on earth, will strike. Once we are very conscious of this fact and we keep it in our mind every blessed day, we shall limit our gluttony, moderate our acquisition madness, reduce our selfishness and self-centeredness and breed a more humane society.
This piece is not a sermon. And it should not be so considered. It is about changing our value system. It is about changing our world-view. It is about realising that each and every one of us reading this column may not wake up tomorrow morning. It is about waking up to the reality that whatever top position you hold in the society, you may not occupy that chair beyond the next couple of hours. This is the mantra that will inculcate in us the consciousness that all the wealth we are accumulating may really not belong to us beyond the moment of our last breath over which we have no control.
Each time I am about to leave my residence, I take a look round the premises and say to myself that I may not return to the cherished building or the beautiful family it has been my luck to share the premises with. Every human being departing his or her place of abode should leave with the consciousness that he or she may never return to the place. People travel from point A to point B in the full hope and expectation that they would return to point A but some never make it point B talk less of returning to point A.
Each and every one of us may now begin to say to themselves: If I die today…
What will happen to my three palatial buildings in Dubai? If I die today what will happen to my mansions in the U.S. and South Africa? If I die today what will happen to my private yacht and my fleet of exotic cars? What will happen to the millions and billions stacked away in Luxembourg and Switzerland? Who will inherit the billions in Saudi Arabia? By the way, none of my children is in possession of the codes attached to my several accounts.
If I die today what am I likely to be remembered for? Will my fat bank accounts speak for me? Will my 74 wives follow me to the grave? Will my kingly crown be buried with me? Or is it my good deeds and unblemished character that will speak for me and immortalise my name?
Please, take a deep breath and survey with your mind’s eye all your worldly possessions, including human beings you do not own but always delude yourself that you own. Do a mental calculation of your humongous wealth. Remind yourself of the important Chair you occupy in your Conglomerate. You are a President, a Prime Minister, A Senate President, a Chief Judge, a multi-billionaire and you think you possess the power of life and death over some fellow human beings. Are you dead certain you will live till the end of today? This poser may appear simplistic and pedestrian. But it is because this simple question is glossed over by the majority of human kind that the world is in the sorry state it is in today.
It is the non-realisation of the fact that the owner of life and living can take it without notice that makes most of us play God. And you are left to wonder why some ‘big’ people are the way they are. This non-realisation may also have been responsible for the huge disconnect between the minority haves and the overwhelming majority have-nots which in turn is responsible for the suppression and repression of the underprivileged and the uncaring criminality of the down-trodden. If the poor cannot sleep, the rich cannot have their snore!
We are enjoined to live each day as it were our last but more than that, we are to live each day with the realisation that we may not be privileged to see the next day. With such a realisation and mindset, no one is likely to cling to live as if one determines the length of one’s tenancy on the earth surface. And if you who erroneously and arrogantly believe you are the super landlord of about 50 houses dotted around the globe realise that even your own tenancy is not permanent and can be terminated without a minute notice you will have a different outlook on life.
Please ask yourself: If I die today…
Let me pay tribute to all my relations, close friends, great men and women, and even the poor who never enjoyed any peace while on earth who have journeyed forth to the world beyond.