If anyone had told me that an 800ish-page fiction book set in a fictional world, set in what can best be described as medieval, would be playing out in real-life Nigeria, I would have said, ‘how’? with an incredulous look. The storyline for Game of Thrones is brutal and almost beyond comprehension until you read accounts of history and realise that art is mimicking reality. We often mock imagination and then it turns out that life actually is stranger than fiction, time that I would be playing out in real life. For those who haven’t watched Game of Thrones, here’s the super short version while I relate it to the Nigeria context: Nine (in our case three: APC, PDP & SDP) noble (strike that out) families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros (Nigeria). Political and sexual (thankfully, this lot don’t have the time) intrigue is pervasive. Robert Baratheon (PMB of APC), King of Westeros (current president of Nigeria). Meanwhile the Queen’s family, the Lannisters (Saraki & Co), may be hatching a plot to take power. Across the sea, the last members of the previous and deposed ruling family, the Targaryens (PDP/), are also scheming to regain the throne. The friction between the houses Baratheon, Lannister, and Targaryen is leading to full-scale war (showdown). All the while, a very ancient evil (insecurity, nepotism, heinous crimes, heartless people) awakens, in the farthest north (ironic). Amidst the war and political confusion, a neglected military order of misfits, the Night’s Watch, (Nigerian citizenry/masses) is all that stands between the realms of men and icy (hot, dusty) horrors beyond.
Last week, we woke up to an avalanche of happenings that saw excitement in the NASS. After the incident, we still don’t know exactly what happened since the police have denied any involvement in laying siege at the residences of the principal officers of the Senate. I’m half disappointed, because given the magnitude of the allegation against it, I thought the police force would strenuously make efforts to ensure this type of heating up of the security of the citizens wouldn’t happen again since they had nothing to do with it. What I hear now is grave silence. TSK on top of that the now famous statement that brought about this brouhaha was eventually taken in chambers. This is why we keep taking what we hear with a pinch of salt.
The quest for power is amoral and anyone playing politics from this standpoint instead of a standpoint of service to the people will lose his/her soul. Politics should be a system of competition where peers compete to serve the generality. (Story!!) Power on the other hand is about control. This is what we have currently-democracy as power for the few people, by the few for the few (at the detriment of the many).
This is Nigeria (in Falz’s voice) and truly, uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. From the day Saraki sat on that seat, it has been one thing or the other but so far, he has survived and when the drama unfolded in the hallowed chambers, there was high expectations (well from us on the outside) given the persisting rumour that he and his besto intend to defect/decamp/jump ship along the decampees but he didn’t; instead he shut down the Senate, I give this round to him. He is sitting as the Senate President from the ruling party, with a senate that is literally split 50?50 with his party still having the slight edge. Saraki is playing a deft game of politics; this is what he knows. He’s been a two-time governor if nothing else, he knows his way around. If his father was still alive, I’m sure he would have words of wisdom to give Buhari in playing this game with his son. On the other hand, PMB understands power from the perspective of oligarchy. He is not playing hide and seek but absolutely.
I have ordered for some more popcorn because the next season in Game of Thrones is going to be Emmy worthy!
Benue On The Block
When they kept telling us politics is a game of numbers we thought it meant huge numbers; you know the more people you have on one side and the fewer on the other, then majority carry the day. Apparently not in our clime. The people who discovered mathematics must have turned a number of times in their graves. Today, eight out of 27 constitutes a majority and you better believe that these eight were going to impeach a whole sitting governor. This is not the first time however, that a minority constituted a majority. What we ask for is that these ones should have been tutored first. I will continue to be puzzled as to why we throw me when we throw sentiments right into the ring; to think that we have justifications going round why it was ok even if illegal for eight people to want to remove their governor. As long as we do not call a spade a spade when we ought to, then we will never get out of this wilderness. Let us assume the governor of Benue State is actually a vampire, the good people of Benue willingly voted in a vampire based on a number of laws and parameters. To remove him, they must go through a set number of laws whether he is biting their necks and sucking out the blood or not; there are laid down laws and procedures. To do a right thing in a wrong way will never validate the wrong. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. Simply, if they want to impeach the governor they will need 10 more people. I really thought that the new sheriff in APC town would have been wagging his finger and barking at members of APC in Benue for putting up a dreadful show and soiling what the party stands for, afterall if the president allows his office to be disrespected, he will not have all what he wants the party to be. Touché! Or all this could really have been a problem of counting…
Going Against The Grain
Our basic human nature is morally bankrupt-manipulative, deceptive, dishonest, cowardly, wicked, and judgmental to mention a few. It takes faith (acknowledging and accepting that to be a better person needs a power contrary and beyond what subsists) and courage (ability to overcome fear to be better, go against the grain and face the issue) to go against the grain to be better and stand up for what is true and right.
