“E go land…e go land…na em butterfly dey take enter bush” is a direct translation of an expression of dynamism. In this piece, it is the dynamic nature of all human relationships and activities and how they influence our choices that constitute our concern.
Just recently, like play…like joke…, a well-known bald-headed friend of mine and I digressed into a heated argument from a general discussion about a Nigerian woman – Kemi Omololu Olunloyo, who many perceive as having a mental challenge and who has recently gone public with the claim that a popular Nigerian Pastor, Daddy G. O. (as he is popularly referred to) is a murderer.
The crux in this argument was the insignificance of Kemi’s claim first in relation to ‘Daddy G. O.’ (who, according to my friend, is not expected to react in any way. Not even a ‘holy’ concern for redemption or salvation of a lady, if divinely revealed to have been lost) and, as the argument went on, in relation to my friend, who asserted that KOO and her claim was of no significance to him (‘and that is because’ or even though, he can be said to be a member of Daddy G. O.’s church). However, I insisted on the significance of the claim to me, Nigeria, Nigerians and nobody knows, it (like many others, related or not) may constitute a source of sincere concern to Daddy G. O., the path Kemi has chosen to thread, right or wrong, good or bad (I may be wrong) as against the almost certain stance of my friend that Daddy G. O. would never bat a lid on it (NSN – never say never).
Like play, like joke, that argument went on unresolved (of course, largely also because it touched on ‘faith’) and had to end just before it was ready to but not without some takeaways. There’s an American thriller television series, called Touch, that ran on Fox from January 25, 2012, to May 10, 2013 and created by Tim Kring, starring Kiefer Sutherland. Touch teaches that everything in life is connected one way or another. As depicted in the series, insignificantly inscribed combination of numbers on a broken door or crumpled piece of paper may be the harbinger of life-changing events that dramatically affect some persons in remote locations somewhere around the world.
One should learn, for instance, never to take for granted that unkempt mad woman that sits daily at the gate of Government House. Like play, like joke, she may be the silent and eventual orchestrator of a coup. Let’s also not forget the legend of Clifford Orji, who pretended to be mad insignificantly sitting in a dead corner under the bridge at Toyota Bus Stop along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos; while clandestinely investing in a money-spinning business of human-parts trade.
Like play, like joke, while many ‘busy’ passers-by expectedly overlooked mad Clifford, pardoning the stench that they thought he manufactured, he was busy cutting short the life of many Nigerians. Some of such, who might have lost their lives in that ‘Clifford-carnage’, could have been predestined (if by fact, there is anything like that) or otherwise, ‘post-destined’ to be a world leader, or humbly a great leader in Nigeria (in any of the available spheres of leadership) or, in the least, a world changer cum nation-builder.
In good faith however, some passers-by noticed Clifford’s strange activities under the bridge which facilitated his arrest, at which time certain incongruous items were discovered on him including a “cheque for the sum of N88, 000, a cell phone, women underwear and fresh and roast human flesh and bones”. For the interest of those passers-by in what many others had for a long time seen as the insignificant activities of a madman, the continued extermination of potential nation-builders was thankfully brought to an end. What happens if all passers-by felt no obligation to be concerned in anyway by the activities of this legend of a madman? What if they were all too self-absorbed; the timelessness, by its true nature, usually associated with an average Lagos life, the pressure of work, the multifaceted tasks, concerns and beckons from home, obligations towards church and extended family and all other hydra-headed concerns that ‘man’ has ‘bestowed’ on ‘himself’? Then, Clifford would have continued with his acts. Maybe, some good guys out there who have recently done great things in the country might have been his victims.
This analogy aptly applies to the crux of the argument as it concerned our dear Kemi Omololu Olunloyo (KOO) and her murder claim. It may come easy to push aside her murder claim and many others like it – veracious or otherwise, as the perpetual ravings of a drunken madman. What happens next? We ignore, shun, forsake her because some persons have said she is mad and nothing good can come out of her. Nothing good can come out of her? Remember Clifford Orji!
It is important, before we embark on the journey to ignore, shun or forsake because of an attributable state of insanity, to remember that even the Holy Bible of Christians alludes to the fact that heaven rejoices over a soul that is saved. In the same vein, once the soul of Clifford Orji was saved and kept in prison, many souls were saved and, in addition to heaven, even Nigeria and Nigerians rejoiced and are better for it.
