Just the past week gone by, the Spirit and the works of Akonis, men of valour, entrapped me, encountering these men and woman, impulsively, ignited some hot fire in me, rekindling hopes of a better tomorrow for our dear land. I celebrated. I gloated. Rejoicing over the discovery of an archetypal men and woman who could engineer systemic revival of our lost values in this 106 or is it 60 year–old country. This is a period of celebrations. The Buhari-led Federal Government has declared a year-long festive period in the country to celebrate the 60th Independence Anniversary. No one has ever thought about the Amalgamation Anniversary.
We do not even know how old the country is. We only celebrate the dismantling of the Union Jack and her Ajeles. Anyway, in the Spirit of celebrations of the Akonis and the survival of the country politically, socially and economically since 1960, despite several odds, I decided to write. But before I could finish the last lines of my celebrative writings, my cell lines started beeping. Reports started flooding in. The weaklings, those who thrive scavenging in the refuse site with swine, the ones I can only equate with Jackals, have started showing their colorations.
When things go awry like this, one simply cannot ignore the creativity of or stop studying and learning from our local musicians, be it Apala, Sakara or the modernized version called Fuji, for their invectives and fabulous wordsmithing. Trust them to always come up with snags that drive home the point more succinctly. Egungun be careful, na express we dey go, so sang the one they called Omorapala, Abass Akande Obesere. Obesere is noted for extravagant lewd lyrics, but the direct import of this snag is far, concise enough for the wise to pick. No hilarity here. Let note the fact that I am an Egungun Priest. I love to regularly regale my readers with the fact that I am a proud initiated Awo of the Igbo Igbale Order.
Not only at an expressways or turning junctions. Egungun must eternally be careful, be vigilant. This is a fact, a truism. But wait, again, the very concept of truth itself is odiously abominable to me. I just never like the word truth a pinch. I simply distaste it. To me, it has no meaning. No form, nor context. If it were to be a chemical compound like water, they would have shared the same properties of odourless, colourless and tasteless!
Truth at best is bitter, sordidly bitter. Leaving no good taste in the mouth. More horrendously, it must be swallowed, no bait, willy-nilly. Therefore, to some, it has become an object of worship. I can confess being one of the ardent worshippers, my lack of love for it notwithstanding.
The ambivalence colour of truth more often than not disguises it sacredness and tastelessness. Even philosophers and social psychologists have not been able to come with concrete, unanimous definition for the word truth. It is simply the side that is clearer to you that you describe!
Like the D. O. Fagunwa’s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, I came across another classic thriller, The Day of The Jackals by Frederick Forsyth, during my youthful days in Owerri, Imo State. My interest was to pick up any novel, any book that the cover picture caught my fancy and read. But reading the many insurrection against French Leader, Charles De Gaulle and the hiring of the notorious ‘THE JACKAL’ after all local attempts failed, I felt I should read more than The Day of The Jackal. Hence my reading The Prince by Nicollo Machiavelli and the 48 Laws of Power by Maureen Green.
The much vaunted seven akonis of last week did a wonderful job, no debate. They showed the true Spirit of social progressivism. They deserve all the celebrations. But hardly have they rose that The Jackals moved in. Only this time, the hirers were a bit tardy. The akonis had written the reports of the assignment, signed it and sealed it, before they unleashed the Jackals. Jackals and other wild dogs, like wolf, hyena, fox and the like scavenges on carcasses. Like the domestic version, dog, no scruple, no shame. Just scavenge!
It is disheartening to discover some naked truth. No colour. No taste. Just in its pure bitter state. Sadly it leaves a sour taste in the mouth that one of the celebrated akonis, a hitherto respected gentleman, with long standing records of meritorious service to the town and state, eventually did compromised his hard-earned reputation and integrity over a pot of porridge. What a calamity! Sad indeed!!
But this has always being the bane of every good enterprise in Nigeria, from time immemorial. The acclaimed ‘freest and fairest election’ ever conducted in the annals of political balloting in the country suffered this same ignominy fate. The have been several bank directors entrusted with people’s funds but have been found to have betrayed the trust. So also were politicians that carried the sacred mandate of the people and given sensitive political offices, with the commonwealth entrusted in their care, dragging such mandate in the mud.
Recollections of Judas Iscariot readily come to mind here. Judas was the first recorded person to collect monetary gratifications or is it bribe now, over a cause. Perhaps, he was the only disciple who believed in the efficacy of the supernatural powers of Jesus Christ to appear and disappear. He probably had thought the man would simply disappear into the winds. But, alas, it has been written. He carried the burden. He could not even spend the money. The odd man within the rank is doomed. But the real Jackals were outside the group circling around.