Truth is, it is easier to give in to the base nature for a variety of reason; there is the base desire to be proud and a need for validation of self. To do the right thing most times, makes the person ‘look’ stupid and often times, what is right is mocked, considered outdated and ignored as cumbersome by the generality thereby making what is right unpopular.
We have come to such a watershed period in our existence. We have completely lost our moral compass, and this is very important for not only building up of the individual; but also because it is these individuals that make up the collective and reflect the attitude and beliefs of these individuals. We are now at a point where it is extremely dangerous to do the right thing, demand that the right thing be done or stand up for the truth. If you do, you are the outcast, the one who doesn’t understand how things are done, the spoiler, ironically: the ‘bad’ one. We come ingrained with a moral code and then in the broader society, we have laws that regulate our behaviour and relationships. The basic foundation when I was growing up was being caned to be taught what was right and what was wrong.
I know it’s sometimes hard to do the right thing. It gets complicated by many different circumstances, such as our own self-interest, fears that may be triggered and our definition of what makes something “right.”
Narcissists, who operate purely from self-interest, the right thing to do is whatever is best for them at the time (this could be another name for 99 per cent of our politicians and ‘leaders’).
To others, a right action may only be right for some people, but harmful to others like waging war.
There are probably as many different versions of what is right as there are people. And rightness can be a moving target.
With the above examples though, I have left what is ‘right’ to be subjective but right is like truth. It cannot be subject to wimps and caprices. It either is or not. To do right and stand for truth though should be very simple, is often one of the hardest things to do in our current clime and the world. The right thing means taking responsibility for my own actions and doing what’s best for all people affected. If I cause an accident or damage another person’s property, it is my fault and I must make it right for the people who were affected. In business, if I mess up on an order or shipment, I make it right.
I make it right because it’s the fair and right thing do to.
I know how it feels to be on the other side, like when I found out someone burnt my dress but didn’t tell me. Or when someone I knew stole and I kept quiet about it.
For the sake of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do onto you.”
What goes around comes around.
It’s the right thing to do.
If Nigeria Was A Book-
The author of this poem sent it in for me to read but I thought it captured the sweet-melancholic vibe most of us have of our country at the moment and decided to share. It captures the frustration, anger, despair, vision and hope. I particularly like the fact that he compared Nigeria to a book. To know, you must read; to discover, read; to open your mind, read; to interrogate, read; to
If Nigeria was a book
What type of book would it be I wonder
Would the story be great, I ponder?
Or would it be dull with no thrills like a cloudless night without stars
Would it tell of the history of a land so warm with love and so bright?
And of the stories of our heroes’ past, warriors though not from mars
Men who fought for a dream of a greater tomorrow without a plan in sight
To build a country vibrant and strong like the great rock of Gibraltar
If Nigeria was a book
What type of book will it be I wonder
Would the story be true to life and tell of her current struggles, I ponder?
A lackluster nation, whose back is bent under the weight of corruption,
Bad governance and insecurity
A community of people with potentials and huge opportunities
But no real development, a land without joy, without hope
The giant of Africa? But this giant is so lame, so lame it is afraid of its shadow
What a waste, a shame and it breaks my heart
If Nigeria was a book
What type of book would it be I wonder
Would it be written about her future despite the present, I ponder?
A super story of success and great accomplishments
Of well-made roads brightened by uninterrupted power at night
A prosperous nation built by knowledgeable and skilled citizens
The giant awakened finally and moving with strides akin to swaga
A community of people as bright as day, brimming with joy like a roaring ocean
If Nigeria were a book
I hope it would be a great story speaking of the future
A super story of a prosperous nation with great accomplishments-
Our country, our pride!
CREDIT -Shina Aladeshawe, MD