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When are we going to face reality?


Gabriel Osu

The average human loves to live big; he dreams of a life of abundance, where he is able to fulfil his God-ordained destiny without hindrance. This desire is natural because it is inherent. When he was created, God gave him the mandate to take possession of all creation. This mandate, which also gives him the ability to procreate, bestows on him the privilege of sharing partly in the divinity of the Almighty, Who is limitless in every respect. Thus, every one of us is wired to dream big. However, beyond dreaming, we are also endowed with the ability to aspire to any level, and accomplish most tasks that we set our minds on. Those who have come to realise these joyful facts are very fortunate, indeed, because this knowledge have enabled them to achieve great feats one would ordinarily consider as humanly impossible.

In advanced nations of the world, scientists are also using this knowledge, which borders on self-discovery to their advantage. They devote ample time to discover modern inventions that are revolutionising the world. And so, in the near future, we are going to see breathtaking inventions that would make life even more enjoyable. Imagine cars that fly, powered by electricity! It is not limited to science alone. Every great achiever in life is able to accomplish so much because of his realisation that he has limitless ability that can be awoken to his advantage and for the good of all humanity.

Let us come home to Africa, a continental so blessed by the Almighty, but which has continued to surround itself with deprivation. The human capital, though enormous, is largely under-utilised. And so, the people live in darkness, while the rest of the world blossom in the ‘light.’ With poverty and dearth of basic infrastructures staring us right in the face, we have simply refused to disassociate ourselves from being labelled the Dark Continent. Some would argue that it is a deliberate measure by the leaders to subjugate the followers to near-slavery, while they continue to live large. They argue that the belief that the black man is cursed is not only erroneous, but also misleading. I tend to concur with the postulation that the mentality of an average black man has been compressed and caged to make him feel as if he is a second-class being. But is this always the case? Have available records not proven that we can compete favourably with other men and even surpass them in many instances? So why are we not moving forward? It is because most of us are blinded by selfishness and greed, so much so that all we think of is our own comfort to the detriment of our collective good. We lack love for one another. We have failed to rise above primordial sentiments and discover the bigger picture that life presents. I wonder what we shall tell our Creator, when we stand before Him at the last days and He asks us why we never made use of the inherent abilities He had deposited within us!

A revered man of God once wrote that an unexamined life is not worth living. With years and centuries of backwardness behind us, is it not time we Africans took our destiny into our own hands by realising that we can accomplish much more than we are already doing, that we are not destined to remain subservient to our fellowmen.  We must break loose from the poverty mentality that has always held us captives to our leaders and realise that before the Almighty God, we are all equal. What this means is that we all have the right to live our lives to the full and not allow anyone to chain us down as mere slaves or stifle our fundamental right to existence and self-expression.

One way or the other, we are all guilty of not coming to terms with the current reality of our existence as individuals and as a nation, which is why we are not making much progress. We know what to do, but we choose to be economical with the truth. We know the right policies to implement, but allow primordial interest to weigh us down. And so, we continue to shed innocent human blood for no just cause.  No matter how we may pretend, we know that so much is not right with our society. We talk about it daily; we listen to it in the news broadcast, we even discuss it at our gatherings. However, what effort are we making to get it right?
How long are we going to continue to act like the proverbial ostrich, which buries its face in the sand, while the rest of its body stands vulnerable?

• Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.

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Dark ContinentGabriel Osu
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