“Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!”
- Oscar Wilde
Because I was going bananas, I thought I was right. I did not mind the gap. I have been lost in the gap between communication and understanding. Until now, I did not know how much I needed to know before I knew how little I know.
I was like a housefly fluttering inside a closed bottle for a long time. When the bottle’s cover was finally removed, I did not know that I was free to fly out. I kept flying inside the bottle.
I used to think that what was important was reforming and restructuring Nigeria so that power would no longer be concentrated at the center. For long, I had wished that people in the hinterlands of Nigeria would grow at their own pace and control their own resources and environment. I used to think that it would help bring about genuine leadership responsive to the people if the power of the federal government was limited. I even let myself believe that it would spur competitions across the board.
I thought the storm was perfect- that we were at the dawn of something drastic. I thought that the government was irredeemably corrupt and unjust. I thought members of the elite were no longer going to defend a government that was putting the future of Nigeria on the auction block. I thought a cross section of Nigerians saw what I saw. But I was wrong. I was myopic. Even at this old age, I allowed “youthful exuberance” to ruin my mental state.
I did not know that what really mattered was that a humble man named Goodluck Jonathan, who comes from my side of the country, and is a Christian, like me, is president. I did not know that having a man of his caliber, with a PhD to boot, was what we needed. He will maintain stability and bring about transformational change in Nigeria. He has shown signs of that in the last one year. And now that he has got his own full mandate, he will rock the boat. Like a good sailor that he is, he will paddle the boat in such a way that characters like Tony Anineh, Olusegun Obasanjo and Andy Uba, who in many ways helped him to win the election, will slip out of the boat and into the warm waters of Nigeria where sharks will feast on their bodies.
I was going bananas. But I didn’t need to. After all, Jonathan has appointed an Igbo man as the Chief of Army Staff. He has promised to build the second Niger Bridge. And he has transformed Enugu airport into an International Airport. He also made Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho the Minister for Internal Affairs- the first Igbo man to hold that sensitive post. What else do I want as an Igbo man?
The Chief of Army staff and his brother have shown the advantages of having an Igbo man in such an important post. In Imo State, they are using soldiers to ensure that our beloved son, Gov. Ikedi Ohakim, is reelected governor of the state. They are not going to let the Northerners come and take over Imo State. And my grandson is now guaranteed to be the next Army Chief of Staff - thanks to General Azubike Ihejirika. And with Iheanacho at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, no Igbo man or woman will again be killed in Northern Nigeria.
I can now fly non-stop to Enugu airport from Washington DC. In fact, there is a plan to organize free flights to Enugu on Christmas Day. No more stopping in Lagos to pay taxes to Gov. Babatunde Fashola. What could be better than that?
Also, an indestructible second Niger bridge is in the offing. It is a bridge that no bomb can damage. So why worry?
I have always thought the thousands of deaths on our roads would continue. I thought poor health care would keep killing our people. I thought lack of electric power would persist and continue to hinder growth. I was genuinely worried that members of our political elite were irresponsible. Little did I know that all I was seeing were just rehearsals. The real show starts now that President Jonathan has won a term in office on his own right. Things will improve so dramatically that Nigerians’ new refrain will be, “I told you so.”
I was going bananas. I did not get it. I was worried that 100 years from now, the people who will occupy this territory now called Nigeria will count me as one of those fools who lived in these dark ages. I was concerned that they will ask my grandchildren what I did to make a difference. I was scared that my grandchildren will have nothing good to say about me.
I was going bananas. But now I know I’m the one who was a jerk. I apologize that I stupidly went to school. I am sorry that I listened when my teachers taught the rule of law, due process, equity and justice. I sincerely apologize that I learned something about ethics, about shame and about character. I accepted the rationale behind the sanctity of life. It has become my famished alibi.
I regret that I continue to make a connection between things I do on this earth and the place I shall earn when this life is over. The deceit of my heart is complete.
It is my fault that I listened to my parents. From them, I learnt humility, goodness, decency and love. I learnt that life is best lived when one does things that will enhance the lives of others, especially the next generation. I even believed that “the society we abuse today will take its revenge on our children.” Those senseless words, from another humble politician, Mr. Peter Obi, made me think that “when the premise of an argument is wrong, the conclusion is also wrong.”
It is sad, my friends. It is very sad. For a while, I thought the job of the media was to “comfort the afflicted.” Little did I know that it is only when the afflicted is one of yours. I thought that in the media we go where the truth takes us. Stupid me! Now I know that we go where the fruit takes us.
I was going bananas. A man can survive the failure of his fist, but when his mind capitulates, insanity follows. I have bastardized my responsibility. My soul is as guilty as hell. Therefore, I apologize.
I have stopped reading about the French Revolution. I see a bright light coming from the other end of the tunnel. Because of what happened on Saturday, the abyss has receded. Clean air is pumped into the Nigerian space. Our shackles have started to fall off. Rational thoughts are reemerging in my mind. I can now sleep at night.
I know by now, many of you readers must be saying, stop all this crap and tell us why you decided to join PDP. Cynics amongst you must be thinking that I could not stand spending another four years in the wilderness of the opposition where manna does not fall. You may think that I have been invited to chop. That it has been my goal all along to stay outside and piss in until I am asked to come inside to piss out, just like Femi Fani-Kayode did. None of these assumptions is right. I did not see it coming.
What happened here was simple: I suddenly found my conscience. And he is President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan. For that reason, I joined PDP last Sunday. For doing so, I have been given the honor of writing President Jonathan’s inaugural address. So if you don’t hear from me in weeks to come, know that I’m busy putting words into the president’s mouth.
Please correct me if I’m right.