Our country of valueless values
Living in Nigeria of our contemporary time is like being engaged in a war. Many of our friends, neighbours and colleagues are departing or departed; they are going or gone and those of us who live and survive live and survive in the company of the “dead and the dying as on a battle field.” Whatever our status, position, profession or attitude this is our present reality.
At times you even wonder and wander in your mind if ours is not becoming a really morbifically morbid society. What has brought us to this distinctive state of tragic truth is traceable to the working field of our political miners. In their endeavour to fortify their greed and egotism they have systematically turned our moral landscape into scenes of valueless values. Clearly, everywhere about us today we see reports, evidences and scenes of primitive dicing with death which have borne in on us how close we are to the landscape of disastrous medieval values.
Anyone reading our country respectively as a book yesterday and as a new work of today would see without qualms that ours now is not a country/government of “culture of law’s rule” but of earthlings of irrational propensities and bents. As a legal pundit and theorist Paul W. Kahn famously stated, “The appearance of reason [….] is a necessary condition – at least for a modern society.” Earlier, he had exhortatively averred that “law appears as a legitimate source of authority; it could not do so if it appeared irrational or ignorant.” Common sense and legal order cannot but delight at this thought.
As an artist I seize on this thought in the endeavour consciously to bring it into relation with the current conscious values of our youths who negatively have been influenced by the characteristic tendencies and attitudes of the ruling Lords of the Nigerian manor. I shall here sketch out my observations experientially. But my effort shall not be devoid of newspaper reports and stories that give flesh and blood to it.
As I write this my remembrance flourishes with several names of our heroes past significant members of my generation saw as Nigerians of decorum and value: Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Micheal Okpara, Festus Okotie -Eboh, Dennis Osadebay, Jereton Mariere, Oba Akenzua, Anthony Enahoro, Alfred Rewane, Samuel Akintola, Humphrey Omo-Osagie, Michael Ibru, James Thomas Awadagin,Oritsejolomi Thomas,Majekodunmi, Rotimi Williams, AsifoEgbe, Webber Egbe, Fred Egbe, Rufus Ogbobine, Godwin Boyo, Mukoro Mowoe, McNeil Ejaife, Ogbemi Rewane, Madam Ojojo, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Cyprian Ekwensi, J.P. Clark, and several others the act of remembering cannot immediately honour, occupied ample spaces in our youngish imaginations. They were canonical gems of human beings whose respective stories/exploits teased our niminy-piminy imaginations no end.
In school we read and read till reading ceased to be a mere pleasure in the effort to imbibe their virtues and even follow their yearnings – if we could. They gave positive values to our mimicries even at our impressionable ages and years. I remember several of our parents/guardians/teachers telling us to follow the beaten and unbeaten paths of education if we desired to follow any of the yearnings of the cited greats of our imaginations. Many a parent/guardian/teacher in the Sapele/Warri areas in the Niger Delta of my childhood and boyhood could tell us urchins artful tales about many of these historical figures; artful tales that were constantly at work educating us on the spirit of our age/generation and expectation of its fundamental values which contained the spirits of our ancestors. No matter what we did we must choose the conscious path of honour and decency.
The image our parents, teachers and political leaders then offered us was the image that enabled us to know and appreciate the rational life that made it possible for us to always wanting to trace our steps back to the densest springs of life. Ours was never a honour-less, decency-less, principle-less, moral-less, murderous generation. Ours was a generation, an age, an epoch that conjured up the various forms of happiness and psychic components that were waiting to interrogate themselves and play their roles in our life and in the life of the Nigerian collective.
Indeed, the positive collective unconscious of our epochal part is no more. Today is the generation, the age, the epoch of the yahoo boys who want to “hammer” no matter what. The values they know and espouse are the values of the politicians and leaders of the moment which has its origin in a little more than fifteen years back. The voice the yahoo boys hear and obey is the voice of the devil. This is why Miss Elozino Ogege, a year three student of Mass Communication of Delta State University, Abraka, for instance, while still alive, had her eyes tugged at, her breasts sliced off, her heart and vagina scooped and dredged out of her by stony-hearted yahoo slicers. Miss Elozino Ogege died hideously in the hands of her hideous murderers.
What her Isoko, Delta State parents and relations are going through now is something I would love someday to express in a serious hexastich, but what does it matter? What would it matter? The young girl’s painful death – and the manner of it – may not be said to be a morbid one if treated or seen as an isolated case. But the fact that ritual deaths such as hers are frequent occurrences in our contemporary time underscores their morbidity and their disturbing manifestations as symptoms of sickness of our country that is being misgoverned and mismanaged by meaningless and greedy people.
Every typical attitude of these greedy and meaningless pilots of our common-wealth is reflected in the attitude of the yahoo boys many of whom, if we properly and rationally investigate the matter, even irrationally kill for the devilish runners and spoilers of our public welfare. And these satanic runners and spoilers of our common-wealth are essentially bloody civilians. They are not military usurpers!
Everywhere in our country – from the Niger Delta to Badagry in the South West or to Jos and Makurdi in the Middle-belt or to Kano or Sokoto or Potiskum and Maiduguri in the Far North – we hear of different but similar morbid manifestations of the values of now, values that are no values symbolically or otherwise.
A native doctor friend of mine, who is certainly not a run of the mill native doctor because he is actually a trado-medical practitioner, recently visited me on my invitation. The husband of one of my soul-mate’s dearest friends symptoms of that terrible thing I wish to call prostrate tributary.
Could my friend who is versed in such matters use his kind of art/science of manufacturing and utilizing plants for healing to help who is on the threshold of the other side? Could he bail the victim out of imminent danger? Of course one question led to another.
When we got to the matter of yahoo boys and rituals for money/wealth/ power which we read about almost on daily basis in our newspapers, my traditional healer friend affirmed the efficacies of such rituals. To slice the story, he affirmed that the murderers/slicers of life have sold their souls to the devil. Desperation drives yahoo boys to do what under normal circumstances they would not do. They have crossed the point of no return. Our governments everywhere must take the blame. School/college graduates who have no jobs and no food to eat and no where to call home would do anything, including selling their hearts to the devil, to survive. This is especially so when they see riff-raffs controlling their destinies and lives as rulers and leaders.
The bomb-shell: The big cars the yahoo boys are driving and cruising in for pleasure, and the fabulous houses and solidly fanciful hotels everywhere, don’t we have our law’s rule to compel their owners to prove the legitimacy of the sources of wealth that inspired and gave them birth?
Believe it or not, we are in the wake of the rise of rational political and legal revolution. Our current valueless values shall soon be erased from our polity and consciousness. He is coming who must come. Then we shall know that each earthling on this earth-plane is less than a dot.