Solitude And Melancholy 1: God Give Us Men!

by Dele A. Sonubi

God, give us men!

GOD, give us men! A time like this demands

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;

Josiah Gilbert Holland

It is not unusual for people to seek heroes and pursue happiness knowing or believing that some mentors will take care of business regarding them. If we, as a nation, had gone to sleep since October 1999, shortly after president Obasanjo became the president of Nigeria, we did so knowing, that after years of resisting military rule with the blood of our social and political comrades, the lives Nigerians who were convinced that military (or interim) rule is an aberration to political governance, that from the demise of M.K.O Abiola, politics in Nigeria will take a reinvigorated motivation that never again will the blood of the innocents be shed within our polity over bad governance. We lost properties and lives of many in different political impasses (be it the struggle for autonomy of the commune by Ken Saro-Wiwa and hundreds of other Ogonis activists during the endless Ogoni crises; be it the loss of life of our respected Pa Alfred Rewane, the loss of precious lives of human rights activists, labor leaders and comrades who were believers in rights of self determination but who were fell by the hot bullets of Tafa Balogun; the quarrelsome murder attempts on Pa Abraham Adesanya and Felix Ibru and so on). Majority of Nigerians went to sleep wishfully thinking matters that had come to some conclusive end for a new beginning. And it would have been so, except that what metamorphosed from the struggles are characters in different official positions whose words are not their bond. We have leaders who are wallowing shamelessly in the thirst and hunger of their constituencies and members. We went to bed thinking that we had a man of honor in Obasanjo; honorable enough to lead the country back from the scattered memories of decades of exclusion from public policy formations, who will teach us how to have faith in our opinion of governance, guide us through the reform of our deteriorating collective values and integrity and significantly help us return power from the all consuming central government (of one man- the president) back to the people (even if such means regionalism). But perhaps these are too much to expect from a leader who was forced to leadership as a consequence of the demise of the great M.K.O Abiola because the only determining factor then was not his intellectual prowess or his political mastery, it was because he, Obasanjo, like M.K.O Abiola, is Yoruba man. (Had Obasanjo been an Igbo man or Hausa, he would never have been a choice in the then emerging dispensation). But what do we have, we have a president who wanted to do it all alone; he never consults us for any policy inputs no referendum it is as though the generality of Nigerians do not matter. He alone has the sole wisdom in all matters and he is the supreme sovereign- the Platonic Philosopher King (something philosophers thought was utopian!). On this season of commemorating the Nigerian’s 45th independence anniversary, I pray, oh lord, give us men, men who have honor, men who will not lie. Oh God, give us men, a (perilous) time like this demand: Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; men whom the lust of the office does not kill; men whom the spoils of office cannot buy! God please give us men who will not place matters of personal ambition over collective interests, who will not apply to alter the constitution for an obnoxious third term. A perilous time when motivations are low, where spirits are down, when hunger and joblessness pervade the cities, a time when just a simple glow of faith in leadership and reform programs will assure the hungry of a better tomorrow. Oh God, give us men who have honor to know that the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria stipulates two terms in a presidential election for each leader who gets re-elected after the first term. When Obasanjo was going to end the first term in office, he said he would ask God if he should contest again. God must have spoken to him in Yoruba Language because the Ibos will like to know why his regime is heading towards detribalizing MASSOB and seemingly persecuting people of Igbo origins; why Orji Uzor Kalu is in a verbal war with the presidency because of his support for Vice President Atiku Abubakar. God must have confirmed him a good choice in Yoruba Language because Hausas, Efik, Ibibo, the Ogonis and other ethnic groups in Nigeria are wondering why his government through the all powerful EFCC is embarking on selective justice against people who are also claiming God has spoken in Hausa/Fulani Language to propose Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the next president after Obasanjo. God give us men who will hear your words and not use your words as camouflage to becloud people’s judgments and inspire loyalty. God give us men, men who have honor, men who will not lie…men whom the spoils of the office cannot buy, even when it is N400,000 in “Ghana Must Go” bags for honorable members to impeach speaker Ghali Na’aba.

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Adewunmi Dedeke January 27, 2006 - 9:11 am

Dear dele,

In a lighter mood, please dont stay too long in this phase of melamcholy or else you may develop ulcer and serious headache. Your wife still need you around for some time more jare.

But with absolute seriousness i agree that we need men of integrity and character those that understand the concept of omoluwabi, we need visionary leaders not mediocres, untutored and uncultured men. The abikos and akogbas those that will rob us and rub salt on our injury.

I pray that our own generation will not be a wasted generation

As put by wole soyinka of his own generation.

Let us pray

Father on you we trust for direction out of this present darkness. Give us men after your own heart. Men that will not bow to the pressure of evil. Men that can not be bought either in cash or in kind. Men that will boldly say- do as i do. Men that are bold and righteous. Men that can own up to their fault. Men who will not turn the paraphnalia of office into an extension of their personal kingdom. Thank you lord as you fulfill this in our time amen.

