Thursday, 7th December 2023

Time to befriend silence in Nigeria

By Tony Afejuku
04 August 2023   |   3:39 am
If there is a time - or if there ever will be a time to make friends with silence in Nigeria – your country my country our country – it is now. You better believe me yours sincerely. Put as many locks as possible on your lips and utterances.

People shop at a market in Onitsha, Nigeria, on February 24, 2023, on the eve of the Nigerian presidential elections. (Photo by Patrick Meinhardt / AFP)

If there is a time – or if there ever will be a time to make friends with silence in Nigeria – your country my country our country – it is now. You better believe me yours sincerely. Put as many locks as possible on your lips and utterances. This is what I am trying to do now by talking as I am doing now. You may be giggling and finding me un-convincing or over-convincing with or without any attempt on my part to eke out details. You may be right and may not be right. You may be wrong and may not be wrong. But something is subjectively and objectively clear at the same time. What is it?

In our horrible state today that offends our sensibilities we still eke out food for our quest and imagination in what grants a name to our hopes and dreams without detailing them: justice, faith, diligence, health, wealth, education, security and more to be given us by leader-full leaders, political leaders who are political leaders not in the description or terminology of the term. We paint these in our imagination without colouring them in our dreams. Thus we sink into despair because things and thoughts of value can no more re-kindle in us renewed hopes we expected from the political leaders who are not what they are or seem to be; who are giving us renewed lies, deceits, suffering, hunger and death beguilingly and un-beguilingly.

And they are so desperate, so desperate indeed, to the point that they are prepared and more than prepared to eliminate and delete anyone including judges and justices and critics and journalists and columnists and babalawos and clerics, Christian and Islamic clerics alike, who they perceive to be standing on their way and path. They are ready to charm you and us all to their side with whatever they can charm you with. They have the gift, the un-matched and unparalleled gift of genius of an executioner of faultless execution of torture and holy horror. O good God! What a season and a time we are in – in this country that is really no more a country. Achebe said it: There was a country. And I say and re-echo it differently: There is no country – anymore. But Buhari scripted and authored our present predicament somebody is finding it hard, extremely hard, to obliterate. Do we blame him? My silence here is my answer.

Now why should we all not be silent? But our silence is not the silence or should not be the silence of fear, of the fearful – or the silence of the coward, of the un-brave. It is not or should not be the silence of the brave, of the courageous. It is the silence or should be the silence that should shake hands with the distinguished mind of the wise, of the philosopher. But who is that distinguished mind borne by the distinguished wise? I would lend my applause to the one who would say and answer correctly that that mind is in the one who at this perilous time in our social, political, economic, historical, and judicial history would maintain a strategic silence. He or anyone who wants to survive this perilous hour, this suicidal hour, this hour of horrific and horrifying horrors should maintain and keep the value of the strategy and tactic of taciturnity.

Those who have been writing and talking the way they have been writing and talking are giving too many or so many things away with respect to the messianic ethos they have been discussing very prominently in the overall social, political and judicial framework. Those whose concrete political forces are on the ascendancy or seem to be on the ascendancy are strategically studying the condition that our discussions are generating and engendering in order to blunt whatever positive things or interests the discussions would arouse and engender to their disadvantage and discomfiture.

For now they have the advantage of superior economic or/and political power. Besides, our today’s history and class consciousness tend to impact against the masses of our people. This is one reason why the Nigerian Labour Congress, for instance, has seemingly lost the will to take head-on the people’s betrayers in and out of concrete power. If it were in the years of years, the yester-years of yester-years when our labour history was our labour history and our labour mandate was our labour mandate and our class consciousness was our class consciousness what should have been would have since been and become what should be!

Everything is going against the renewed hope of the people today. Let the central political power make all its deceptive promises to the people and keep on stabbing them. Let the runners of the central political power keep on doing to the people what they have done to them so far in order to satisfy our Western oppressors who they bank on, idiotically, I think to consolidate their stay in power they are determined to cling on to willy-nilly. We have seen their messianic notions for what they are. Internationally, who they are truly will truly be revealed. At the appointed time, however, everything will fail them. Before they know or realize it they will drive everybody, especially the youths, to a state in which the will to rebellion or revolution will, as never before, coexist with the rejection of everything they mean, stand for and represent. All their bourgeois lawyers and writers and columnists, advisers and justices and spiritual protectors will not be spared. Quite so, I must say – although with my tongue in check. Their intelligence and wiliness cannot and will not be spared as well. Am I breaking my silence? No, but you better believe me.

Unfortunately though, the opposition will also not be given any particular respect and special and favourable treatment. The disagreement they have with their fellow pro-Western bourgeons politicians and polifoolicians and rulers and ill-rulers and ill-adventurers in central government, authority and power is what we may call, rightly or wrongly, the ontological materialism of fellow oppressors of the people in a serious fight for supremacy. We must be idiotic to think that Oppressor AA is better than Oppressor BT or that Oppressor PO is better than both Oppressors BT and AA put together or not put together.

Not long ago, an ardent reader of this column sent me a pregnant line: “Tough times” = Dark times.” He is absolutely right – although he should have added that “Dark times” will give birth to a time of silent wonder. And a time of silent wonder will “drop dead” “the Age of Anxiety” which our current perilously perilous time typifies. I won’t say more than this. I am mum. I am locking my thought. These Benin-based lips are not Louisville lips. Until the real war which will make our country really safe is fought and won by the masses my lips must remain permanently locked.

The Supreme Spiritual Masters of Merit no one can buy or charm endorse my locked lips that are “glad to be alive” to fight more fight on behalf of your country my country our country. Two or so months from now will be intriguingly crucial and crucially intriguing. My silence charms me from ending with any peroration in accordance with the dictates of the Supreme Spiritual Masters of Merit.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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