From the beginning of my writing this column, I have tried to refrain from commenting or writing on current national issues or gossip. The reason being that most of the burning and trending issues are symptoms of our collective malaise. Therefore, treating these symptoms is like scratching the surface of a problem without attacking the root cause.
The nucleus of Nigeria’s problem is ignorance and hunger. The former of these problems leads to foolishness, while the latter leads to frustration. Foolishness and frustration are what make men react or behave in the most unbelievable of ways. They reduce man to beasts. In fact, I believe that one or two of these two problems will always be inherent in any problem world over.
These problems manifest themselves in several vices and forms. For example, the kidnap of the Chibok girls, the incessant bombing and killing by Boko Haram, the ineptitude of our current politicians, the staggering increase in exam malpractice, electoral violence, kidnapping, raping of young and underage girls by much older men, our heavy reliance on importation as a nation, our overly deep respect to please men of GOD rather than GOD, selfishness, alcohol addiction, sexual perversion etc. All these stem from ignorance or hunger. Therefore, I strongly believe if we can solve the problem of ignorance and hunger, one will be greatly saved from making the same mistake Esau made.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Esau. In fact, a majority of us laugh at his foolish decision of selling his birthright for a plate of porridge. But the real joke is that right now, Esau is laughing at us as we daily make debilitating choices for a plate of porridge. If we doubt this, then how can a majority of Nigerians decide that the solution the problem of their immediate frustration with the present government is giving their impending votes to Buhari? Before I deconstruct the risk of collecting Buhari’s porridge of change and his person, I make bold to state that nobody – I repeat, nobody – can really solve your frustration for you. Nobody can really solve your problem of hunger and ignorance. No doubt, people can help you, but no one can unilaterally solve all your problems, not even GOD.
In solving these problems, the riskiest part of it is finding a shortcut. It’s in the quest of a shortcut to solve the hunger (frustration) and ignorance (foolishness) problems that men usually sell their birthright (value/destiny). Esau became a nonentity or missed out on his real blessing by solving his hunger problems through a shortcut. And Nigerians are about to make the same mistake in the forthcoming election by jumping from frying pan (Jonathan) into fire (Buhari), simply because they are looking for an easy way out of the frying pan of frustration and hunger. This is why I will say, it is better to remain hungry or even die of starvation than to sell your birthright. If you doubt this, ask Mr. Esau for the full details.
It is time for Nigerians to calm down and try not to solve their problem of frustration in a hurry. If we calm down, it will give us the opportunity to be a little introspective and see that the real demon is not really Jonathan but ourselves.
It is said that every nation get the kind of leaders that they deserve. If there is any iota of truth in that statement, which I believe there is, and if we recognize that truth, we would be sitting somewhere to reject the two leaders presented to us by the two leading parties. We would sit down to ask ourselves if these two are the best that can be offered. We would ask if Buhari isn’t the same man that benefited from a coup that toppled a legitimately elected government. We would ask if Jonathan isn’t the same man that allowed his wife to go loose in her attempt to use five legislators to unseat a speaker with the majority of the legislators on his side. We would ask ourselves how could a man posing as the change we need now, not have written any decent book dissecting our political problems as a nation after 30 years of being ousted out of power. We would ask ourselves how could another man lead a nation for four years and yet not find a robust solution to the power problem he swore to solve in 2011.
If we recognize the truth, we would ask ourselves how can a man, who has not publicly apologized for heading a de-facto government in a nation of free men, be allowed to contest in an election – any election – whereas the noblest thing expected of him is to form an NGO that would campaign on the fatality of military intervention in a civil society. We would ask why a man who could not honour a gentleman’s agreement he made that he would not contest in the 2015 election, be a major candidate without apologizing for not honouring his word.
But alas! We Nigerians are not true to ourselves. We do not recognize the truth. We are always looking for the easiest way out of our quagmire, and that is why we have ended up having two liabilities as our major candidates. Is it not a shame to you and me?
I think it is time we went back and do a personal self appraisal and told ourselves some home truths. I think it is time we went back and become better people so we can produce better leaders, or have the moral courage to vote for good and honest men and women without batting an eye lid and without ethnic or religious sentiments. I think it’s high time we realized we cannot fight corruption when we are yet to be thoroughly true in our day-to-day personal dealings. I think it’s high time we realized we cannot change anybody but ourselves, and nobody can change us but ourselves. I think it’s time we realized that morally deficient men and unrepentant usurpers will always remain true to type: winds that bring no rain.
To this end I say, Jonathan is not the messiah we are waiting for, and neither is Buhari. The change we are actually clamouring for is inside us.
May GOD open our eyes of understanding.
Written by Tobe Osigwe