Cheers dewunmi ddk

abdullahi garba December 21, 2005 - 6:01 am

I think god has already given us men, I mean with people like you in this country sky is Nigeria's limit.the only problem we had in this our blessed country is that is full of dubious and selfish leaders. although we can not blame mr. president alone, because he has been trying his possible best to restructure nigeria and nigerians through his anti-curruption crusade!by setting up EFCC and other coruption related agencies. but what happens with the oath he has taken before coming to the office, I mean the promises he made of bringing food to the table of nigerian populace by providing and creating job opportunities, road construction, electricity, portable water and agricultural machinery.

for those mentioned above and with people like you i can assure Nigerians that we will conqure and overcome the problem of this great country Nigeria, and by airing our view through writers like Mr. Dele Sonubi to the leaders of this country, by so doing we will achive trimendious successes which we might be colling ourselves with: you are the best, I'm the best and that is why we are the best. let us all continue striving for excellence

segun adesina SN 6857 December 12, 2005 - 10:29 am

Interesting Article to say the least, thought provoking too…..I share most of your sentiments, however, I'm not convinced that countries like Virgin have really come to steal Nigeria's inheritance; to paraphrase you…..The services those companies provide, like any in the private sector, respond to the laws of economics, (Supply and Demand). If there were other companies providing equal or better services at a cheaper price I'm sure people would take their business elsewhere.

I have been in the States for a while now so I might be missing an important link. So, I would argue with reservations that companies like Virgin are a welcome development for Nigeria's economy. I doubt that Nigeria Airways was doing such a good job before Virgin Came along.

Hopefully, someday, "DEESHO AIRWAYS" will bring a more competitive service to the market and the Nigerian consumer will be the ultimate winner. However, for now let's welcome the foreign companies… long as they're not arbitrarily spilling oil on our land or crashing planes without recourse. That's another show!

Again, Dele, BRAVO!!!

Niyi Bankole December 7, 2005 - 10:36 am

Dee Sho My Brother,

I read the God Give us Men article and it was quite a read. Bros if dem come carry you, me I no dey o! Anyway sha you wont be the first to be carried. You take am resemble somebody.

Reminds me of the days of Campos (Freedom) Square in Lagos towards the end of Shagari's regime (Before the End….) when Uncle Tai Solarin was warning all who would hear that the country was headed for the rocks but nobody listened. They continued wining and dining.

Do you remember the trips with Uncle Tai Solarin to Freedom Square in those days

Do you remember the day Uncle Tai wept at the Sunday Community gathering It was our first sunday back in school that year, 8 January 1984. He wept for our generation. For the hopelessness of it all. I guess the guy saw it all coming.

We were happy that the military had taken over, at least the man would rest but the man saw more struggle ahead. Exactly one week later he was back in the 'trenches' in Freedom Square. He was arrested by the military, 15 January 1984 (I believe) and I think he ended up in Gusau or Maiduguri Prison that time.

I remember that Sunday afternoon in Mayflower, the whole school was as silent as a graveyard. We had got the news even before the students who went with him to Lagos came back. We were shocked but we felt that "as usual', they would soon release him. It took almost sixteen months, remember

Do you remember Madam's speech at the Community gathering after that It was titled 'WHY' and she emphasised the difference between 'WAI' and 'WHY', the sheer crudity and injustice of it all

We were all rather impressionable young things back then, I guess, but I cannot forget these events even if I try. maybe I would write my own memoirs too like you did in 'The Grandfather's Mandate', t'would make nice reading wouldn't it.

My regards to Nike and let us know when you are in Lagos.


Niyi Bankole 4847

Anonymous December 6, 2005 - 7:30 am

An interesting and thought-provoking (if not sad) article.

God has given Nigeria the men it needs, but God is not going to appear and spare the people of Nigeria from getting their hands dirtied in order to sort out their country.

I wonder why so often there is the repeated failure of leadership in Nigeria to truly serve ordinary Nigerians Is it because those who are of "strong minds, great hearts true faith and ready hands" are afraid to peep above the parapet and do right by its people

Sadly, that appears to be the tragedy of Nigeria after 45 years of independence.

Anonymous December 1, 2005 - 5:45 pm

I think is high time Nigerians stopped asking God to give them men of honour, we are already honoured, we have enough honourable people in Nigeria to be leaders, i think what we should be asking is that the "cabal" would give the honourable men chance to lead.

Kunle Ogun December 1, 2005 - 1:04 pm

What a distinctive write up, keep it up boy. I've never doubted your ability for such articles even at such tender age back in the days of Mayflower School Ikenne.

Ehi Enakimio December 1, 2005 - 8:00 am

God give us Men Brother man wake up. There is a new breeze blowing across Africa now I hope. With women also needing to stake their claim to a long over due position in the main stream of everyday Africa as in Liberia for instance.The first female African Presisdent. That is a big deal. It was the title that got me started and ended my love for you..ok maybe not but please recognize.

Anonymous November 29, 2005 - 3:55 am

Well this is a nice one and keep it up. All the best in your new novel coming up and i pray that God will give you knowledge and understanding.

Anonymous November 28, 2005 - 4:54 am

Very nice and tot provocing. good read also


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