By Prince Charles Dickson Ph.D
All women think the same things about men… their father is a hero; their son is a genius and their husband is an…
Northwest of Managua, in the city of León, lived the poet Alfonso Cortés (1893–1969), who had been declared ‘mad’ at the age of 34 and chained in his bedroom. Another of Nicaragua’s great poets, Ernesto Cardenal (1925–2020), grew up not far from the home of Cortés. As a child, Cardenal said he used to walk by the Cortés home from the Christian Brothers School and once he saw the ‘poeta loco’ in his chains. A lack of health care condemned Cortés to this humiliation. On one occasion, on his way to see a doctor in Managua, Cortés was driven past a thousand-year-old Genízaro tree in Nagarote, a tree to whom the ‘poeta loco’ wrote a beautiful poem of hope:
I love you, old tree, because at all hours, you generate mysteries and destinies in the voice of the afternoon winds or the birds at dawn.
You who the public plaza decorate, thinking thoughts more divine than those of man, indicating the paths with your proud and sonorous branches.
Genízaro, your old scars where, like an in an old book, it is written
what time does in its constant falling;
But your leaves are fresh and happy and you make your treetop tremble into infinity while humankind goes forward.
What the ordinary Nigerian is doing to the country is as terrible as what we sometimes claim that bad leaders are doing, the ordinary Nigerian forgets that he/she has a responsibility to make Nigeria a better place.
What you guys are doing to this country is as terrible as what you claim the bad leaders are doing.
We all have a responsibility to make Nigeria a better place for all. However, it won’t happen, try as hard for now, the reality is that for an overwhelming majority our politics is based on tribe an ethnicity, religion and faith will tear us apart continuously, and I have more often than not been an advocate of being proud of your identity but not at the expense of it being the basis of opposition.
Comparatively by the age of our democracy we may be doing well, but by the same measure of statehood we are far away. Let me put it this way, we have made considerable inroads if you look at where American democracy was 30 years ago, it’s crudity, the madness and ours. We are doing well, under what many including myself see as burdened conflicts everywhere we have had an election, we are growing, okay, maybe not developing but we are making strides.
The pain is we are stuck in the same narratives, same bad news, same fuel palavar, same cash straps, unemployment, poor infrastructure and a long list I won’t bore us with. We fight both foreign imperialism and local colonialism. Same people who said Jibril was Mr. Buhari still holds opinions and are entitled to it in a blalabu manner, we are stuck with men that are either unifying, taking counsel from mad men, or building on the gains of a ‘ruling’ government that many say have failed. We are really no different, because critical thinking is a task, we turn logic on its head, our way or no way, and many of us keep saying that the problem is not democracy but finding the tailored material that addresses our weight, height and other flamboyance considerations.
I have very often questioned our top-heavy governance structure, so much that I ask who is your councillor, who is your local council chairperson, show me that one local government amongst 776 that is a model, a micro-Dubai, where that locale has the very basic, water, light, good roads, healthcare, education to thrive at a minimal cost.
The above can’t and won’t work, because at the very base, we still do what we do at the top, micromanage the ‘fights. And let me explain here. At the top it’s Muslims versus Christians, South versus North and more… in the state it is for example Catholic versus Anglican or like in Oyo state, it is Ibadan man versus Oke-Ogun man. Protestants versus Pentecostal. Sunnis versus Shiites, natives versus non-natives, till we get to one zone versus another zone. Our dichotomies are battle lines.
One of the many reasons our narratives remain same is we have constantly and consistently refused to understand meritocracy is the only way forward, that although, in a manner that is best understood by deep analytical quest, out there it is easy to be an American, Brit, or any European citizen by merit, and based on the skills set or what you offer that society, not where you come from or your faith.
A society that wants a very good tricycle repairman to repair a Benz, that wants a good doctor for their health but wants his unqualified townsman, or mosque’s man to be commissioner for finance is doomed. And while this is not out of place if you place pragmatism to play, is the cat black or white remains inconsequential as long as it catches the rat. In our case, adding the lack of merit to the fact that this cat is unable to catch a rat, and is also afraid of the rat, how would the narrative change.
We are stuck, by a lack of ideology or at best an ideology of parapoism, crass nepotism, favouritism, and corruption, such that those that want to steal at every given time are more than those that are stealing. Those that want Obi and say he is the best are stealing and want Obi to stop them from stealing, and then others believe that either Atiku or Tinubu is a case of the thief we know. As long as the thief is a member of your masjid, or from your side of the hood. Indeed, we are a people! We may sing Elu Pee, we may chant on his mandate, but unless we change the narrative, we go nowhere, how much longer can we tolerant the present chaos—only time will tell.
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