How can you have a National Honours ceremony in which there are no medals to be given out? And then to crown it all, this year it has emerged that the government will not be providing any hotel beds for the distinguished necks to rest in preparation for the ceremony. The government has indeed gone mad!
Every year, because of me, hundreds of Nigerians earn congratulatory pages in the newspapers. Professional politicians and moneybags love me, but Chinua Achebe doesn’t (sad face). I belong to Nigerians, but I am supposed to be Chinese. By the end of today there will be a little over 4,000 of me in circulation. Who am I? You don’t know? You’re not very smart, are you? I am a National Honours Medal, duh.
One other fact about me: I am the most insulted National Honours Medal in the world. Far too many people running their mouths and saying I should be hounded out of circulation, I should be abolished, I should be driven into extinction. What have I done to deserve this?
When he first rejected me in 2004, Chinua Achebe said, in a letter to President Obasanjo: “Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours List.”
Please help me ask the revered Professor: Am I Obasanjo? Am I the one who organised policemen and thugs (same difference, by the way) to invade the Government House in Awka and kidnap Dr. Ngige? Am I the one that made Nigeria too dangerous for silence? So why am I the one suffering the abuse?
As if that embarrassment was not enough Achebe finished me again in 2011. As in! Now the Congress for Political Complaining (CPC) is describing the 2012 list of people on whose necks I will be hanging as “an attestation to the decadence and show of shame of the Jonathan regime.”
What does that even mean? When did I become the benchmark for measuring administrative and moral decadence?
I think I know why. It is envy, plain and simple. This year only 149 Nigerians, out of 160 million – that is one person per million – will be enjoying the privilege of having me hang upon their necks. Now that is rare. It is a huge privilege. You can therefore see why people are hating. There are people whose necks will never see those medals, instead of accepting their fate and rejoicing with the lucky few, they’re doing what Nigerians like to do: hate. Hiss.
You won’t imagine that someone suggested that in place of me many of those distinguished necks should have guillotines hanging on them. Imagine that? Imagine the bitterness?
To make matters worse, last year was a huge disaster for me. There weren’t enough of me to go round all the distinguished necks being honoured. Several necks had to go home disappointed and await my arrival by dispatch. What should be a source of pride to me – the fact that I’m manufactured abroad (no, I won’t comment on those China rumours!) – has been turned into a source of embarrassment.
Now you can see why I’m not happy. My enemies hate me, even those who should be my friends, the ones who compile all those long lists and award contracts for my existence, even those ones are turning out to be enemies. How can you have a National Honours ceremony in which there are no medals to be given out? And then to crown it all, this year it has emerged that the government will not be providing any hotel beds for the distinguished necks to rest in preparation for the ceremony. The government has indeed gone mad!
Let me use this opportunity to sound a note of warning to all concerned. Things cannot continue like this. I am not the one who destroyed Nigeria. I will not allow myself to be used by all haters intent on scoring cheap political points. If you have any problems with Nigeria please take it up with Nigeria.
I am proud of who I am. My colleagues around the world – Olympic medals, Nobel medals, etc etc – do not have to suffer this kind of abuse and psychological intimidation. They hold their heads high, they are valued. The President didn’t know what he was saying last year when he said “even the most celebrated Nobel peace prize is being criticized so definitely you will expect criticisms.”
Rubbish. Compared to me the Nobel Prize is living large, basking in adulation. If you need further evidence of the fact that the President hardly ever knows what he’s talking about, listen to this, also from his speech last year: “A welder, electrician or anybody who by virtue of what you do, you’ve done it with much dedication and impacted society significantly, can be honoured by the president”. Join me in saying “God forbid bad thing!”
The day I have to hang from the necks of hungry, inconsequential welders and electricians is the day thunder should fire me dead and smelt my metal to feed the furnaces of hellfire! Amen!
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.