Due to the jealous nature of my faculty, one of the few chances of adventure I get is my daily ride to and from campus. I reside in an area near the school gate and therefore have to board the popular “Town Gboro” buses to get to campus. Most times, my adventures are quite simple and dull but on some other occasions, an incident or the other helps lighten up my boring adventure: Fights and quarrels over fares at bus stops, the sonorous “enter with your change” song the drivers sing, and others are some examples of these incidents. Last week, I got to experience another form of entertainment in the course of my boring adventure.
On my way back to town, I boarded a bus with some law students (who are always not so hard to recognize) and from the bus stop to the campus gate, they kept on lamenting and arguing. The topic of their very loud discussion was a very interesting one: From their arguments, I could infer that they were 400 level students and had a test the next day. But it seemed that the lecturer handling the course had made it a criterion that they paid their Law Students Societal dues before they could write the test. As expected the students were not quite in agreement with the criterion, in fact throughout the journey they continued to decry the act, regarding it as “extortion” and in fact, at a point, they began to sound like human rights activists. I was also able to learn from their talks that the due was five hundred naira. One of the bases of their refusal to pay the dues was that past administrations had not done anything with the dues they had paid in times past. This was not the first time I was hearing these kinds of talk. In fact, I had heard them times without number from different students from different departments but at that point, I realized the resultant effect.
I belong to the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS), OAU and one of the plenty arguments I have had as a member of the association is that your dues do not make you a PANSite, Admission and Matriculation does. It is then your obligation as a member of PANS to pay your membership dues. I believe this applies in most association within and even beyond OAU. For instance, your qualifications get you a job but it is the your moral and civic duty as a worker of the state to pay your tax.
However, due to the level of corruption, incompetency and even the economical degradation in society today, majority do not feel obliged to fulfill their financial responsibility. A friend of mine in a very populous department in the faculty of arts narrated to me how the executives in his department embezzled association funds and I was scared for tomorrow. However, we cannot decide to behead the man in a bid to cure his headache. Rather than decide to punish the present for the mistakes of the past, we should continue to hope that today would lead to a better tomorrow because when the eyes refuse to see, the whole body is blind and when the legs refuse to walk, the whole body is immobile. As a member of an association, society etc. we are part of a body and the body needs us to do our part.
Almost indubitable is the fact that common to all growing children over the world especially on this Heart of African plain, are these playful escapades or engagements that mediate their very first interaction with their juicy environment. From the typical tropical Ade in the west and the eastern little Onye to the young Danjuma in the far north, they all have been through this social interaction that inputs in them various senses and orientations that constitute who they become when they grow up. And of course, a man is a product of his environment, the natural characters and those acquired by a child while growing amongst his playful peers actually consolidate to make him a perfect figure ; most of the characters which are to be relearnt by adults to achieve similar feat.
To start with, a typical growing child has virile short-term and long-term memory consolidation due to his or her actively developing brain, but interestingly , he keeps more of good things than bad upstairs, that is, a positive orientation towards life. A child remembers that Uncle of his who promised to buy him some candies last 4 months telling the colour and type of his outfit when the promise was made and that same child forgets his friend who beat and bruised him up just 2 hours ago. He would be seen sending forth or responding to invitation from his friend to ‘come and play’ again sooner from the dispute time ( All has been forgiven). What a perfect man attitude that is! While an adult even though blessed with intellect plus his memory still finds it difficult to substantiate the good and flush out grudges in months. Such is a good character for Adults to relearn.
Furthermore, organized teamwork is desired by men to achieve success with less stress. While adults have to instruct, preach and even compel themselves to get hanged in for a stable team, the lads need not be cajoled before each of them uptakes his assigned task to collectively achieve their playful goals. How so nice it would have been if that sense of participation is not lost on maturation? A growing child also knows nothing but to speak the truth until he encounters the world’s shady part and that was when the son of man learnt to compromise truism for survival maintenance. Hence another golden habit for the grown up to recultivate.
Nonetheless, think of agility, virility and warm-feeling, friendliness and sensitivity and say childhood. Ruminate on photographic memory, funny impulsiveness and unconditioned happiness and re-project the days between infancy and puberty, you would discern a surprising nexus. But sadly, ‘Cruelty of time’ comes to play always. The innate and acquired qualities of a perfect figure in growing child face a creeping depletion, receding the perfectness into degraded personality. Thus, the grown up has therefore needed to brace up in guarding these golden qualities and retrieving the lost ones of them leaving out only the slight notion of naiveness of childhood to maintain these characters humanity so much desires.
…With love to all growing young minds
All over the world .