In the case of KOO, as much as her murder claim may be perceived as being spurious (without bothering ourselves with previous claims from her ‘ivory towered’ tongue) and insignificant as the activities of Clifford Orji, her ‘ravings’ (permit me to use that, in line with my friend’s perspective) may sometimes touch on an influential subject (as is the case this time) that is capable of swaying perspectives, opinions and ultimately beliefs in particular directions. It may, as a result, be disastrous to ignore, shun or forsake her claim.
An analogy. In a typical Nigerian church, there is the pastor (or general overseer or ‘owner’) and it is expected (I repeat, expected) that his faith is the strongest (of course, that should be the main qualification for being the ‘shepherd’ of the church) and from him, there’s usually a sort of faith-graduation, downwards to that church member (or a group of them), whose faith is as shaky as being lost to the least of all stimuli. Such a member (or a group of them), being in the same position as the victims of Clifford Orji, may be lost from the church and her teachings, without bothering to get any explanation from the pastor concerned (if he cares to provide any). Let’s take for granted that the church makes nation-builders and that their ability is honed by being attendees of the church, what happens when KOO’s claim shakes their faith and they had to walk out of the church never to return to any? The nation suffers!
I believe the dynamism involved in establishing the cases above (shunning or forsaking Clifford’s activities and KOO’s claim and others) as being probable elements fundamental in the ‘very’ big process of nation-destruction (or otherwise) is well taken. In relation to who a man is, where he stands and what he believes, some things are mundane (ordinary, I mean) as far as he is concerned (or wants to be) and do not touch his worries. He believes no way on earth would such (as classified by him in relation to himself) have any relevance to him. So, he ignores, shuns or forsakes.
However, like play…like joke, as mentioned in Touch and as I conclude, let us remind ourselves that everything in life is connected one way or another. An analogy. Following a rift between two musicians, the richest African intervened and brought peace about between them. That was true but I bet anyone will argue it will never happen. Questions would be asked, “What is the concern of the richest African in the rift between two musicians?”, “How could he manage such time for such mundane task?” and all questions of disbelief. Incidentally, the musicians were Olamide and Don Jazzy (icons on the music scene in Nigeria) and the rich man has no hiding place, Aliko Dangote.
Aliko Dangote went out of his way, I suppose, to intervene in that rift. Aliko’s concern (or interest) in what he could readily push aside as mundane is patriotism (known to him or not). What interest he had (I can’t really claim to know that) must have been simply to ensure peace. There could have been (even if by a very little chance) that possibility of there being a foreign investor, who never had faith in the business environment of Nigeria, who loves the music of either of the artists, who felt saddened by the rift and thereafter excited by the intervention of Aliko Dangote. Knowing Aliko to be a business man may help to ‘kill’ his doubts and make him decide to invest in the country (never say never how mundane events sometimes and dynamically influence great turnarounds for good or for bad).
In the ultimate and delicate processes of making a better world, a built nation, a great home and a superb individual (if all of this makes any sense), I very much doubt that there is anything to be referred to as mundane, ordinary and unworthy of the time, worries and personal efforts of certain glorified individuals. I very much disagree and will continue to. For the world to be a better place, we have been told that the Messiah of the Bible never (from his exalted position) looked down on subjects as being unworthy of his attention. He sacrificed his life and he never used lifelines (that he was in possession of) to escape the sacrificial death. Gani Fawehinmi gave up his freedom and his health (by indiscriminately been locked up in several prisons at different times) for the sake of people and events that were and may be perceived as unworthy and mundane. For the sake of making a bold personal statement for better formal education, Tai Solarin garbed himself in Khaki shirts and short pants till he died on behalf of young and old Nigerians, some of whom must have jokingly (insanely) mocked him. On behalf of ignorant Nigerians, many of whom did not know or care about their rights, and who accused him of shamelessness, indiscipline, drug addiction and woman-wrapper attributes, Fela Anikulapo Kuti gave up his aristocratic background and affiliations; and lived practically on the streets.
As we cannot describe some of the beauties in the Nigeria we have today (whatever it is) without mentioning some of these patriotic names, so it is that with every concern (or interest) we (no matter who you are, young or old, Nigerian or foreign, rich or poor, good or bad) have in every of the stones that need to be turned, Nigeria becomes what it must become (good or bad). Nothing happens without effort. Next time you think about when Nigeria will be a great, developed, flourishing and disciplined country, think about the ‘how’; and make a step to offer a personal effort to see that change (whether or not your belief that Nigeria can be great again is strong).