Examples are better than precepts
Recently, I was informed and I verily believe, of the story of a family which has five children. The father is 60 years old. The first child is a medical doctor who unfortunately was kidnapped on his way to work early this year. After so many weeks in the custody of the kidnappers, news filtered to the father that his son, the medical doctor had died in the hands of his abductors. Soon after that, the second child, an engineer, died during an armed robbery attack.
Again, the third child, a lawyer, died in a ghastly motor accident when his car ran into a deep pothole on a narrow, winding, deplorable and dangerous road.
The fourth child was a graduate of agriculture from one of Nigerian universities, who had opted for farming after an endless and fruitless search for employment. The private farm was severally ravaged by cattle rearers. One evening the herdsmen attacked the village and killed many people including the fourth child.
Worse still, the fifth child graduated several years ago but did not secure any job. Worried and pained by his own situation and the demise of his four siblings mentioned above, he became hypertensive and has been critically ill in one of the ill-equipped hospitals in the country.
The devastated father, a pensioner, has not been paid his gratuity and/or pension since he retired several years ago. His wife, the mother of the house and a petty trader at the City’s Central Market, lost hope and like the fifth child has been hospitalised.
The birthday of this pensioner is October 1. The question now is: Is there anything for this family to celebrate on October 1?
The problems facing Nigeria are not dissimilar to those afflicting this family. The above graphically applies to Nigeria.
The question I ask myself is whether this country afflicted by insecurity, kidnapping, armed robbery, badly maintained, deplorable, dangerous or abandoned roads, spiral unemployment, unpaid salaries and allowances, unpaid pensions and gratuities really deserve to celebrate October 1 this year?
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “celebrate” as follows: “marking an important occasion with a social gathering or enjoyable activity”, “to make merry”, “to have fun”, “to have a good time” and “to have a party”
In the face of all these afflictions, does Nigeria, like this badly ravaged family, truly deserve to celebrate October this year? That is a question for all of us to answer as Nigerians.
The truth of the matter is that things have not been like this in the country. I would rather suggest that October 1, calls for prayers and fasting. Government should shelve any celebration. As a demonstration of governments concern about the worsening condition in the country the government should shelve any celebration. The Federal Government should direct all state governors to hold debates in all the states on how to reform the country for the emergence of a prosperous nation Nigeria.
Aare Babalola, OFR, CON, SAN, is the Founder & Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti
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