He took me to a high mountain. He pointed towards the horizon. I saw it before he could utter a word. It was a Babel of agitations.
Amadioha has a habit of leading me, to such mountains of realization. There, scales have always fallen off my eyes. Bar Timaeus screaming, “I can see”, had nothing on the vision that Amadioha, the Righteous One, avails me on such odysseys.
It was cloudy, and the picture grainy. The whole atmosphere, was nebulous. I couldn’t place my finger on anything. It was a metaphor to nothingness.
Why here? Why now, I asked myself!
No answers came, to end my queries. You are a questioner confronted by echoes of emptiness. Can anyone, ever dare interrogate his Chi?
Only privies to the morning of creation. Only those like Okpoko the great bird; prime witnesses to the dawn of time; who were adults before land came into being; who had no option, but to bury his father in his own skull.
Since you were not in those conclaves that elected the arc of creation, you should pause those musings, and open your eyes, to what Amadioha wants to show you.
I cast my gaze, to where He pointed. I saw people from every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation. It was a forest of placards, in an ocean of voices!
I heard various camps, screaming on top of their lungs, like caged Chimps, in a stifling enclosure.
“Biafra or nothing”, rang like a choir of hosts singing; from one of the colonies in the enclosure.
I saw a lot of faces in that crowd, both known and unknown. I saw bleeding bodies and broken spirits. I saw the maid of justice, tied down in the mud, by the tricky gods of power. I heard Ugonabo as he submitted: Onye ji mmadu na ana, ji onwe ya- “He who keeps another in the mud, must also be in the mud to hold his victim down”. I saw pythons dancing, as men wore the garbs of beasts.
“Give us Arewa, or we will “dagger” all the “nyamiris” here”, rolled like waves in counter-attack!
I saw houses burning. I saw the midget of Kaduna, armed with sacks of Ghana-must-go, bribing his collaborators,to stop writing the murder of his peasants! “Can leadership bribe terrorism? What does justice say? Which words has equity got for this? What does good conscience have to say to this, I asked Amadioha?
“Wait until you see Gandudollar, steal from his people to bribe himself”, Amadioha replied. That is when you would realize that fair is foul, and foul is fair here.
“Give us Oduduwa Republic; una wahala don do..The nyamiris are buying up our lands, and calling it no-man’s-land… Or we will drown all of them in the Lagoon, like our Oba admonished”!
“Why the rage, oh righteous one”, I thought that you and Sango, were two thunders littered in one day; in the wombs of creation?
“Sango is my mother’s son”, Amadioha told me. We both roar and roll, invoking and bringing baskets of fire on evil heads!
Why then the rage from Sango’s wings?
“Take a look at that Bullion van driving into Bourdillion, Amadioha told me. Such are the men, who deserve a visit from Sango and myself.
“We want Niger Delta..The “Oyel” is ours. We must control our resources”, thundered those from the South!
Everyone was screaming at everyone.
“We no go gree”, seems to be the recurring refrain, coming from all the quarters in this enclosure.
At least they have something in common. All parts of this symphony of dissent, convoked a harmony, at the refrain.
“We no go gree”… “We hate Nigeria”!
Confused by it all, I sank on my feet. I summoned Amadioha to explain to me, why he brought me to these hills.
“Look at your feet”, he said, “and learn the lessons of the ages. You are born to be a teacher. Now, teach!”
Confused, tired and weary, I gradually let my weight down.
As I was about to sit still and take it all in, a little boy sitting at my feet on this Mountain of Beatitude, said: “Can you tell me a story, oh tired one”
The little boy was as old as yesterday, but as fresh as years to come!
“What is your name”, I asked!
“My name is TOMORROW”, he replied!
Amadioha whispered in my ears:
“Tomorrow is the Yesterday, that was privy to the dawn of all things”. “If you domesticate yesterday today, you would make a great chaperon for Tomorrow”
Why is Amadioha placing this burden, on his son, in this land of his sojourn, I asked myself.
He was still whispering in my ears, as I looked at the young kid, and our eyes locked. His pierced mine, with askance so insistent, that I said;
“Of course, I will tell you a story, you insistent one”!
“I will tell you about revolutions and revolutionaries”.
That is the only path of yesterday, that can bring me to a better you, Oh Tomorrow!
Once upon a time, I began.
He came out of nowhere. He was no royalty, in spite of hagiographies hawked by those, who never met him.
“Who is he”? the little one asked!
“Just listen, you will know him, once I finish the story”, I replied.
“Ok”, he said, with that innocence of childhood, which makes you realize that the child is the father of man.
“He moved across the countryside, armed with a message. Like every other itinerant preacher, that has ever transversed these godforsaken countrysides, he was loud, boisterous and uncouth.
