Site icon The News Chronicle

Hmmm…confusing

Oladapo Akande

Nigeria is indeed a nation of the absurd, where everything seems to be deliberately turned on its head. You seek personal safety so you move around blaring sirens to announce your presence to those who otherwise wouldn’t have known you were there. Steal a chicken in a desperate bid to avert starvation and within a week the culprit is publicly paraded, arraigned in court and summarily sentenced to a term absurdly disproportionate to the crime. Misappropriate billions as a public servant, which selfishly deprives millions of what is rightfully theirs, thereby destroying lives but then go ahead to “generously” enrich a few with the ill-gotten wealth, do a little charity here and there and bingo! You attain celebrity status; you’re a big man; you’re even considered a good man. If you’re one of the unlucky one who gets convicted for his actions, then just find your way to the right political camp and you may yet get a pardon! As the saying goes, kill an individual and they call you a murderer but exterminate hundreds of thousands and you’re hailed a conqueror. Do we deliberately misconstrue the true meaning of giving back? What’s so noble about giving back to society a fraction of what you stole from it. Personally, I would prefer such people to leave for society what rightly belongs to it.

The relevant authorities in their questionable wisdom lower the cut off mark for those who apply for Education degrees in government owned universities (so to attract and accommodate those who fail to qualify for regular degrees) and yet we complain about the deplorable standard of primary and secondary school education. Wait a minute! Am I missing something here? Like an aviation expert revealed on television some time ago, in this country we have more private jets than all the commercial jets combined. Need I remind you we still don’t have a national carrier ever since the inevitable demise of Nigeria Airways decades ago. Emirates, the national carrier of Dubai has 244 planes in its fleet. Dubai has a population of under two million eight hundred thousand people. The proud giant of Africa has a population of over 200 million….and we take so much pride in this. Sad. This brings to mind that very apt quote by Christoph Waltz which says, ”It’s a wonderful narrative device to bring someone from the outside and look through his eyes if you want to describe the absurdity and preposterous reality that is accepted amongst the ones who are inside.”

So what is Success and what qualifies one to wear that badge? Is it merely to move around gung ho with sirens ablazing having the roads zealously cleared for you by grossly underpaid cops desperate to impress so to at least enjoy the crumbs from their principal’s table Is it to unapologetically oppress the people by flaunting money one has brazenly stolen from them and future generations of their offspring? Is it acquiring a certificate that qualifies you to churn out irredeemably poor students? Or is it to boast to the world that Nigeria is undoubtedly developing at a commendable pace evidenced by the quantum increase in privately owned jets? Never mind the insignificantly small fact that this is a nation where over eighty percent of it’s population live below the poverty line. No wonder Oliver Goldsmith succinctly quipped that, “every absurdity has a champion to defend it.”

Our youths of today always want to go from zero to zillions overnight. Not for them the arduous journey of moving from A to B to C through to Z. Haba! Who get time for dat one At least many of our so-called celebrated leaders haven’t done that so why should they? After all, many of our religious leaders also harp on us to pray for instant breakthrough so why shouldn’t I expect a miracle that will propel me from A straight to Z one time? As a child of God, it’s my right, it’s my heritage and to be honest, that is the absolute truth but….little do these hapless souls understand that God can only bless what you have in your hand. That God given gift or talent honed over time. Skills painstakingly perfected with patience, perseverance and unyielding Discipline. This requires confidence in oneself, immutable faith in God and more often than not several unavoidable encounters with failure and disappointment along the way. I admonish our teeming youths who engage in ceaseless fasting and praying for breakthrough to be mindful of this biblical verse as it may yet prove valuable to them. ”Desire without knowledge is not good and he who hastens with his feet misses the mark. “This is a strong and unequivocal caution if ever I saw one. Be warned not to dubiously chase wealth without first putting in the legitimate effort to earn it for if you do, you’ll be sorry. To fulfill your destiny requires you to develop and subsequently deploy your talent in a manner that honours your creator who gifted you with them in the first place.

I’m reminded of a lottery winner in the UK almost three decades ago whose run on luck by winning millions of pounds also proved to be his nemesis. The British police had been looking for this petty criminal for quite some time but it was this huge lottery jackpot win, publicly announced, that helped them to finally catch up with him. The funny thing is that he willingly gave himself up and went to jail with a huge smile on his face knowing fully well his millions would wait ever so patiently for him in the bank’s vaults as he served his prison term. Now I ask you, would you call him a success? I want to believe your reply was a resounding No. So why should we view those who steal our commonwealth dry as successful just because they drive the latest wonder on wheels and appear to get away with it? It’s a known fact that most lottery winners who come from poverty return to poverty within a twinkle of an eye. In fact one survey puts this at a staggering seventy percent. What does this imply? Most who come across wealth suddenly by less legitimate means will need to continue down that path of perfidy to sustain it and those whose wealth come merely by luck smiling on them don’t fare much better as the statistics above suggest. The simple truth is Success is not just the end point as it includes the journey. That’s why you don’t just arrive at Success but “become” Successful. “Become” being the operative word. Success is what you learn along the way, your accomplishments, your experiences and going by the concept of common good and biblical injunction, it includes your giving back(Neighbourly love) and how you positively impact the lives of others on the way. Horace Greeley was right when he averred that, “Fame is a vapour, popularity an accident and riches take wind. Only one thing endures and that is character.

Changing the nation…one mind at a time

Exit mobile version