Nigeria: Where Cometh Our Help? (1)

by Fola Ojo

On Friday January 20th, 1961, John

Fitzgerald Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president of the United

States. In his inaugural address, he delivered a memorable line that remains

deafening, resonant and stentorian in the hearts and minds of all Americans; “Ask not what your country can do for you;

ask what you can do for your country”. This statement was a shot in the

arm, a reiterating re-awakening clarion cry bolstering and boosting the

people’s mindset about nation-building. What JFK was alluding to was that

nation-building is a divine assignment for all citizens, not just a few. In

Nigeria, we share the same sentiments. We know it is a good idea, but for reasons

not in alignment with good reasoning, many good people are slumbering off.

Electricity was a good idea in the hands of men like

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison, television was a good idea when invented

by Scotsman John Logie

Baird in the 1920s. The internet was a good idea When the

US government envisioned a World Wide Web as early

as the 1940s, and later got into the good hands of men like Vannevar Bush, J.C.R.

Licklider, and Vint Cerf who made it better. When a good idea is in the care

and nurture of good people, it maintains its integrity and helps build a nation.

Good ideas in the hands of good people always

get better with time. But anytime good ideas get in the traps and snares of bad

people, they become bad ideas. Nigeria is a good idea, but today across the

board, the lachrymal truth is that the country is strapped in the noose of few

powerful, clueless, rudderless characters whose self-acclaimed love of country

is a farce, a fiction, a burlesque and a parody. That is why

Nigerians are asking today; “where cometh our help”?

Let us be truthfully reminded, however,

that there are some in all arms of government today who mean well for this

nation, and who daily sacrifice for the greater good of their communities and

the country. They are at the federal, state, and local government levels and we

know them. The good they do will never

be forgotten. But a handful of those in

government business in Nigeria today are not solutions but reinforcing pillars

of the problem. They are square- pegs in round- holes that have

become a blotch on the viewing mirror of this nation. They are an

indelibly-ingrained inficio infeci

infectum, a virulent viral attack from where Nigeria is struggling to break

loose. They are big men with small minds occupying big seats, and their focus

is to get gain and build an arsenal and weaponry of self-centeredness in the

veranda of authority. These folks perceive government as an all-you-can-eat

hotspot, a buffet eatery where their bottomless pit of insatiable cravings for

filthy lucre are recklessly showcased, and where moral skunkiness and

unfathomable filth have replaced moral tidiness and immaculateness. The

conducts, actions, and inactions of these big men and women ante up Nigeria’s

many ills and malfeasance as they pursue their narrow self-interest that has

spewed turpitude and depravity on the society. And the people

still keep asking; “where cometh our help”?

When the future of a nation is left swathed up in warts in the

hands of platoons of tomfoolery and retrogrades, a double-edged sword of

endemic and pandemic automatically become the results, and the entire citizenry

feel the effect of the quotidian lancination that did not emerge in paroxysm. In such

environment, the climb to survive as a nation becomes steeper.

In my last

article titled, “Nigeria is our mess and we must clean it Up” (Friday November

22nd, 2013) published via this medium, I posited that an aggressive

solution to the many ills that the nation faces is that

good people must get massively involved in politics and government. In my

submission that will stretch over the next two or three articles, I will

attempt to make as limpid as possible not just why, but how it must be done.

It is the duty and obligation of all citizens of a

nation to participate in the process of nation-building and harness their gifting

and grace with others’ to build. Whether you agree with me or not, this is

where our help start coming from. If Nigeria is a good idea, governance must

then be reposed in the hands of good people. Any good idea in the hands of bad

people is an architectural design for dystopia and insalubrities.

It elicits a distraught when people who are endowed and

capable of building now sit in the fence and have become onlookers and

spectators of the spiraling, swirling spectacles of shambolic art of governance

in their own land. These are men and women of immense gravitas who speak

loftily on Radio and TV, who articulate thoughts flawlessly in cyberspace, who have

facts, figures and clear foresights and vision, but chose to stay recumbent and

recluse from the main event of controlling the gavel of government. I know

their excuses; we all hear it every day. We will discuss in my next treatise

why their excuses are inexcusable. These men know what to do, but are refusing

to do it. Therefore to

him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Holy Bible, James

4:17). “And he who does an atom’s

weight of good will see it. And he who does an atom’s weight of evil will see

it.” [Holy Qur’an, 99:7-8].

Men and women of integrity, status, stature, ability

and capability, men and women trained, tried, tested and interested have left

themselves in the snuffing clutches and grips of half-baked hawkers of

emptiness and ambassadors of buffoonery. The desecrating die-hards continue to bully us into

submission and systematic extinction telling us what to do, how to live, how to

die, how to run our businesses, what curriculum we run in schools, when we

enjoy the supply of electricity, what must work and what mustn’t. We grew up

with running water supplied by the government, but today boring boreholes are

our best shot at water supply. You and I have allowed the balcony of government

to become a hotbed of the hotheaded, and a sanctuary for the madcap. Withered

and crippled hands are at the command and control center, and their mendacity

has put the country on a death row waiting for amnesty or a marching order into

the gas chamber. No matter how beautiful and expensive a house is, when

abandoned, others who have need of it take over. Clueless people are taking over the terrain,

and the country is now at the mercy of the merciless. God must help us!

One good man or woman in the midst of wolves will come

out more like a wolf and a failure. The

truth I speak wholly and always is that if we have any hope for Nigeria evolving as a great nation, good people must massively

with overwhelming numerical force get

involved and run for offices, from the Presidency to the local government

counsellorship. The results will surprise you. This is

where our help will start coming from. The

solution to the problems brought about by the hydra-headed demon of dehydration

attacking Nigeria is not going to be embedded in one or one-million articles,

opinion papers, write-ups, and blogs that are more of bugs. The solution is in large numbers of good

people getting embedded in the womb of government. From here, our help will

start coming.

…to be continued…

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