He was single and coarse. Quite unusual for a man his age, in these climes. He had no respect for rites and rituals. He hated the sepulchral hypocrisy of the authorities of his day. He rocked with the crooks and extortionist tax collectors, and rolled with the prostitutes, escorts and call-girls of his milieu. Some said he was possessed. Others see a clever guy, who just knows how far one can toy with the authorities, and still retain his head, sitting upon his neck.
Unlike his cousin, who lost his head to the daughter of an adulteress,he cleverly knew how to navigate to the peripheries of such adulterous scandals, like has been the culture of a Tetrarch, terrorized by midlife crisis, who garrulously fornicates with his brother’s wife; a festival of shamelessness, as proof to himself, that he can still get it up. But he was smart enough, not to dive head in. Those who did, lost their heads.
Being caught in that crossfire, between a man, morbidly afraid of impending impotence, and an ambitious woman, with an eye for power, was what ate his cousin’s head. He knew that a man addicted to a vagina, can murder you, for coming in between him and his cookie. He loved that headquarters sitting on his neck so much, as to risk, having it detached, by a randy he-goat of a Mayor. His considerations must have anticipated Chinweizu’s Anatomy of Female Power, that once a man’s penis gets up, his brain takes French leave. And this Mkpi in power, is not about to go on his French leave, with his head in his bag.
Apart from being a smart guy, this guy saw the furthest extremes of human motivations. He knew what makes human beings tick. That was the eternal lesson he left.
Some called him the son of god. But he called himself the son of man. He waxed lyrical about visions, beatific and beautiful; lofty and noble; but he fed people with bread.
He was calling himself the way, the truth and life, but he never forgot to call himself the Bread of life. He was telling his followers, about those that would be blessed. But he never forgot to tell them that his flesh is bread for the life of the world. He was a carpenter’s son, not a baker’s one. But he was so very preoccupied with bread, much more than a baker’s son would. When the people came to him hungry and his inner council wanted to drive them
away so that they could go into the villages, and find bread for themselves, before darkness falls; he rebuked the council, and told them to “give them something to eat yourselves”!
He began as common woodcutter, but commenced a revolution cutting across various strata of his society.
His revolution, was so lofty that many have forgotten that it was born on the wings of bread. It so much revolved around bread, that he didn’t forget to include “give us this day our daily, bread” in the prayer he taught his followers.
He was a radical on a mission. He was the stuff that revolutionaries are made of. He knew the import of stomach infrastructure. Anyone surprised that Lamidi Adedibu, the Garrison Commander of Ibadan Politics, succeeded for many years with his Amala politics, has no idea what the psychology of human motivations are. Rome gave her citizens “Bread and circuses” to calm them down. The one, who called himself the Son of Man, gave his followers “Bread and Beatitudes”!
He died though; crucified by those, who would go to any length, to preserve the source of their bread and butter. The nail on the coffin, was hammered by those,who ate his bread, as David the psalmist wrote in his poems. One betrayed him. The others abandoned him to his executioners.
Many ignore the bread and butter basis of his revolution. They pretend it was purely an epistemic one. This was because it spawned a religion and a dogma. They only considered the superstructure; ignoring the foundation. They forgot that Bread, which his followers called the Eucharist,was the center of his religion and dogma. Yes, that religion empaneled a civilization, and scaffolded it. But reduced to its basics, it was all about bread, and wine; eating and drinking!
“Take this bread, all of you, and eat from it”
“Give us this day, our daily bread”
“I am the bread of life”
Every perceptible revolutionary has forever known the power of bread. Gandhi, who was called the Mahatma, opined that “if God is ever to appear in India, he must come in the form of bread”. The Chinese in Mao’s time started an Agricultural revolution as they sought answers to the bread question. The Sun King of France set off a revolution that ate his head, the moment the people, who complained about lack of bread, were legendarily counseled by his mistress, to “eat cakes”! It was the guarantees of bread supply, given to Pharaoh,which catapulted Joseph to power, in Pharaonic Egypt! Rome became an Empire when Egypt became her breadbasket. Cleopatra won the sibling feud in his Ptolemaic family, when he dared Rome to stop her from opening the granaries to the hungry Egyptian masses. Hunger and anger are homonyms. That is why a hungry man, is an angry man. Make a man hungry, you make him angry. Make him angry, you can make him revolt, either against you or for you.
Any revolution, wishing to outlast its creator(s),must be basically epistemic and ontological, as to enjoy the ductility and malleability of the tides of time and history. But once it forgets bread and butter, it would either send her creators to the guillotine,or to to the Isles of irrelevance; and dump the revolution into the trashcans of history.
History has witnessed his revolution as a sword, slaughtering “heathens”, and a shield sheltering “believers”. His has been regarded as one of the most lasting in the history of our species. The recorded myths built and peddled about this guy, portrays him as one of the most astute preceptors of human nature.
