A WRITER: Conscience Of The Nation And An Oracle

Richard Odusanya

Richard Odusanya

Writers are the soul of a nation. Chinụa Achebe wrote ‘There Was A Country’ out of frustration. He even said he knew the book will give his readers headache. I may not agree with all what he said in the book, but the title of the book is prescient and can never be ignored.

Things have really gone so bad, and our beloved country Nigeria is falling apart “Things fall apart.” The entire system and its once cherished institutions are all crumbling right before our “koro-koro” eyes like they say in the local parlance.

The present situation and challenges confronting us as a people and a nation are the consequences of poor leadership, nepotism and fantastically corrupt mindedness. Therefore, it has become absolutely necessary for a reorientation of our mindset. The time for the long awaited ‘Revolution of values’ is now, we cannot continue like this.

It therefore means that we should be proactive in our thoughts while we are in the lookout for divine intervention and savior through the merciful God. It was witnessed in the days of old, God Almighty in His mercies showed up at a very difficult time in the life of the Israelites. Jehovah  ‘OGBENJUWA’, the warrior, commissioned Moses as the rescuer and the task was accomplished

Similarly, some decades ago, it was the turn of our revolutionary clergy, Martin Luther King Jr and the results is visible to all; again four decades ago, our own wakanda hero, J.J Rawlings became the instrument in His mighty hand, the good people of the republic of Ghana are a living testimony to the liberation. Also, very recently about two and half decades ago, God himself became a Nigerian. He stepped in and dissolved all that needs to be dissolved.

Coincidentally, the thought of Nehemiah in the holy book the Bible, occupied greater part of my thinking as I was writing; a layman, not a priest like Ezra nor a prophet like Malachi. He served the Persian king in a secular position before leading a group of Jews to a special mission.

He actually wept when he heard the news of the broken wall and burned gates. He knew that the lack of repairing the wall showed people feared men and not God. Receiving the bad news became a call for Nehemiah, a challenge to bring change that would glorify God. Consider how God is calling you to make a difference and be willing to accept the challenge.

From the foregoing, it has become absolutely necessary for a repeat of similar intervention in our present situation and the circumstances that we find ourselves as a nation distress.

This is where the writer assumes the position of a prophet and the conscience of the nation. When I say writers are the soul of a nation, I mean they meditate on the nation so much that they become like prophets, they see what many don’t see and becomes more like a mirror for the society.

Hence, the writer must be willing and prepared to pay any price, even if it is the supreme price. The writer must be opened to constructive feedback, criticism and engagement.

It is, in these regard, that I will like to share with us, one of the numerous feedback and constructive engagement that I had received recently, it goes thus::

“Greetings Richard. Trust all good and that you had a good celebration.

I said that I would make a brief comment on your posting. Here it goes.

I opine that the problem of Nigeria is not materialism because this particular human characteristic is one of the symptoms of a thriving society. It is the bane of capitalism and social advancement or a potent motivator in the history of human development and search for knowledge. It drives people to innovation and creativity. Given this, I say emphatically that our problem lies in what is PROBABLY a terrible mutation that predisposed us to destructive choices, and building societies where inconsequential lawlessness is the rule, and which makes it difficult for us to take that very complex journey from human beings to humans. Our problems are not just in the cities because even in the remote poverty stricken parts of Nigeria you see this abhorrent characteristic  that mimics that at the governmental levels. This suggests that what we have is deeper than what we perceive.  Our people at the so-called higher levels of society are no more than bush men and women who have been fortunate to learn a foreign language. WE HAVE REFUSED TO KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW BECAUSE WE DO NOT EDUCATE TO KNOW. We educate to oppress, enslave and/or be enslaved, both physically and mentally.

Nigeria is not great, and cannot never be great until its people are ready to stop fighting progress and understand that magical success is only the reality of lazy people. Because we have refused to take the steps towards being HUMAN, we are going to always look backwards and at the immediate (mental laziness is a consequence of the mutation I mentioned). Mentally lazy people are always going to look for shortcuts to almost everything! In the industrialised world they end up in social security benefits, in Nigeria they occupy the seat of government and hijack leadership. The followers involuntarily support this in the belief that their turn or their children’s turn would come.

My warmest regards.”

Flowing from the engagement, it is expected that we may differ on issues but we may ultimately find solutions and a common ground through constructive engagement which is much better for us as a nation destined for greatness.

It  was the American children’s writer Paula Danziger who once said that; “Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.”

It was further validated by a quote from Thomas Mann, he had said; “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

Conclusively, a writer is someone who understands time and season. He is a willing tool for the advancement of humanity. Therefore, as we navigate through the storm to the promised land, it is important for us to engage in self discovery through convergence ideas.

 

Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI

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