For all the good that education is, the saying that ignorance is bliss retains a stiver of ancient sapience. For the matchless gold that education is, for the light it pours into places otherwise consumed by unfathomable darkness, for the incomparably alchemical power that education wields over minds otherwise corrupted by darkness, ignorance could sometime be bliss because many times, the one who knows they are ignorant often lives simply, leaving the educated to concern themselves with esoteric matters.
But who could be more dangerous that those who think they are educated and proceed on the strength of that to dish out arguments with the authority of the educated? Who could be more bilious than those whose education never penetrated their minds as water does not penetrate a stone, leaving them benighted, blighted and blemished by ignorance?
In Nigeria these days, as conversations have continued to turn on what must be done to salvage a dangerously ill country, many polemists, charlatans, demagogues, ideologues and mischief makers have found their dais. They have been taken turns to dish out advice to the long-suffering citizens of the Giant of Africa.
Nigeria is at a crossroads. The pitiful situation of the country is akin to what obtains in a house of mourning or a funeral where many throng to offer all manner of condolences to the bereaved. Many can barely conceal their glee behind their funereal demeanors but because the bereaved is expected by custom and convention to be somber and courteous to everyone, there is little the bereaved can do.
With Nigeria firmly sitting in a puddle of tears, it is incredible the volume of advice coming the country`s way.
Shehu Mahdi`s malevolence
In a region where education is gradually being hunted into extinction, Shehu Mahdi is supposed to be a leading light. The medical practitioner, businessman and activist has never been one to shy away from nailing his colours to the mast. He has always found his voice on critical national issues, proudly taking his position, and defying others to take theirs. Recently, he had a mouthful for his `brothers and sisters from the North’.
In a video dripping with venom, Mr. Shehu Mahdi while supposedly addressing Northern Christians launched into a leprous lecture as to why Northern Christians should not vote Peter Obi the presidential candidate of the Labour Party.
In a voice which gave him away as someone who has been having sleepless nights over the candidacy of Mr. Obi, Mr. Mahdi declared that a vote for Obi will be a vote for Biafra. He also falsely claimed that Christians from the North could never acquire lands in the South to build their churches.
For a man who has no structure, for a man who stands no chance in the 2023 general elections because his party the Labour Party is not known the world over, it is incredible the amount of insomnia Mr. Obi is generating among the establishment that has held Nigeria to ransom for many years. The amount of trouble Mr. Obi is giving them so far was clear in the voice of Mr. Mahdi which broke episodically as he delivered his poisonous lines.
A tried and trusted tactic
That Nigeria continues to underperform more than six decades after independence and more than two decades since the country returned to democracy is in no small part due to the activities of ethnic bigots like Shehu Mahdi for whom everything must be coloured along ethnic and religious lines.
It is people like him that have for many years continued to champion people and policies that are inimical to Nigeria because those people and policies are poster children for certain religions and tribes.
Northern Nigeria must be concerned and even alarmed. Shehu Mahdi is supposedly educated. In his own right, he is one of the leading lights of the North. That he can whip up so much ethnic hatred in a region known for its docility is an ominous sign of what is to come.
In many ways the elections next year will be a referendum on the direction Nigeria wants to go in the immediate future. If the choice is left for Shehu Mahdi and the other passengers in his rickety train of thought, Nigeria will be headed for doom.