I have mulled over a befitting title for this post over a million times (I kid, maybe just over a thousand times), and I have not been able to settle on one as at the time I am writing this first sentence. I want to write about something very real and ever-present, and I want to write in my style of fluid narration, with in-depth description/exposition when necessary , all conveyed in a vehicle of subtle humor and satire, with the very serious message in there for all to see and appreciate. I want to pass across a very important message, but without boring you to death or scaring you to hell, I want to sound funny and interesting without coming across as a clown, I want to make people simultaneously laugh and think, and then go out to contribute to making a positive change to themselves and the society afterwards. This is the Paradox of trying to be a Conscientious Writer.
Interestingly, President Buhari, who strode into Aso Rock hailed as the “Uprightest President Ever Liveth” kept the nation guessing and anticipating his Ministerial List for four months. He kept moving back the release date like Davido’s sophomore album. We were all anticipating the “Baddest” List, but when the List finally dropped, it felt like Wizkid’s “Ayo” Album – made up of materials we have not just grown accustomed to, but also tired of, because they have been circulated as “Official Singles” or “Leaked Singles” in countless DJ mixtapes.
In fairness to the President, he defended the eternity it took for the List to be released:
“Fellow Nigerians, there have been a lot of anxiety and impatience over the apparent delay in announcement of ministers. There is no cause to be anxious. Our government set out to do things methodically and properly. We received the handing over notes from the outgoing government only four days before taking over. Consequently, the Joda Transition Committee submitted its Report on the reorganization of Federal Government structure after studying the hand over notes. It would have been haphazard to announce ministers when the government had not finalized the number of ministries to optimally carry the burden of governance.”
In fairness to Nigerians too, it was the President’s handlers, loyalists, and sympathizers who kept inundating us with tales of how the President was scouring the length, breadth and the nethermost parts of Nigeria to unearth untainted and incorruptible androids to work with him in bringing about the much vaunted change; so do not accuse of insatiability when we complain after seeing names like Audu Ogbeh and Rotimi Amaechi on the List. The lesson here is: the APC is now in charge, we need less of propaganda, and more of implementation of policies, this is not hip-hop, so we do not need to roll out the hype-machine and try to sell Wizkid as the new Fela. This is the Paradox of running a Government: it should be less of hip-hop style promotion, and more like whatever else is big, serious, broken, affects a lot of people, and needs fixing… something like Nigeria.
In similar vein, accusations have been leveled against the President that he is running a Gerontocracy. Of course, the accusations are not completely baseless, but we need to look at both sides of the coin here. Nigeria, towards the end of Jonathan’s administration had become rudderless and directionless, we were actually on the verge of an implosion, and most of the ills were brought about by the conscienceless people President Jonathan surrounded himself with. As such, if the new Sheriff in town is only comfortable working with only the people he can vouch for, I think it is understandable, and considering the President is a Septuagenarian, it is only logical most of the people he can personally claim to have close affinity with will be within the age bracket sixty to eighty years. This however presents another conundrum: how will the Youths garner the experience to take over the reins of Leadership in the nearest future? I have heard many “Young Ones” blame the “Old Ones” for how the Youths are today, claiming the erosion of our value system is the fault of those who have been steering the ship of the nation since Independence. I quite agree to a large extent that role models are scarce, but when you look at most of the Youths who have been in positions of authority, you realize they are not different from those they blame. In this blame-game, the “Old Ones” consider the “Young Ones” inexperienced and untrustworthy; while the “Young Ones” believe the “Old Ones” are archaic and immorally-entitled. This is where the Paradox of Leadership in this dispensation emanates: how do the Youths garner experience and enhance their reputation to step up into higher roles if they are not given responsibilities?
Pervasively, there are so many paradoxes around, so many that we have come to fully accept them as normal: we build beautiful cities and then spend more money providing security in the cities than we spend providing education for children in the cities; we have many smart gadgets now, but we cannot say the same about human beings; we drink alcohol both when we are extremely happy and when we are extremely sad, and everytime in-between; we make advances in technology, and we seem to simultaneously take equal giant strides in birthing or unearthing humans who seize the technology to terrorize us all. Maybe this is how our existence is to be: to always pursue happiness but never catch up with it; to always preach love and show apathy or outright hate; to always promise freedom and deliver bondage. I guess this is the Paradox of our Existence which Shakespeare captured succinctly in the first quartet of Sonnet XXXV:
I think I will simply title this piece “Of Paradoxes and more Paradoxes” and sign out till next time.
God Bless Us All!!
See You Next Time!!!
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Interesting piece. A true picture of Nigerians and the way we live now. Some call the President 'Baba Go-Slow" and I ponder what they expect of a 72 year-old man.