Letter from the son of man: Nigerians are not the problem

by ‘Lakunle Jaiyesimi



Dear Hannibal,

It is sad that the world, as used to be, has changed or keeps changing. Though, maybe this change is expected as there is nothing constant in life, even the invisible ropes that hold the spherical earth in space move from place to place, time after time. If our long-dead ancestors return for a visit to earth, they should be shocked at what we have turned the world into, chasing the vanities that printed or virtual monies grant those that out-compete themselves at living out luxuries that have outlived greater past competitors while reflected on the walls are shadows of poverty, hunger, strife, wars, blood and death. These visiting ancestors will marvel at man’s inhumanity to man, the appropriation of the commonwealth of a people left to device all means to survive even if it takes resorting to killing selves and wielding all manners of survival tactics. Who cares? In fact, the commonwealth is sometimes used to procure weapons with which the people, the owners of the commonwealth, use to nearly annihilate themselves.

It is sad! Visit the streets and the jungles and behold how people who can barely feed themselves flaunt sophisticated weapons, which are ultimately deployed against one another, while the privileged, by virtue of being empowered by those whose commonwealth is stolen, lock themselves away in the midst of stolen treasures behind barricaded walls, erected by bricks and the chests of security personnel paid with crumbs from the commonwealth. Against who? I suppose against the appointed day when the impoverished will have nothing else to eat than the commonwealth-enriched. It may just be that this appointed day seems as elusive as ever. There are, however, quite a number of excuses the impoverished articulate to keep themselves insanely at one another’s jugulars including tribalism, religion, commerce and whatever is fitting, concernedly. While the privileged class largely does not care about these divisive factors, they are increasingly united by the common lust for more treasures.

From the foregoing, I have no choice than to agree and similarly disagree on different fronts with a statement you made in your last letter that the actions of “Leaders such as Laurent Gbagbo, Robert Mugabe…and their ilk lent credence to the wide speculative assumptions that the black man is incapable of leading his own affairs and must either be coaxed or persuasively manipulated to achieve such ends.” I disagree on the ground that though quintessential leadership is a controversial subject, dangling between subjectivity, objectivity and fine points in between, the world should not be blinded to the responsibilities of leaders to their followers, essentially revolving around welfarism where satisfied followers, by choice, remain loyal to their leaders. This ilk of persons as above listed cannot be called leaders because, beyond the concerns for a welfarist approach to effecting their responsibilities, they have chosen the animalistic tilt that has never failed should the aim of such so-called leaders be aggrandizement of resources and arrogation of power over as many years as the impoverished will allow them to continue without question or the God of the impoverished will look on before taking their lives. No one questions them unless something drastic, almost divine, takes place; a good example being Sanni Abacha’s sudden demise.

However, let me agree with the statement not for credulity but the fact that leadership of necessity is like a ship conveying both the leaders and the led, being significant stakeholders. That “…speculative assumptions that the black man is incapable of leading his own affairs…” will continue to be a truism until the leaders and the led adapt themselves to their acquired roles of respectively serving rightly and demanding to be served rightly. Both ways, the constitutional “we, the people” must become and remain sacrosanct. Unfortunately, what do we have? It brought a tear, almost a lasting one, to my eyes reading you say very honestly those true words,  “Need we blame them, when our leaders rather than display us like some invaluable work of arts for exhibition, put us up at market squares to be haggled like some cheap commodities at Ariaria market?” Do ‘leaders’ or these privileged, spoilt politicians, like babies, really care about the consequences of their actions? How will one former public office holder stash away a whooping USD 9.8 million? What happens if every public office holder or every NNPC GMD does the same, like one theft of such an amount was not too much? Do these people care about the consequences of their actions?

We should never stop asking, “What does leadership really entail?” Is it about provision of good examples to emulate for the good of all irrespective of who is providing these examples or about a country’s President ensuring he complies with the mandate of the Federal Character Commission, where representatives of all ethnic groups have, at all particular times, access to the national cake with the unbridled opportunity to cut chunks of it as much as possible?

The presidency’s medical tourist syndrome that has since Yar’adua been a curse, culminating in a sort of national despondency, leaves one wondering if there is a spiritual war against the Nigerian state. Why is it that the shoeless President, who presided over the profligate looting of our common heritage, was singled out from a protracted medical tourism? Was it to afford an adequate supervision of a rampage of looting while any president bent on curbing continued corruption has to be condemned to a sick bed and ultimately, death? Without being unnecessarily superstitious, though such a spiritual dimension to Nigerian woes is highly plausible, the people chose or were chosen for Presidents that have exhausted their physical reliability to lead them. And one wonders, “When will the beautiful ones be born and grow to lead the country to the promised land?”

Sincerely, a good grasp of religious discourse by its very nature eludes me now and then. It takes on a cloak and wraps itself with it and daily adds more cloak until all that is left is an unknown, beckoning especially the gullible to lay before it its life, its treasures and its will and never to look back. Men and women, from time immemorial, have done several unthinkable things in the name of religion, things that years later, they or their descendants live to forever regret; at least, those who acquired a conscience at a point in their journeys. So, just like you, it baffles me how people think they can help a God they barely know.

How was the protest? I hope the fears of the security agencies were unfounded? Did 2baba eventually distance himself from the protest? I am eager to read more about the protest, judging from the success of the 2012 OccupyNigeria protests massively staged against the removal of fuel subsidy. That protest reminds me of the readiness of Nigerian youth to lay down their lives for a course they believe in.

What does Aisha look like? Does she appear like someone who, having lived the best of her life even at her young age, chose to go elsewhere to savour more of the other life? I have asked this because I cannot imagine how N200 will constitute a sufficient motivation for a girl to want to take her own life along with those of others.

I have attached the picture of my streets to show you the state of things and how well or how bad we are faring under the current government. It is almost unbelievable that this street is under the jurisdiction of a supposedly functional local government.

Yours, always,

Son of Man

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail