Monday, 15 January 2018 23:23

What Truth Do We Want the Nigerian Community To Hear Right Now in 2018?

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The purpose of this essay is to state that Nigeria is not living in the true spirit of true democracy . The truth must we told as fact, certainty, reality, veracity, or accuracy that readers of this essay  may want to hear presented to them  in a tasteless  way, meaning  that facts are not always pleasant, inoffensive, or appetizing,. Nigeria is a beautiful place if we keep it so. The acronym NIGERIA  stands for  something.

N stands for the Negotiations we use to resolve all problems without resorting to violence; the Nobility we expect of self and from our leaders.

I is the Indebtedness we owe others, our Gratitude and Thankfulness for being Nigerians; our Ingenuity.

G is the Generosity and Gratitude and Good-heartedness we show each of the 371 tribes in Nigeria; this is our Greatness.

E is the Energy and Enthusiasm we shall put into our work and being good citizens.

R is the Respect we accord each other, our Responsibilities, our Reverence to God, and our Reliability, our Resilience to never give up.

I is our Integrity  when we stand by the Truth, our Honesty, and Truthfulness in all we do.

A  is our  Agreeableness, our Affability  and  Attitude to work things out peacefully without bloodshed.

What truth do we want the Nigerians to hear right now in 2018? One truth is that Nigeria is a conglomeration of 371 ethnic groups, a hodgepodge. The contributions of any of its many groups are just as great as the contributions of its other groups. Our Nigerian democracy is as great as the level of enthusiasm and participation each element makes. The greater the participation the sweeter the juice, the freer the outcome, and the greater satisfaction one derives.

This essay argues that there can be no Nigeria, there can be no freedom and no democracy is possible without the environment that encourages participation of all of the elements in Nigerian. The question is how do we stimulate, encourage and sustain participation? Nigerians should hold their leaders, including President Buhari and their governors, senators, local government members, and others accountable.

A person who is held accountable is said to be responsible for his/her constituency, answerable  to their people's needs, and liable for harms suffered.  The truth is that, having tried the same experiment with the same group of leaders, there remains feelings of discrimination and hostilities directed against the same group. Our experiment has and produced the same decadent results. Perhaps it is time we did things differently.

Nigeria's behavior towards a section of its citizens, namely the Igbos, has been decadent, meaning the Nigerian leadership has been debauched, corrupt, depraved, dissolute, degenerate, immoral, licentious, or profligate. It is shamelessly wicked that a person who holds himself up as a leader of One Nigeria  sg should align himself with a section of the nation to treat other humans so shabbily.

Whoever says that Nigeria is One Nigeria rather than Unfair Nigeria is not truthful and whoever  says Nigerian society is based on inequality is, to say the least, not untruthful. Nigeria can be both fair, truthful, and based on equality, depending upon what efforts each member of the 371 ethnic groups is willing to put in. Rome didn't just appear one day from thin air.

It was the work of someone that Rome evolved, someone placing the first brick on top of the other to start the ball rolling. Nigerians must live and die by the Truth in order to save Nigeria and let justice shine.  According to the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere  Nigeria is unjust and inhumane to some Nigerians, and most Nigerians are ignoring the inhumanity or are in the complicity.

Nigeria ought to evolve and not remain in the same rot year after year. To evolve is to change, grow, progress, advance, develop or move forward. Nigeria cannot afford to regress, meaning Nigerians shall not retreat, revert, relapse, degenerate, backslide, retrogress, or go back. To regress is to be disadvantaged. Change is the spice of life, and change is stimulating and invigorating.

Nigeria will run on electrical energy generated  by competing ideas, the enduring debate over proper balance between freedom and security, between equality and opportunity, and between  individual rights and the corporate or common good.   It is the responsibility of the Government and the individual being governed to determine what the level of participation is and what the balance ought to be.

Nigerians are united by our right to pursue happiness in every manner that does not infringe upon or interfere with the other's way. What Nigeria is going through are the normal pains most nations had experienced in their development. It cannot be gainsaid, refuted, or contradicted that Nigeria is experiencing the sturm und drang (German for storm and stress) of development. This writer tells Nigerians: "Be fair. Live and let live Speak the Truth. Do not let silence rob you of the power of Truth."

However, without our faith and willingness to work hard, things don't just happen by chance. This is not the age of the unmoved mover in human affairs.  Farmers who do not plant crops during the raining season, cannot expect to dig up yams and cassava when harvest time comes, do they?

We shall have Nigeria of our dream and making if we cross every t and dot each i and j. To make Nigeria nice  and fair is to first become nice and fair ourselves. It is to govern our behavior so we can help make our country governable. To make Nigeria nice, fair,  and governable is a duty each member of the 371 tribes has to perform.  It is advisable that we oppose measures we feel are unfair and oppressive to others, to act with honesty and fair dealing.

We cannot stack the heavy responsibility for making our nation nice, governable, safe,  and enjoyable upon the shoulders of any one person or group of persons. We cannot deny opportunities or behave in ways that are detrimental to any one group. For example, our President and selected persons cannot look elsewhere nonchalantly when grave wrongs are done to others, nor can we derive pleasure from stomping one group such as Igbos to the ground and enjoy witnessing their fall.

It is unfair to single President Buhari  out as the person to whom we say: "Mr. "President, see to it that the need of each member of Nigeria's 371 tribes is met." It is also extremely unfair and extremely cruel to subjugate another group such as the Igbos to whom we say: "You are the cause of the War, therefore fix it or pay ultimate price." What a humongous, ginormous task!

It is next to impossibility to think that any one person in Nigeria can carry out such a huge responsibility. of governing a titanic crowd of 180 million persons at different levels of self-discipline. The population of Nigeria is huge,  vast , gigantic, massive, enormous,   This writer finds answering to his family of 3 sons and 5 grandchildren a massive undertaking let alone governing Nigeria.

Where is Atlas who is believed to carry the world on his back? Perhaps Atlas, if he really exists, can tell us his secret. We are simply saying that governing Nigerians is an awesome responsibility that requires all hands on deck. The leaders cannot afford to be discriminatory, xenophobic, cruel, or given to partiality.

Our President is not super hero and cannot be worshipped as such because he is only human and cannot carry all of the Nigerians' individual problems alone on his shoulders.  The governor of a state and his deputies should not be used as instruments of oppression against the Igbos We the people of Nigeria have a large part to play to make our nation what we desire.  We shall choose our leaders well to ensure our benefits outweigh our liabilities. No winners-No vanquished should be translated to a truism, not empty axiom.

We cannot just throw our hands up in the air and expect government to do this and that. Being citizens of Nigeria does not entitle us to fold our hands and ride the keke or gwongwolo free. My friend,  a ride on okada  is not free either. What is free about freedom?  Nothing.  Freedom is not free without some costs. Freedom requires lots of effort put into making freedom free for all to enjoy.

Nothing is free nowadays.  Free slaves cost money to purchase in Libyan open market. We read in news that you must have 400 Dollars or 144,000 Naira to buy one of those healthy Nigerian or Ghanaian male slaves.   Remember. It is not dash. You cannot enjoy freedom by denying others the opportunity generated by freedom.. You cannot enrich the North with the tears and sufferings of Igbos of the South. Freedom and servitude are incompatibles that cannot remain in close proximity.

You see, freedom is an abstract noun, meaning that freedom in nonconcrete. It is an intellectual or mental construct, meaning you have to be educated to understand democracy.  We are talking about democracy as a construct, defined as a concept, hypothesis, theory, paradigm, or idea.

You can only interpret an idea, but you cannot grab an idea (such as freedom  or democracy) to swallow as you  swallow foofoo made from  utara akpu, garri, or tuwo for freedom  is immaterial, intangible, nonfigurative, nonrepresentational , or theoretical.

Every freedom is balanced with a corresponding responsibility. For instance, you are free to go a Lagos bar and grab a lady named Comfort if you pay her enough money to follow you to your home for whatever you have in mind. That's your right and within your freedom. However, you have certain limit and compelling duties to keep her secure and free from harm.

Your freedom stops and becomes captivity if you force Comfort, your lady from Lagos bar to go with you. If you use force or threat of force, it is kidnapping.  And it is worse if you rape her then she can bring sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other grievous charges against you.

The point here is that freedom in not entirely free. There must be limits placed against human behavior so humans will not live like anu ohia (wild animals). No one wants chaos, disorder, confusion, bedlam,  or anarchy. The Nigerian government has the right to arrest freedom as police does a robber, when there is pandemonium, commotion, disarray, or turmoil such as is seen when the cattle rearers brandish the AK-47. When Muslims arekillings Christian farmers with AK-47, there are have many things to answer for.

Any lawless Nigerian behaving as cattle herders who shoot people down with the AK-47 (1) is behaving as anu ohia (wild animal) is (2) is uneducated, (3) is mentally deranged, or ill, (4) does not understanding that the freedom to carry AK-47 is only a  concept or idea, (5)  is unaware that carrying a firearm like the AK-47 entails a grave responsibility not to use the weapon to violate rights of others, (6) is a murderer and should be arrested and punished to the greatest extent of the law for taking a human life.

Freedom ought to be respected and handled carefully. The philosophy of Live and let live should be observed. Freedom is what you give others rather what you take yourself. Therefore, in order to enjoy your freedom, you have to give me the same freedom as I give you.  We cannot grab freedom as a man grabs his neighbor's wife in secret.  Deny me my freedom and we both are in captivity.

You cannot drink freedom as you drink burukutu or kaikai. Freedom is not all that free so you can do as you please. It is not a free merchandize. In fact, nothing is free except the air you breathe, sunlight that warms your body, and rainfall that fall on our farmlands. While enjoying your free air, be sure you don't poison the air in your neighbor's house because of some grievances.

We are happy Nigeria is a great country. It is a democracy with a Constitution that guarantees certain rights and responsibilities. We in Nigeria have the freedom to assemble peacefully, express our opinions responsibly, worship our Maker the way we choose, and petition our government to help redress our difficulties.  We have the freedom to pursue our way of life so long as it does not interfere with the doings of members of other groups  There shall be no violence, or use of and threat of the use of force..

GLOSSARY

COMFORT: Popular Nigerian girl's name, jokingly associated with a beautiful , bright lady.

AK-47: Very powerful  guns used in war or battle. The use of the AK-47 by the armed robbers and Fulani herdsmen to kill farmers should be investigated by the Nigerian Government . Possession of the AK-47 should be criminalized. These weapons should be collected and destroyed by the military and police.

UTARA AKPU: White foofoo made after cassava is peeled, soaked in a pot of water for 3 days, and   fermented. Don't drink the awfully smelly water that looks and smells like palm wine. It's cyanide and will kill you if you drink the white liquid.  Remove the fermented cassava from the pot and sift it with a basket to separate the unfermented solids from the starchy residue. Remove excess water. B oil the white cassava and pound it in a wooden mortar until it is soft. Boil it twice and pound it twice. Why? So that cyanide doesn't kill you. This foofoo is delicious when eaten with palm wine. Go buy a gourd of palm wine if you so desire. Don't go climb a palm tree to tap your own palm wine. Why? You might fall to your death. No insurance company will pay for a funeral that results from suicide.

GARRI: Popular Nigerian food eaten with different types of soups; egusi, ogbono, okra, vegetables

TUWO:: Hausa foofoo made of millet flour.Tuwo is eaten the same way as you would eat garri, and akpu. Igbos swallow foofoo like eke (python). Hausas chew it like ewu (goats), or nama (cattle).

BURUKUTU : Intoxicating drink made from fermented millet or other grains. Makes you slightly drunk Your eyes become red. It is advisable to avoid this. Why? It is made with dirty, impure water.

DASH: Free gift. Gratuity, Freebee such as a tip. It is like I give you one akara ball after you've bought 10 or 20. When you marry a Nigerian girl and you pay bride piece, you are not  buying the girl as they buy slaves in Libya. The money you pay for a wife is known as  dash or kola nut money. You pay more later.

GWONGWOLO: open lorry used to transport goods and passengers. It is covered with heavy tarpaulin to keep dust and rain out. You might suffocate in one of these. No insurance is paid at your death.

KAIKAI: Another cheap intoxicating drink made from fermented corn. It is white and could burn your intestines like fire. It can catch fire if you light it with a match. It's  worse than gin or Russian Vodka. Be careful or stay away.

KEKE: The 3-wheeled motorized mode of transportation operated by young men. You have to hold tight or you fall out dead. Keep hands inside or someone will snatch your watch, purse or cell phone.

OKADA A dangerous, fast, and cheap way to travel on a motorcycle ridden by a young, crazy Nigerian man who has no operator's license and who must make several trips in order to feed his family. Some passengers have fallen off the okada or moped and broken heads and sprained ankles. Roads are bad and no helmets are required by law. Ride at your risk, my friend. Don't say I didn't warn you.

ANU OHIA: Foolish person who behaves like a wild animal . Examples are armed robber, kidnapper, governor who steals the entire budget, senator who answers only to self, Fulani cattle herder who brandishes A-47 with which he kills 74 farmers and says: "Buhari na my brother."

Written Sunday January 7, 2018

Dr. James C. Agazie; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; jamesagazies.blogspot.com

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.