It is no longer news that
At the moment of this writing, my brain throbs to fish out names of heroes, young and old, dead or alive, but what comes readily to me is an endless list of names of people that had somehow stagnated the country but whose robes had regularly been made clean, as often as they defraud the nation of giggle, riches and people.
I dare not commit the same heinous crime of honouring the corrupt by mentioning here their names, which sway just down the tip of my lips. Yet, I must struggle to get out a few of the names of heroes.
Who would remember, not to mention ‘know’, George Yemi Iwilade? This was a name that seized the frequency of BBC Radio at a time in 1999 – WHEN HE DIED! At least, he got an international mention – in death. Did Nigerians ever had to talk about him, except to give a gleeful – if I’m allowed to use the word, gleeful, for my lack of adequate understanding of the English Language – national TV parade, of a decorated, perfumed, wool-tucked, Iwilade? Stone dead!
Yet, this was a man amongst men before he passed on. A Part 3 Law Student of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife; he epitomized all I expect to see in an elderly man. He was respected for his ingenuity, loved for his brilliance and intelligence, feared for his determination and wanted for his friendliness. His interest in an African Renaissance was so overwhelming that he went about all-day and all-night in his native dress. He never garbed a ‘shirt and pair of trousers’ or anything that had a different look from what is native. And he was proud; wearing a straight face.
Due to his character and oratory power, and an in-depth understanding of International, National and Campus politics, he expectedly became the General Secretary of the OAU Students’ Union Government. In my view, and that of several thousands of others, Afrika – as he was popularly called – had been the only Secretary (or a good one of many) that others have tried and are trying and will keep trying to emulate – in his oratory prowess and political understanding.
He stood as an obstacle against many wrongs, highly or lowly placed, sourcing from the intelligentsia or the mediocre. And one of such was CULTISM. Publicly, he brazenly denounced the constitution and continued existence of the miscellaneous structures of cultism on Campuses and in the world, at large. He developed infallible master plans for an intelligible bringing down of the throttlehold of secret cults.
However, before the plans could turn gold, he was himself brought down. The bullets from the nostrils of guns brought him down; maybe cuts from matchet blades accompanied the bullets, but he was ‘dropped’ BEFORE HE ACHIEVED HIS AIM. It was rumoured that certain highly placed persons had a hand in his death, only with the obvious fact of a direct attack by members of a Secret Cult. Rumoured…and swept under the carpet, in a fashion similar to that of the killing of an Attorney General of federation. Rumoured…and swept under the carpet. And several other Heroes of our Nation. Rumoured…and swept under the Carpet.
The list is endless of heroes with similar fate. There is, in fact, one hero I know, who still lives yet no one cares. He is a master of wordage – not an English perfectionist, but a coiner of English words when prolixity might be senseless and yet cumbersome. Such a word as ENTRISM had come from him as a ‘lakonic’ way of instructing people to penetrate a course, for instance, and then resolving whatever problems they are faced with. “Enter first and find out” I suppose! He is Anthony Fasayo – popularly called Tony Fash. He actually caused ripples, if
Tony Fash single-handedly caused a reversal of massive failure of Pharmacy Students of OAU in 1996. This he did, as a union President and Medical Student himself, with the attendant disruption of the University Convocation Ceremony. Such Pharmacy Students, whom Tony fought and won for, are now everywhere – the Pharmacists we see around as Managers, Producers, Politicians, Hummer drivers etc. Yet, where is Tony Fash today? No one or maybe a few bothers to ask!
Tony Fash, after the incidence of Convocation disruption, bagged himself not a University certificate obviously, but an indefinite suspension. I guess it was an expulsion; but the difference is insignificant. He remained outside the border of the University for more than six years; no one knows where. But I would love to pause, ponder and ask, where? A Nigerian from an impoverished background, whose humble act of patriotism had led him into unionism found himself thrown out, with no empathy. If he took to robbery, drugs, hooliganism and who knows what? What or who shall we condemn? Tony; his parents; the University management; the then Government of the day; or his undying interests to serve the people; who or what?
In essence, Tony Fash was pardoned alongside his compatriots, only after observing a protracted condition of apologizing. To who or to what, I would ask? I guess, and I’m correct; to the ego of men who feel wronged. Men who indirectly send signals to other patriotic and patriotic’less’ young people that only mediocrity and silent corruption get honoured and valued in the end, and that true patriotism will always bag shame and punishment. So is the fate of Tony Fash, who is presently running a three-year term still in part 5 ever since he had been readmitted. In furtherance to that, I present here what might come as news at this time that certain lecturers, who are very or loosely connected with Medicine (Tony’s constituency) have affirmed and reaffirmed publicly and everywhere that they shall tender their resignation letters the same day Tony Fash is ALLOWED to graduate from the University. What an Open Sore; the struggle of ego, of mauling intelligence.
No wonder individualism has become the order of the day. No one wishes to live for the other. Our leaders have constrained us, and we have restrained ourselves. We have found solace in mediocrity. Voiceless for an aeon, we have stumbled over our voice amongst the crowd who berate the patriots, the ‘above-average’, the ones seeking a common good, and the lambs of sacrifice for our own good – like the ‘roaming Pharmacists’ who Tony fought for. And we have enthroned for ourselves voiceless leaders, figureheads, apes with their tails knotted around their necks – and they too seethe about (if this is characteristic of patriots) like a patriot, sincerely concerned about the state of things, while all they require is fame and game.
If we must heal the sores of our Nation, then we must begin to ostracize the corrupt; we must condemn in its entirety mediocrity in all ramification and manifestations. We must emphasize with polemics and action that mediocrity and the lack of patriotic zeal leads the people to fraud, silent and sometimes bold distaste and disregard for national issues, and misgivings about communal existence.
We must point the way to altruism – the only pillar of national patriotism. We must build monuments for our heroes and applaud the ones who sacrifice their comfort for the comfort of others. Anthony Fasayo readily comes to mind now. Eleven years after his colleagues have left school, he still knots his tie – in obedience to constituted authorities – and takes a seat before a lecturer who is probably younger in age; all in a bid to graduate, even though he is almost sure the teachers have vowed not to allow him graduate. A cult SECRETER than the secret cult.
Unfortunately, maybe due to age, trauma, or some extra-celestial cause, Tony Fash is no longer the Tony Fash we used to know. We must immortalize our heroes; build monuments for them; restate our commitment to them and join hands with them to rebuild our NATION.
Even then, when the SORES of our NATION are healed, the SCARS can never go AWAY. Yet, we cannot substitute the SCARS for the SORES.