By Dele Momidu
Fellow Nigerians, I’m fond of telling anyone who cares to listen that time is my biggest enemy. Please, wait and hear me out. As the saying goes “time waits for no one!” I agree, absolutely.
As I inch towards my 60th birthday in May 2020, I have come to the sudden and shocking realization that I’m running frenetically against time. Take it or leave it, I have spent a substantial chunk of my adult life playing or talking politics. Since 1978, when I entered University of Ife, as a pioneer JAMBITE, our dear beloved country has known no peace. And I have been privileged to be a participant in, and commentator on, some of the major events that have culminated in the sorry pass that we have found ourselves. That was some 42 whopping years ago. It is still like yesterday, particularly as the kind of development that we as young adolescents envisioned and dreamt about has simply not happened on the infrastructural and economic scene. On the political we have simply totally regressed and our judiciary seems to be following suit, because our Judges appear to have forgotten about the legal aphorism that justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. Simply put, there are occasions when technical justice is no justice, especially when adequate and proper explanation for lay people, as lawyers like to call us “unlearned” simple and ordinary folks.
Thus, I have come to the unassailable realisation that Nigeria may be jinxed and irredeemable and it is, therefore, a total waste of time and resources struggling to rescue it from the demons of power who have no desire to relinquish it without being cajoled and eventually humbled. Sadly, my compatriots who should be most aggrieved, and who should take the bull by the horns have long since been compromised. They have succumbed to greed and selfishness, forgetting that it is not only their future they have mortgaged, but it is also the future if their children that they have sold for the proverbial thousand pieces of silver. I am not just talking about fellow politicians, activists and critics, but also the massive masses of our populous country. It is simply a great pity. The net result is that I was once upset, then angry and even tormented and bitter about our sad and unfortunate situation, but I’m now perfectly and fully at peace.
Yes. I believe, I have served my country well, in my private capacity. I have given a little of my life to loving and caring for Nigeria and it’s people. On several occasions, I burnt my fingers in the process. I have no regrets. In as many lifetimes as possible, I will still love to be a Nigerian. You may ask who wants to come back to this troublesome, lawless and crisis-prone clime? I raise up my hands, proudly. Nigeria is one of the greatest countries on earth despite our many woes. If you know Nigeria as well as I do, you must fall in love with this pristine nation of nationalities. For me, our greatest strength is in our population and diversity. The issues which now seemingly want to rend us asunder are but the handiwork of a few misguided and disgruntled people. Despite crying and pretending to be patriotic, it is clear that this is not their agenda. Some are clueless, some have lost the plot and there are even some who notoriously and mysteriously combine both traits. The truth is that we all get angry and frustrated because we think, and know, we can do much better than the nonsense we currently exhibit. Unfortunately, those of us who can, are blocked by the mediocre ones who hold the reins of power and delight in being called fancy names.
Anyway. I rescued myself last week when I finally decided to go on voluntary sabbatical. I have received a deluge of calls and messages, asking me not to give up on Nigeria. Truth is I have not and I cannot. Mine is just a healthy decision to keep my sanity. Our leaders are not willing to listen to any admonition. And when the falcon can no longer hear the falconer, things are likely to fall apart, ultimately. Their followers and supporters are even worse. They are totally deaf to reason, if not dumb to talk the kind of rubbish and gibberish that sometimes speed almost involuntarily from their mouths like vomit from a drunkard. The biggest sufferers are the greatest fanatics in Nigeria. They have been brainwashed and hoodwinked to give up on their personal lives and those of their descendants, and they are willing and ready to drag you and them along to Golgotha. As far as they are concerned what pleases their masters must please you as well, although it is obvious to anyone even a toddler, that there is no gain, but doom in such endeavour. They are like sheep being led to the slaughter and the cruel, devastating part is that lions and tigers have been conscripted into their folly! Thank God for leopards, if you catch my drift.
