By Promise Adiele
The notion of a messiah, a saviour who can deliver humanity from the throes of ruthless truculent fate, has always engaged the creative fancy of many literary artists. In what looks like a response to Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, Hope Eghagha in his play Death, Not A Redeemer interrogates the traditional practice where someone must die to save a community. While Soyinka, through his peculiar dramatic strategies insist that the lascivious Elesin Oba as a horseman to the late king, must die to save his community, Eghagha through theatrical flourishes demonstrates that the horseman, in this case, the deviant Chief Karia reserves the right to reject death to save his community. For Soyinka, the core of the messianic enterprise must include death but for Eghagha, one shouldn’t die to be a messiah. Perhaps, Eghagha agrees with Sophocles that a messiah can be alive and still save his people. Oedipus as a messiah didn’t die but lived to destroy the Sphinx that troubled Thebes. However, as a Messiah, Jesus Christ had to die to save humanity. Circumstances dictate whether a messiah needs to die or stay alive to accomplish his purpose.
Nigeria is desperately searching for a messiah, someone to pull the country out of an irredeemable socio-political and economic morass. Honestly, Nigeria exigently needs a messiah. It is improbable that out of an estimated 200 million people, there is no messiah in this country. We need a messiah and we wouldn’t mind if that messiah is ready to die or stay alive as long as the country is saved. A messiah ultimately becomes a martyr whether dead or alive. Speaking about a messiah, 2023 is around the corner when it is hoped, Nigerians will file out to the polls to elect a new leader to steer the ship of state. That our country has survived eight years of Buhari’s absent leadership is more reason why we need a true messiah to return the country to normalcy. More than ever before, Nigerians must play a huge role in determining who will emerge as the messiah we have all been waiting for. May we not wait for nothing, like the two vagabonds Estragon and Vladimir in Samuel Beckett’s Absurdist play Waiting for Godot. They waited for a messiah but in the end, the messiah didn’t show up.
In our search for a messiah, we must be wary of those who suffer from a common psychological disorder widely known as the Messianic Complex. Those who suffer from the Messianic Complex erroneously believe that they are the only ones gifted with the abilities to save humanity.
Currently, Nigeria’s political firmament is swarming with characters of different sheds and persuasion. In our search for a messiah, let us be wise and adopt the principle of elimination to reject those who do not qualify as a messiah. A thief can never be a messiah. Cosmic elements and the spiritual process abhor the involvement of a sullied being in the messianic process. Someone who has stolen the people’s money, enmeshed in different implicating economic and financial categories, morally deficit with a past filled with misleading information about age and academic record can never be a messiah. Otherwise, our country will inevitably sink in the middle of the ocean or like an aeroplane, crash before it takes off. As a teacher, I want to give my readers a simple assignment today. This assignment will count in your Continuous Assessment, therefore, you are strongly advised to participate in it. Get a pen and a clean sheet of paper, write down the names of all the politicians in Nigeria jostling to become president next year. Also, write down the names of all the Senators and members of the House of Representatives. Write down the names of all the state governors in Nigeria. Then, quietly begin to tick any one of them with a case to answer at EFCC regarding stolen, embezzled public funds. Any one of them that has a case with EFCC can never be the messiah Nigeria is waiting for. The heavens will protest the emergence of a thief as a messiah. Never mind a declaration by a certain victim of neurosis that once a thief joins APC, the person’s sins will be forgiven. Please don’t ask me why PDP politicians have almost taken over APC. E get why o!
To be a messiah, a candidate must be without blemish. Elesin Oba couldn’t play his divine role as a messiah because he defiled himself by getting sexually involved with a seventeen-year-old girl. The journey of a messiah is a spiritual one and must not be hindered by the mundane concerns of our ephemeral world. A messiah must have an impeccable academic record devoid of manipulations, controversies, and dubiety. Many of us thought that Buhari would be the messiah but unfortunately, events have shown that he didn’t possess the health and academic qualifications to be a messiah. The Nigerian messiah must be healthy with exquisite character, above board, and ready to pay any price to save his people. That price could be the ultimate sacrifice, death. If you honestly do the assignment I just gave you, then you will realize that 95% of all the front runners towards 2023 elections, those pretending to be messiahs, are not fit for any public office because their underbelly oozes corruption, theft, self-enrichment, and mindless pillaging of public funds. But if you do this assignment with bias, if you are motivated by greed and materiality, what you will gain from one candidate or another, you are also not qualified to participate in the selection of Nigeria’s next messiah.
The concept of messiahship is not ambiguous. A messiah does not boast. He does not beg. He is meek and gentle. The potential messiah is humble, discreet, prudent, and austere. Flamboyance is never a major item on the CV of a messiah. For anyone to qualify to participate in the selection process of a messiah for Nigeria, that person must necessarily, without condition divest himself/herself of the putrid apparel of ethnicity, religion, political, and economic loyalty. That you have benefitted from someone before monetarily or otherwise does not qualify the person to be a messiah. The leadership of Nigeria should never be an altar of compensation. To do so will be to summarily hand over the future of the country to demons from the netherworld. No, our search for a messiah must be more rooted in ideological convictions transcending mere temporality.
In our search for a messiah, we must be wary of those who suffer from a common psychological disorder widely known as the Messianic Complex. Those who suffer from the Messianic Complex erroneously believe that they are the only ones gifted with the abilities to save humanity. They arrogate to themselves that saviour mentality without first doing a thorough self-examination to know if they are qualified or not. Victims of the Messianic Complex are rude and disobedient to the manifestations of the Divine Order. They are also deluded by their wealth, wrongly believing that wealth answereth all things. At this point, it is easy for Nigerians to identify some parallels between my deployment of the Messianic Complex and politicians in Nigeria posturing to occupy various government houses as governors and the biggest one, Aso Rock. Messianic Complex victims are loquacious – they talk too much and brazenly expect everyone to accept them for one reason or another. They claim to know everything but know nothing. These people are everywhere, especially in Nigeria’s political theatre.
Have we found the messiah we are looking for or should we continue the search? Mind you, 2023 is almost here. We should NEVER experiment with the future of this country again as we did in 2015. The time for experiment is over. It is either we find the messiah or we raise our hands and echo, to your tents O Nigerians! Please kindly play your part in the process of locating and supporting the Nigerian messiah. He is somewhere in this country or even outside the country, who knows. But I am sure that God can never be unrighteous to have 200 million people in one country without a messiah among them. If we need to pray, let us pray. If we need to consult the oracles, by all means, let us do it. Nigerians need a messiah, yes, we surely do.
Promise Adiele PhD
Mountain Top University