“What is his name,” Tomorrow asked; “and which weapon did he use to get our history enchanted and indoctrinated to his message”?
He was a zealot. They called him the Nazerene, and his message and method were so successful, as to be an essential arena, where human psychology meets economic history. And only by understanding this nexus can we understand, why revolutions succeed and fail.
“Why do revolutions fail, and why do they succeed”, Tomorrow asked!
“It is Bread and Butter”, I answered.
“What do you mean, by bread and butter”, the kid interjected!
I drew a long sigh!
“Aren’t your mates out playing in the wild, climbing those mango trees out there, and eating wild fruits? Why must you sit down here, with a tired guy, asking him questions, that exposes the depths of his ignorance, I asked him!
He took a piercing look at me, that told me to shut up, and continue!
Every revolutionary, who is an economic illiterate, would be swallowed by the revolution, he called into being. Revolutionaries, who have never given thoughts to the Bread and Butter question, would be handed their heads, once that revolution succeeds in overthrowing the status quo.
Every revolution is killed by the very same issue that midwifed it. Every revolution, shorn of all the slogans required to sell it to the people, arose out of a singularity, and is ultimately destroyed by that singularity.
If you want to know what that singularity is, trace a history of every revolution you can think about. Try to find out what made it a success. You may be forgiven for thinking it is the weight of the heaviest battalions tilting the balance of power, to one side; or the firepower of the heaviest armadas. They all play serious roles, from the perspectives of the military-minded historian. But the answer to that, is as banal as bread and butter!
The banality of that answer is what makes most people miss the biggest elephant in the room.
That was the most important thing, which that uncouth, opinionated Galilean carpenter, Jesus the Nazerene, realized, while trying to change the ritualized status quo, that stifled Jewish life for eons.
He realized that it is all about bread and butter.
That was why he fed the 5000 excluding women and children. And constructed a religion and belief upon a god, who becomes bread in transubstantiation.
Every failed revolutionary, was killed by bread and butter. Every failed revolution capsized on the “bread-and-Butter” icebergs. Every revolution, that ever failed to answer the bread and butter question, ended up eating up its architects.
Moses was nearly stoned by the motley band of wandering pilgrims, he led into the desert, when Bread and Butter became the issue. What saved his ass, was the Manna, they claimed he conjured to feed their hungry asses.
Remember that Moses waxed lyrical, about bringing them out of the House of bondage. But that meant shit to them, if he brought them out to the desert,to die of hunger. And they warned him that he should have left them to die in Egypt, instead of bringing them out into the desert.
You may have dreams of freedom, but what the people want, is their daily bread. If you cannot answer that bread question, they may end up lynching you and your gospel of freedom.
The only gospel a people understand better than all others, is the one that guarantees them bread-security. The USSR began collapsing the moment the prices of bread started galloping away like a horse without a rider. The Scandinavian model, has been the most successful economic model because it solved the bread and butter basics. Bread and butter is so basic that Abraham Maslow cast it as the most basic foundation of his hierarchy of needs.
Tomorrow looked at me again, with those querying eyes. It then dawned on me, why Amadioha took me to those hills of realization. None of those placard bearers, nursing dreams of a break
up, have articulated an answer to the bread and butter question. They have no “Bread Manifesto”
When the orientals scream: “Give us Biafra”, or that “Biafra is the answer”, they have not answered the question: what they would do with Biafra once they get it? They have never told us, what the question is or which problems Biafra solve, once you get it. The same applies to the Arewa, Oduduwa, Niger Delta and every other agitator in this square of madness.
The enclosure has not fully answered that question as well. That is what fuels the agitation, and also affords many the luxury of sitting on the fence.
“And the first to attain full support for their case, would be those, who have fully addressed or articulated answers to the bread and butter question,”, asked Tomorrow?
I was about to answer him, when a voice intoned
“Thou hast given thy people, bread from heaven”!
“Having all sweetness in it”, I stammered!
Which sweetness? the voice asked?
I was about to answer, when I heard: “Fahrkarte, Bitte,-Tickets, Please!, in a crispy, business German.
I opened my eyes, looked at my watch, and realized that I have been sleeping for 45 minutes, since the train rushing me from Kopenhagen to Frankfurt crossed the German border.
I handed my ticket to her. She stamped it. Handed it back to me, and said “Schoenen Tag, noch”- Have a great day” in that same crispy German that woke me up.
I have been wondering whether this old woman sitting beside me, caught me talking in my sleep. She has been stealing glances at me and stifling a smile.
I can’t wait for her to leave the train at the next stop. I am wondering if she would tell her Grandchildren that she sat beside a crazy African on the train today, who was talking in his sleep.
Ndi yard, what shall I do now?