Thursday, 9 January 2014

I Cannot Forget 2013

I Cannot Forget 2013
Remember not to forget!
As we step into this new year, I recall that the British, having conquered the southern and northern protectorates of what has come to be known today as Nigeria, on the 1st day of January, 1914 (which is, by the way, the very day the first commercial air flight took place in the US), officially cobbled this country together, thus making it a centenary yesterday. Therefore, it is only fitting to wish Nigeria and all of us Nigeria a happy centenary, inspite of the gloom that hovers over the nation and the reticence with which many Nigerians, and even non-Nigerians, are wont to view this milestone for very real reasons. Indeed some quarters have submitted that why Nigeria has failed to forge as a nation during these hundred years of existence is easily traceable to that event, a century ago, when peoples were forced into cohabitation without their consent. Reasonable as that sounds, it has proven to be rather simplistic in the light of the fact that many other countries with similar credentials have navigated the initial inconveniences and stand strong and tall today. Very few nations can beat their chests and claim that they naturally evolved, without any such forced human interventions as wars, conquests, colonialism, forced subsumption and “forced marriages” like ours. The difference is that while others decidedly decided to forge ahead with nation building, some, like ours, threw away their common humanity and humanness to the dogs, thus, our lot today.
For any individual, institution or nation to make progress in life, they cannot afford to ignore their past, advertently or inadvertently. If they do so, it is at their peril. Nigeria has continued to do so. Events continue to happen in this country that we, our leadership in particular, should learn from in order to more properly order our nationhood journey, if not for ourselves and today, for our children and tomorrow, but we keep going on like a fool with his brains in his stomach. We go the polls and still allow the travesties that we have seen to continue to happen, Anambara State, for example. We do same things and expect different results.
But we must not forget. I, for one, will not forget 2013, for the good, the bad and the ugly. I will not forget that in 2013, the PDP, a party that has had privilege and bounteous grace to lead this country into the bright future hoped for but has severally failed and with impunity, is gradually beginning to sing its swansong owing to self-inflicted wounds. I will never squander gracious opportunities. I will not forget that in 2013, a possibly real opposition is finally threatening the PDP. Yet I will not forget that so far, this opposition, the APC, is not proving to be any much different from the ruling party given the fact that they are yet to offer Nigerians anything else but the desire to upstage their rival. Good as that in itself might be, I see many who plundered and riddled this nation moving into the APC in droves and I can’t help but conclude that they are only changing garbs.
I will not forget the cowardly slaughter of innocent students in the College of Agric, Yobe State, by the Boko Haram insurgents in September, 2013. Whatever their cause is, I will never sympathize with such groups whose actions show them as not recognizing God in fellow human beings. Yet I will not forget, in May of 2013, the state of emergency declared on the same insurgency. In my little sphere of influence, I will not allow injustice to fester to the point of de-robing man of dignity, for it to bring out the animal in him only for me to in turn fight.
Tertiary institutions were on strike for the most of 2013. I will not forget that for the sad implications to every facet of our national life. Nor will I forget the mess that our aviation sector churned out: the air mishaps, the ghastly shame that is little Daniel Ihekina’s trip in the purported tyre compartment of an Arik airplane from Benin to Lagos, and the brazenness that is Oduah-gate. All these speak to the insensitivity of leadership to the reality and future of the nation.
How can I forget the hypocrisy that followed Oshomole’s encounter with the widow or the hypocrisy that is Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan, true as the content may be? I will seek to be true to myself at all times and always seize the moment.
Finally, I will not forget the 20th day of December, 2013, when right in my car at about 9:00am, my father breathed his last enroute hospital. Three days later, we interred him, thus, effectively rendering me the living patriarch of our Zwahu lineage.
May we never forget for good.
A prosperous and happy new year is my wish for you.

(Published on BLUEPRINT Newspaper, Thursday Jan 2, 2014)

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