I feel a sense of relief. I will work harder and play better. The governments of Nigeria can do whatever they please without thinking of me as one of their enemies, when I am truly their friend. Their trolls and minions can tweet their usual trash and crassness and craziness, I care less. When tomorrow comes, as it is certain it must, by the grace of God, we shall be here, arms akimbo, and nose tilted skywards and ask, çest finis? Is that all you could muster? Ah so you were not that hard or strong, just forming and posing! Se o tan!!!
Oh ancient of days? How did we manage all this while without joining this rat race? I look at these men and women and wonder what drives people into this state of stupor. As you know, I relate to all relatables. Not a big deal for me. However, the people of power usually labour in vain. They do not have what it takes. They suffer from huge inferiority complexes and try to cover it up with their egocentricities. But it is a mere sham, a charade which eventually falls like pack of cards blown away, pouf, by a mere puff of wind. What they expect is not usually what they get. Some of them have targets of the loot they think can help them in arrears and in advance, but it never works that way. Others merely want the apurtenances of power without the wherewithal to appreciate or value what power really is. In the end they are clutching at straws and achieve and gain nothing. In many instances they even retain zero. According to the title of a James Hadley Chase novel, Come Easy Go Easy. Most of them are not able to sustain any business. They lack the knowledge or experience to do so. Their foray into politics and government, which should have assisted them in making something of their lives, is just for them an opportunity for mindless looting and brigandage and no lessons are learnt. There is a poverty of thought, ideas and action. This is why they have to remain perpetually in power, and like scavengers pick the crumbs they can find and continue to hope against hope. Hope which can only be unfulfilled, because they have dashed the hope of the masses, if not themselves, on the altar of their avarice. God does not reward such kind of conduct. It would be a different story if they at least strived to leave truly lasting epitaph that would enhance the lives of the impoverished citizens of this great country instead of fostering and foisting upon them not only untold hardship, but also grievous gloom.
I know so many politicians who are only watching and waiting for the next candidates to emerge and the next race to commence. Some are perennial and serial contestants. They have tried and sampled all parties. There are no principles or policies, just personal vested interests. Some have done several laps and reinvented themselves and their roles in order to remain politically relevant. Oga, what exactly do you want? What are you chasing or what is chasing you? Is it by force to be in power? Why must the world stand still because of a few of you? Must Nigeria feed you and yours till eternity? When will you stop being parasitic? Do you realise there is life outside power? In case you don’t know, I wish to assure you that life outside power is actually sweeter, if you can endure the vagaries of life and you have done your bit whilst in power to put down proper systems and structures.
I have never been in power but I’m able to create my own government. I’m able to sleep and wake up mostly on my own terms. I am not hitched to any politician or hooked to any government. Not that power is not sweet but freedom is sweeter. I can take off and go wherever I want and do whatever I want. I am not answerable to any person or entity that doesn’t even know what they wish to make me answerable to. I wish to state matter-of-factly that you don’t need too much stress in your life. So, let me tell you that I wish to enjoy my sabbatical. I will continue to educate myself and, in the process, educate and entertain you about happenings around the world. Life is too short for anybody to be bogged down by the nonsense we continue to witness in our country and the debilitating effect that this has on body and mind. I promise, you will discover a new me and, hopefully through me, a new you. Charlatans and scammers will not hold me down or plague me and I pray that neither will they do the same for you or afflict you. Let us go on a voyage of discovery together. It promises to be exciting and exhilarating.
I believe the time has come to make that conscious effort to play our parts the way we know best. Media is my own forte. I plan to continue celebrating the best of Africa to the world. Please, watch out. There is plenty to enjoy in the coming weeks and months. We shall accept whatever the governments of our nation have to offer and leave then to their shenanigans. We will absorb anything they throw at us with the shrug of our shoulders. We will remain undaunted knowing that there is a time and season for everything. If they think and behave like all is well, so be it. That’s my new attitude. You’re free to join me or kill yourself with heartache. But as for me and my house, we shall continue to serve our Lord and Saviour.
The time shall come when we will return from sabbatical and rise with the rest of our people at the outset of some fresh dawn for our fabulous country.
In essence, we shall play our part and leave the rest.
-Dele Momodu, publisher of Ovation, writes for Thisday