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If that is it, is that it?

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Soyinka


Words, speak to me!I Cannot read any more. Not a physical book, not an eBook either. Not newspapers, not news magazines. And when my colleagues speak, they speak words of compromise. And they laugh as if they do not believe themselves and so do not expect me to believe them. And my friend is far away, not at arm’s length so that reasoning does not intervene in his intervention. Distance, go away, and let words mean what words say they say!
Wole Soyinka had sung in jest:
Principle na sweet word for mouth
But Compromise is much better!
A little bite of the National cake
Is sweet pass any woman!
My friend I am only human!
So whatever Big Noise May reign
I will be the Ogbugbu of Gbuu sir!

The contemporary of the Ogbugbu swore he would never dig a bore hole or ‘on’ any ‘gen’ and abandoned the country of bore holes and ‘on-ning’ all the ‘gens’ for a place where communal sharing was the norm. Twenty-five years later, he returns and is digging bore holes and ‘on-ning’ ‘gens’. How can I then ask words to speak truth and meaning to me?

A younger colleague, thoroughly soaked in the Nigerian daddy-syndrome, (I’m not your daddy, I’m your colleague!) said words that are made of fool’s gold in Nigeria: “When what is desirable is not available, then what is available becomes desirable.” But this means a world without Ethics, don’t you think? His response was that ‘e don tire me o!’
So, it is the land of Compromise without thinking twice!

And the sung continues. When the Ogbugbu was questioned as to why he would, like a lizard, prostrate to the Anointed In-Coming Noise, he said one might prostrate to a dwarf because, when one got up from grovelling, one would still be taller than the dwarf! Compromise Philosophy 101! Words have refused to speak to the Ogbugbu of Gbuu!

What we call roads are not roads and we go on calling them roads. What we call politics is not politics and we keep calling it politics. What we call Education is not Education but we keep calling it Education. And so the road does not allow us to go any where. The politics does not make anything happen for us. And Education does not educate us. Words, why don’t you speak to us?

The Ogbugbu said that God would never forgive him if he was ever to endorse his former Deputy Ogbugbu, hereafter referred to as D.O., as the In-Coming Noise to reign in Nigeria? His reasons are set out in his Testament that drips with God mentions and citations: “his parental background, which was somewhat shadowy, his propensity to corruption, his tendency to disloyalty, his inability to say and stick to the truth all the time, a propensity for poor judgement, his belief and reliance on marabouts, his lack of transparency, his trust in money to buy his way out on all issues and his readiness to sacrifice morality, integrity, propriety, truth, and national interest for self and selfish interest. Maybe some of these traits and poor attributes are not easy to see until you work with the person concerned. And those who should tell would keep quiet so that they would not be accused of running others down.

For instance until later, when a distinguished Chief from Bauchi pointed out to me the value of pedigree, queried D.O.’s pedigree and blamed me for making a wrong choice, I did not pay attention to D.O.’s parental background. Furthermore until all efforts to help D.O. change had failed – and having stumbled upon a report of inquiry carried out on him – I asked one of my predecessors why he did not inform me of how bad the report was and he said that he thought I knew. He said, “This was a man I wanted to dismiss and jail but for the intervention of Shagaya and Yar’Adua.” I took him at face value.

However, if his appointment was an error, I fully accepted responsibility for the genuine mistake. And knowing all that I discovered about him, what would have been an unpardonable mistake and sin against God would have been to foist him on Nigeria.” WORDS, speak to us!Publicly, the Ogbugbu said: “If I support him for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, he can never enjoy my support.”

But change has changed. If that is it, then that is it. The present Noise that is reigning wants a second term. He would then equal the Ogbugbu in being military head of state as well as civilian president. That should never happen. Whatever Noise has reigned before or since, and would reign in the future, he must be the Most Ogbugbu of Gbuu, the Greatest Noise that has ever and that will ever reign in Nigeria.
Others people and groups and village associations with their own petitions and agendas, making their own noises, have joined Ogbugbu and they are saying the present Noise must cease, forget about a second term, terminate his Noise and be done. One old man who wants restructuring of the federation in his life time is endorsing the D.O. as the In-Coming Noise because the D.O. promises to restructure the federation.

And it is not because there are no other candidates desperately seeking to be the next Reigning Noise of Nigeria. There are tons and tons of them. Or thousands of decibels of them. There are: Donald Duke, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Tope Fasua, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido, Ahmed Makarfi, Olusegun Mimiko, Kingsley Moghalu, Bukola Saraki, Remi Sonaiya, Omoyele Sowore, Kabir Tanimu Turaki, and we are still counting. Couldn’t Ogbugbu endorse any one or two of these ladies and gentlemen, one for Oga Final Noise and the other Vice Big Noise?

But how can he in a situation of Compromise before, during and after everything else? We exist in a world without Ethics. We have abandoned our traditional ethics, which emphasised the ideal of “death rather than dishonor.”

We have churches and mosques in abundance. We even have Ph.D.s in theology but they do not include Ethics which emphasise speaking the truth to God and your neighbour. How then can words speak to us?
bankole.omotoso@elizadeuniversity.edu.ng


In this article:
Wole Soyinka
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