–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Azua ALONU:
And whilst we are still lamenting the doldrums of pain and poverty of our country, light intruded and instinctively we shouted up-nepa, my friend, a top attorney in the city of Asaba, whom I was discussing the parlors state of Nigeria said his children still shout up-nepa like all Nigerian children, the shout we shouted in the sixties and seventies. That shout is a stenchy metaphor of the pitiable, painful condition of our country. That in the darkness which envelopes all areas of our national life, a fire fly becomes our light that excites our mind with such token brightness which mock our helplessness as a nation.
After sixty years of misrule, decadence and political chicanery, Nigeria seems not to have raised her head in the commity of nations, her limbs crippled. We are in the Nigerian ship in the Ukwuani (a tribe in Nigeria) folklore called Ugbo-Sakinya. Everbody kept entering the ship – beautiful and refurnished but have no mobility features. In the folklore, it took a wise man to let them know that the ship has been there for over five hundred years without going anywhere. It took another wiser man to put the things that made the ship move.
The question must be asked: are we in the demobilized Ugbo-Isakinya? Is the little we have achieved in education, health, food security, transport, just a token that is making us shout, up-nepa in those flicker of development. Why is it that the whimsical flimsiness that our leaders say is development is what we are proud of?
Don’t we have capacity for full blown developmental stride? I think we have. What we need right now is a crusader and a revolutionary as our leader who will stop talking the talk of yesterday and mobilize us all for a great future that awaits us. We need the ones who will lead us out of darkness. And in doing so, they should be above board emphasizing excellence, patriotism and purposefulness of goals. This will require the electoral commission to do what it did in Edo State: transparent and fair conduct of election. If the electoral umpire and security agencies will be courageous enough to follow that path even in a presidential election, we would be on the path for a great national rebirth, for it takes a patriot elected by the people and not forced on the people by a god father or a crooked system to carry out reforms.
And when we get such patriot, we will escape the self styled gods who have built shrine for themselves across the nation that our country men go to worship during election and after election. They see themselves as Julius Ceaser, Napoleon Bonapart, Charles, de Gaul, and Bedel Bokassa. They are not interested in being Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela or Murtala Mohammed. They want to be like gods so that we can worship them with our lives. They have gobbled the patrimony of our children and recruited people who acts as attack-dogs whenever we say: we want freedom from their grip. When we say they are hunters and leeches, their slaves and dogs will talk down at us. When we say the money they flaunt are stolen from our treasury, they say, Nigeria’s money is not missing. When they give pittance and crumbs to our people they shout up-nepa, may your days be long and may you continue to give us light like fire-flies. When we tell them that the day for Nigerian’s second independence is ripening, they check how urgent we look. They do not know that you can’t measure the discontent of a man in his face. The great william shakespere said it years ago.
But even as we celebrate our sixty years of independence, it seems to me that 2023 will hand over a shocker to those who think they will continue to manipulate the destiny of Nigeria, Edo people spoke, Ondo people will speak but the greatest thing will be Nigerian people speaking In 2023. I believe that president Buhari will leave a legacy of allowing the Nigerian people – the ordinary people elect their leaders. The manipulators would have been thoroughly vanquished before 2023. Those who worship in the shrine of those opportunistic gods would have recovered themselves from the years of assault. Some of the best people are already coming together for Nigeria’s rescue. This patriotic enterprise will not stop until Nigeria is under the leadership of a leader chosen by Nigerians, not a leader chosen on the basis of religion or ethnicity. Not a leader chosen by one god father-god. We have had enough of impudence and recklessness as if Nigeria does not belong to us. We belong to Nigeria and Nigeria belongs to us. Those who loot our palm nuts to far away corners of the globe in one celebratory conquest will soon discover that their time is up. And if they think they can throw some nuts at us and shout in great excitement: ‘up-nepa’ they would have been wasting their time for it is a disdainful pyrrhic triumph.
I remember some years ago, the respected Nigeria Journalist Dele Giwa who was killed with parcel bomb said that Nigeria has reached a state of unshock-ability. I think what the accomplished Nigeria journalist did not know is that Nigerian’s simply anesthetized their shock system so they could go through the traumatic times before them, after which they will get ready to take their country back.
Today, our condition as a country is debilitating and frightening but because we have a flaming hope, we will overcome. What it requires is just a steadfast reliance on the faith we have in Nigeria, a knowledgeable, patriotic and passionate leader.
Happy Birthday Nigeria!
- Azua ALONU
Poet and Vice Chairman
Delta literary Forum