Idowu hurried along the path with soo much excitement that he almost collided with Oderinde, the village palmwine tapper. The joy of freedom had so overwhelmed him that he didn’t even bother to greet the elders he met on the way. At that time, farmers were already returning from farms with their cutlasses and baskets. Some market women were also returning home. After receiving the message from his father that he will be attending a meeting at the baale’s house and may be coming home late, all he could think about was going squirrel hunting with his friends. It had being a while he had such opportunity since the supposed kidnap incidence that took place in the village the previous month. Parents kept their children mostly indoors until it was confirmed that the young lady said to have been kidnapped was actually married to a wealthy trader in the next village but ran back home.
On getting to Aina’s house, he met him playing football (with a rotten orange) outside their house and invited him to go hunting. “Don’t you think the day is far spent already?” Aina queried, “of course not. Look, the sun is still up,” he said, pointing up to the orange coloured sun, “we can still go and return quickly.”
With that, he convinced him and a few others and they set out for the bush. They decided to go a little further into the bush where the could locate bigger holes to search for squirrels. The fun of being together by themselves did not allow them to realise on time that the sun had finally set. Suddenly they were covered in darkness! It was night already.
Their childish minds did not comprehend the fact that the appearance of the orange coloured sun was not a sign of a new day but of impending night. As Yoruba’s will call it ‘atanmode soko’ which means it deceives the child and makes him leave for the farm when actually it’s time to return. It is only wise to make hay while the sun is still up. When opportunities come our ways, let’s make use of it but we must learn to watch out for the ‘orange-coloured-sun’ in everything. Don’t be caught unawares. When next you see a red-light (literarily), wait till it turns green.
“The Problem in Nigeria is not about the north versus the south, it’s not about Christianity versus Islam, it’s not about APC versus PDP. The Problem in Nigeria is Right versus Wrong”
Ben Murray-Bruce (2016)
When I first saw the theme of the Great Ife Writer essay contest 2016; “What is the Most Challenging Issue in Nigeria and how would you solve it?”, these well applauded words of the “Common Sense” advocate, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, at the Silverbird Man of The Year 2014 were what came to mind. Many friends have asked why I did not submit an entry for the contest and my major reason has been; I feel the topic, though greatly depending on objectivity, is too subjective to just write what any judge wants.
The founder of the Silverbird group stated the problem of Nigeria to be “right versus wrong”. Very simple it appears but perhaps this statement is not as simple as it seems after all, especially considering the unending controversy that has trailed the concept of “Right versus wrong” over the centuries. From the early religious definitions of morality to the much revered work of popular philosophers and scientists (Socrates, St Augustine, Westermarck, Hobbes, Hume, Kant and a host of others), the concept of morality has remained one that no one has been able to accurately grasp. I believe the major reason for this is found in the words of the fictional character Micheal Murdock aka Daredevil (Yes, I use Netflix too), “…Sometimes the delineation between right and wrong is a sharp line, sometimes it’s a blur and often it’s like pornography; you just know when you see it…”. However, even with the impalpability of the concept of right and wrong, several human societies have been able to, to a reasonable extent, establish some codes to guide its existence in order for it to thrive. These codes are established upon different foundations depending on the type of society in question and its end goal. The Nigerian society is not excluded.
Assessing the very basis of our formation, it is not totally clear what Lugard’s true intentions were when he and Lady Shaw established the body “Nigeria”. As a matter of fact, very many speculations and opinions have trailed their decision. But still, one certainty may be deduced, especially considering other experiments of the “colonial masters”; Lugard’s actions were definitely not totally selfless. But then again, due to the part determinability of what Lord Lugard’s intentions were, it is difficult to tag his actions right or wrong.
1914 is a long time ago and many decisions have been made in Nigeria and by Nigerians both right and wrong since then. Many would opine that the greatest problem facing the present day is Corruption. Indeed! But worse, it is not just the corruption of men; I believe it is the corruption of the very Ethical codes that both make us humane and upon which our society as an institution is established. The origin of this cancerous phenomenon has been traced to a few years after independence, even though some believe it was before this time. However, over the years we have watched it spread to all arms of government and even trickle down to smaller institutions. As it stands now, the condition is so bad in some agencies that we no longer even know what is right and what is not. Any good physician knows that it is never an easy task to treat a cancer, most especially if it has become so intricate with the host. It would require very delicate treatments and care.
On a final note, ask me, “What is the most challenging Issue in Nigeria and how would you solve it?”
I would answer in my extended version of Senator Benedict Murray-Bruce’s words; “…The problem in Nigeria is Right versus Wrong and there is only one solution; we must remind ourselves which is right and which is wrong and we must tilt the balance towards the right side. It’s that simple…or complex”