There’s a chance that you have noticed – amidst everything else that has been happening – that we have been a little bit aloof.
And it must be understandable to you. Think about it. Hurricanes, floods, time travel (and not the Elon Musk kind) back to a past filled with avoidable mistakes and a looming threat of having clueless dictatorial thinking in the top echelons of power – you know, just everything that will make you want to shut the world out and resolve to only deal with the (wo)man in the mirror. Maybe if you were writing this, you’d simply say everything that has been happening across the nation – in year 2017, post military Nigeria – to make you just want to give up.
And we completely understand you. We do because that’s where we too have been for the past few weeks. With the return of the President and the brazen effrontery with which “the handlers” (“the cabal” is such an overused term) put out a most ratarded excuse for us having a President who is understandably still recovering from a bout of illness – undisclosed and possibly terminal, sure, but “illness” is the term we are using. How about the pressures of trying to understand why a Nigerian Army that has clear mandate to eliminate the biggest State enemy – Boko Haram and its one man Army of the “undead” Shekau – will even consider monitoring the free speech of harmless twittering Nigerians. And then worsen a bad situation by delivering a bad afterthought of an excuse for that huge mistake by likening their style of monitoring to what the spies at the NSAs of the world do to the privacy of humans across the universe.
Oh that’s not all! There have been two devastating floods in Benue and Kogi within the space of three weeks – not counting the pressures of empathising with fellow sufferers in Sierra Leone, Houston, Florida, the Caribbeans and wherever Sir Richard Branson’s Island is. Put that on the moral pressure cooker of Evans, the Billionaire kidnapper’s fate – should he or anyone really get the death penalty?
Of course, there’s Kenya and contradictory dilemma of Uhuru Kenyatta’s reaction to the perfectly reasonable nullification of a “free, fair and fishy” Presidential election that returned him to power in the age of citizens’ discord with The Establishment.
The Establishment. We were thinking of how much we need to strike that word when we realised the word “strike” itself needs to take a long sabbatical – especially in the educational and health sectors. It hasn’t always worked and is sure not going to. Not this time – however long indefinite turns out to be this year.
And now, we have a Donald Trump that’s possibly being “covertly drugged” according to his biggest fan, Alex “The Crazy Theorist” Jones. We’d have discarded Mr Jones’ latest theory in the bin, where the leftover Pizzagate of 2016 remains – inconsumable – but we remember this is 2017, the year when Bobrisky was right about saying that people who live under the poverty line (just another name for thousands of Nigerians) will shed 10,000 to watch him talk about characters who are increasingly becoming fictitious. Back to Donald Trump and why it’s a big deal if he’s now being drugged: he seemed perfectly in control of all his faculties when he looked up, with naked eyes, at a total eclipse.
Meanwhile, we are in dire need of a posture instructor ahead of 2019. Even if (s)he can only take on Atiku Abubakar. And in spite of her seemingly crooked stance, we aren’t too worried about Minsiter Jummai Alhassan. At a time when our nascent democracy is under the threat of Decree 34, she’s reminded us of a form of separation – between the duty to vote independently and the commitment to one’s current responsibilities. Not quite Separation of Powers but we’ll take that over drowning in the fears of what the Python Dance II may do to innocent civilians in Abia.
We’ve intentionally skipped out Nnamdi Kanu, and the disunity, lack of peace and progression from a technical recession (or the end of it – after everything that was said and left unsaid last week, it’s hard to tell whether we are in a recession or not). We also skipped out the Arewa Youth and all the other groups and their leaders who seem to swear by the destruction of Nigeria. This is because the ray of sunshine in all of these dark clouds is that we managed to find the strength to learn to dim the bad noise.
Which brings us to the editorial intention behind this. No, we did not choose to list out everything that’s wrong with the world for the sake of it (hard as that may seem to believe). Our intention is to point out all the distractions we have been faced with. It’s true that these are all real problems that have tugged at us, begging for our urgent attention – or begging us to run from it all. But it is also true that it’s all distraction.
If you guessed at the beginning that this is about 2019 and the future that lies ahead of us, you were right. It’s easy to look at all of these and decide to finally take Justin Trudeau’s polite-and-still pending offer. You know history may judge you but you also know that’s history’s problem. You may have also, more than once in the past few weeks, weighed your options and decided never to make a complete fool out of yourself by taking any Nigerian election seriously anymore. All is fair in strife and chaos.
For us, it took the Minister of Women Affairs’ outburst about where her 2019 allegiance lies to wake us up from the depressed/aloof-coloured glasses we have been looking through everything with. It took her open declaration and the almost unnoticeable bravery of it all for us to wake up to the real reality: that we all must now remember where our one true allegiance.
We’ll save you the soul searching and jump to the conclusion here – it’s all nothing that you haven’t seen before and your fear is that come 2019, you’re going to be faced with a Catch 22 (again – if you were one of the undecideds in 2015). And worst yet, America is no longer admitting and England is exiting – hard. So you are stuck. For worse or for worst.
So what if millions of Nigerians threw you under the bus in 2015 by choosing a man who finds it appropriate to joke about running off to another country, leaving us practically where he met us? Also, so what if you picked a Change that hasn’t happened?
If we have learnt anything from having Trump around and the Joel Osteens of this world, it’s that the Hurricane is not the enemy. And we must look beyond the distracting floods and decide to rebuild/partake in rebuilding even when no one has promised that there won’t be anymore hurricanes to destroy it all.
Think of the fact that Kenyans are going to have to go through it all twice and in one year – without any assurances that it will be better the next time.
It does not matter what the Buhari-administration does about the striking doctors or lecturers right now. It shouldn’t matter that Babachir Lawal has been swept under the rug and all the tears wept over Elzakzaky’s unfair treatment have gone unnoticed or that we can no longer tell truth from fiction in a complicated war against corruption.
All that matters is that you are still here and even though this is premature – by two years, no less – remember that only you can decide where your true allegiance lies.
Chew on that and let it guide you as we begin the ugly and uncertain march to 2019.