No debating further. No logical defences any more. Virtues have been lost. Scruples too. So also is the end point, truth. But no matter the feelings, this odiously tasteless truth must be told to children of perdition, wherever they are found.
Nigeria today lags behind in all facets of activities internationally. It all started with fraudulent and false declarations. From age, educational attainments to even villages of birth. In sports, these anomalous vices have dragged the country to the very nadir of every tournament’s medals table. Our academics have lost so much respect built over the years by the likes of Professors Chike Obi, Wole Soyinka, Wande Abimbola, Akin Obilade and the rest. Today the Ivory Towers are full of half-baked cocoa-nut heads. The egg-heads are no more. Turn to the Civil Serve or the Public Service, obvious lies about age declarations are conspicuously written in the faces and body.
We have simply sacrificed truth over nothing. From the very conceptualization of the entity called Nigeria, we turned truth upside down. Our geographical map clearly do not reflects a nation, yet we call it one. Our demography clearly gives us away as nationalities, yet we insist we are a nation. Our population keep deceiving us and destroying every planning for future posterity. We live a life of lie.
But in all these anomalies, it is the Jackals, the unscrupulous elements that feed fat. No loyalty, no commitment. To them, anyone, who can afford to pay the price of their evil concupiscence can have a go. Let’s steer our minds back. Since Independence, which election or population census ever conducted that has not been furiously disputed?
Padding population figures is odious. It is not just a criminal act. It is a sacrilegious thing to concoct or attempt. Yet our shameless people do. Playing politics? Destroying futures to them is politics. Today we are where we are. No one is happy. No one knows what to do next. The country is now oscillating in a spot. All motion, but no movement. Today, Nigeria as a country is like a marriage that the couples are no longer interested in. no one want the marriage any longer. But they do not know what to do, because there are still filthy lucre to share.
The Jackals have been unleashed on the society long ago. They are unfortunately all over the nation’s spheres of life. In politics, they are loudest. In corporate world, they destroy genuine thinkers using all foul tactics to get to the top. Now we all reap the fruits. In all positions they occupy, they have nothing to offer the people, except to drag them backward.
Except we deceive ourselves, we all can hear the country’s cry of ‘please I can’t breathe’ as George Floyd cried. And sadly, this festering sore have been downloaded to all the nooks and crannies of the country. Every cities, towns and villages are now crying ‘I can’t breathe’. The Jackals have taken over, all over the place.
I remember the King Hezekiah story in the Holy Bible and so the King Herold and Pontius Pilate. King Hezekiah had begged God to please push the punishments of his sins on his children. So did King Herold after condemning Jesus the Christ. Let us take it lightly here. No will push any burden of his actions on his children again. No more, the father ate the fruit and the tooth ache the children. We all should note that we shall all bear the consequences of our actions and inaction here before death and after death the children will continue with either the shame and disgrace or praises and acceptance of our deeds and misdeeds.
Truth may be dead. Buried and forgotten. Scruples may be dead too. But providence never sleeps. It hunts, even into the graves. Tell the Jackals, tell the hyenas, tell the foxes, tell the wolves, the pay day is nigh. The paymasters need not gloat. Whatever gained through this is only spuriously pyrrhic. It never lasts. Judas Iscariots gave away the Master, Lord Jesus. The feeling of eureka only last momentarily. It never endure. Rather Judas lost all. Both his dirty earnings and more sadly, his life. Both givers and takers of that gratification ended in perfidy. That is how it is written. Egungun must surely be careful.
Now all manners of Egungun have approached the expressways, without caution. No one need to forewarn any Egungun. Big or small. We all know an Awo do not die. An Egungun do not die. They live fore ever. Once the on-coming truck, coming from the opposite direction with high speed, braking system might be faulty and any Egungun that isn’t be careful, whatever happens, will now be a serious matter for elders in Igbo Igbale at night time. We bury a fallen Awo at night. Nigeria needs serious warnings now that she is in celebrations mood. Not only the cutting of cakes and pooping of Champagnes, but by critically re-examining herself. So do us as people. Time to speak the truth to ourselves.
By our various actions, we are planting. But now we are planting with lies. Not only tact, but also caution is needed. Planting with lies will most pointedly yield no good produce. We need no soothsayer to tell us that. The farmers that is planted all manners of thorns, and expecting salacious yams. How possible?
…and the farmer failed. Next week, we continue from here.
Afolayan Adebiyi writes from Lagos, Nigeria
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