The frivolity and flippancy with which certain characters are misrepresented, or better put, the mannerism with which we adopt certain puritan language for misfits and roguish personalities at the expense of the very noble qualifications or connotations of such words is of utmost concern for the wide readers and international viewership on Nigeria.
It is oxymoronic to grand-represent a shady character with an accolade of a gentleman, so also it is preposterous to identify a rascal with the words of grace.
Our waggish and facetious usage of words like ‘Statesman’ is confusing enough to suggest we all go back and see what contents such language consists. Those we call statesmen in Nigeria will actually be robbed with the apparel of disdain, despise and contempt in the world of real Homo sapiens.
More challenging is the accolade we accord them with headlines in our news both locally and internationally. My attempt is not to teach English language here because I am less competent.
Few weeks ago we all woke up to read a disturbing but very necessary revelation of what we as Nigerians have had to deal with in the last 25 years uninterrupted. The hurling and burling furore and the resentful rhyming of two misfits that we as a nation have been so unfortunate to have, as national leaders in our polity became a drama so interesting that Nigerians, characteristically too, started taking sides.
Some supported the older fool and some agreed with the younger fool but very few suggests, of which I am one, that the name “fool” does not sufficiently characterize these undeserving deranged imbeciles that are best called Cuckoos or Nincompoop.
Oh! You think my words are too strong for the persons involved? I think I have been very respectful by virtue of my African and Yoruba heritage that gives respect to those older than me even if they don’t deserve it. Come to think of what a fool is.
A fool is more than a person lacking in judgment and or prudence, the word is also used to describe adequately a Clown kept to provide casual entertainment in a great house dressed in motley with caps, bells and bauble.
Another definition of a fool is one who is harmlessly deranged or lacking in common powers of understanding. The guys that called themselves FOOLS understood what it meant more than most Nigerians.
It will be a grievous sin against nationhood not to accede to the fact that Obasanjo and IBB regimes provided us with casual entertainment in our great house called Nigeria during their moments in power. It will also be untoward for anyone to challenge the fact that these old men lacked the common powers of understanding to bring leadership to a country so potentially great as Nigeria.
Now the reason why “fools” will be insufficient in this regards is clear in the definition. A fool is harmless but our enforced leaders, which the two represents in totality, are very harmful in every aspect of the word.
They destroyed almost every institution of nationhood from education to health, from electricity generation to roads construction and management. They helped destroyed the private sector that are haven for job creation and now we have unqualified university graduates who cannot spell their names roaming the streets because of unemployment.
Appropriately, a Cuckoo is a parasitic bird that depends on other birds for nest to lay eggs and have it hatched. It is in public records everywhere that most of our leaders in the lifetime of Nigeria have been very averse and repugnant to development.
They avoid it like cancer. No wonder one of them felt the other outdone him in bringing Nigeria backwards and that brought out envy and jealousy. The older one retorted with an ennobled braggart of one who has successfully hindered “the fool from having another opportunity to outdo his own “folly”.
It is so unfortunate that we have been bewitched as a nation to always get it wrong at every opportunity and chance provided by nature to fix our nation. It is a general overview of what Pastor Tunde Bakare described as a nation of idiots ruled by fools.
Just take time to think about the very landscape of Nigeria destiny in the level of capabilities and inherent abilities favorably disposed to us a nation by the creator. Just think about the blessedness scattered from the territory of the North to the South and the enigma from the West to the East, and something will come to mind – extremely bad leadership.
If it is in China, none of these guys will be buried with full body parts. You now wonder why certain nations are great!
Statesmanship conveys two adjoining attributes of long RESPECTED public service (either as a Politician or Public Servant) and an applauded LEADERSHIP that brings people together for growth and maximization of all potentials within the whole.
Even though the word is loosely used here and there, it is yet to lose its salt of conveying a meritorious and highly successful service to nationhood. Political cabalism and military irredentism of our past leaders, which have worked assiduously against egalitarianism of the Nigerian society, simply disqualify most of those parading themselves as Elder Statesmen in our society.
With the exceptions of the fathers of our independence, with a lot of forgiveness thrown in their bosom, and leaders of necessities like General Gowon and Buhari who are still alive, it will be foolhardy and temerarious to suggest any other name and glorify them with the noble status of a statesman.
What is the statesmanship in changing election results in 1979 in order to install a trusted ally who will not probe your abuses in office? What is the statesmanship in coming back through the back door in 1999 to compensate a tribe of perceived injustice when you worked prejudicially for the earlier annulment of a free and fair election (not in anyway suggesting the saintship of Abiola)?
Where is the grace in according a man with dignity who brought down the value of our currency in a bid to dance to the tune of IMF? A man who annulled a democratic election and was almost turning himself into a despot.
Thank God for those death had preserved from the lashing of the tongue. Evil and misadministration does not qualify anyone with the honor of a statesman.
Enough of the national leaders, may be we should take on some of our past governors who now roam the street as heroes of the past.
A rogue, who forged all documents and records, hides the obvious convictions of the past in drug business and money laundering, and manipulated a whole system all in the bid to become an Executive Governor of probably the most viable economic state in Nigeria is the most recent hero decorated with the banner of a statesman in Yorubaland.
What a travesty! A man who dealt a big blow to the economy of Lagos state, and publicly still continues to do so by holding the incumbent to ransom is now celebrated as a hero.
Oh! How our hatred for present evil and corruption have so beclouded our sense of reasoning and judgment of the past evil and corruption, our animosity for now had quickly challenged our memory of how we got to where we are. If people like Tinubu, Agagu, Oyinlola, Akala, Ubas, Ibori, Igbinedion, Turaki, Atiku, etc are very well regarded as elders and statesmen, then our boundaries as a nation should be defined as a lost culture with no value in it.
To the consternation of the whole world, the present Senate President of Nigeria, who by every standard should be doing direct labor on Lagos/Ibadan express road as punishment for the over-abounding misdeeds of the past 35 years in public service, announced to Nigerians that another rogue, who has been indicted severally by the courts for election rigging, will now chair the senate committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Unbelievable! The acclivity at which Nigeria as a nation is being pushed up the slope for a free fall is overwhelmingly scary. We actually as a nation are dealing with outright demon-possessed individuals running the enterprise called Nigeria. They do not care a hoof about anything but themselves. How dare then should a writer or the general public refer to this brood of vipers as statesmen?
What we have in Nigeria are past and mostly present Emperors who have conquered and checkmated us in the game of our common destiny.
We are chained and shackled on the floor and our pleadings are falling back on our back as a heavy weight of unemployment, bad roads, bad schools, bad currency, bad infrastructures, bad foreign policies, bad and bad and bad.
Traitorous enough, we have in the midst of the struggle some who have lost every sense of responsibility to know that one other weapon we have is our use of language to represent our judgment of events around us. A thief is a thief, a rogue is a rogue and a statesman is different from the both.
By Olumide Goodness Adeyinka
Olumide Goodness Adeyinka can be reached at email@example.com