The Coronation of a Dame: a Public Service Announcement - Criticism and Odium Apply!

The Coronation of a Dame: a Public Service Announcement - Criticism and Odium Apply!

Unprecedented floods everywhere!  We also have a scenario where established Nigerian artistes are scrambling to be signed on by American labels just because it is fanciful-regardless of the fact that labels do not look forward to the Nigerian artistes penetrating the American market; but surreptitiously angling for the Nigerian nay African market with these artistes as a launch pad!

So too a Legislator with a murderous intent captured on video; checks self into a hospital claiming to be victim! Outmoded crimes in other climes such as kidnapping and suicide bombing gaining currency! Despite the advent of Shale oil in the global energy index with a possible backlash on our mono-economy; our Senators elect to offend our sensibilities by revelling in frivolous discuss! And of course the rising crave for child sex (no need using some fancy word), a peek at the dailies will give inkling.

Added to these developments is unperturbed ruling elite. There is no use citing some high sounding theory to support this premise. With a politics given to primordial orientations; and propelled by geriatrics who should be enjoying their retirement not much is expected thereof. 

Add to the fray an opposition that is not any different from the status quo; given to vain talk and diversionary tactics. Our major political parties engaged in endless diatribe. If the ruling party goes to the loo, the opposition will sound it out that they had used the female booth in instead of the male! Then there is the use of abrasive and uncouth language by both sides; reminiscent of language style of 17th century American politicians! This is what we have to live with!

Also in the mix are a mass of social critics on perpetual self-destruct mode; who have earned name recognition by taking on government not out of conviction but the frivolous status and recognition it confers.

The focus of their activities is to hack on to any hapless victims at any point in time and lampoon endlessly. They like to blow big big grammar online and in newspaper articles. They are a part of the cycle; a cycle that is just playing us and waiting their turn to be brought to the coveted table.

We are what they usually refer to as the “reading public” assuming of course that we are unable to read between their high sounding grammar and semantic lines. I think it’s high time we have an official association to that effect to counter some of these brainwash they feed us. For instance the counters between El-Rufai and Soludo went back and forth without any of them stating whether they benefited materially from their sojourns in government; except for a veiled reference by the latter to the former’s ownership of Next234 newspaper! This is our lot- the usually unheard and unseen “reading public”; they only court and allude to us when they have altercations and need to sway our opinions.

Do not get me wrong our social critics are a very talented bunch. No doubt about that. More so, they have a valid premise for their interventions. But their talent are sometimes chlorinated in a garb! Deconstruction based on citable instances gives the impression that most of them are only waiting to be brought to the table!

They are very cerebral and when one of them moves over they refer to him as a “dangerous mind” ala Pius Adesanmi referral to Reno Omokri!  This is the kernel of the matter; we must all emancipate ourselves from the unbridled hate they bandy. We must take to mind the fact that we cannot all be at the table same time.

While not making a case for graft: has it bothered anyone to ask why the public sector is laden with graft? We pay plebeian remunerations to public servants yet we entrust them with huge funds- so who is the fella with eyes wide shut in this scenario? We need to cultivate a system enhanced in dynamics; constant in its reviews and outcomes. A system replete with appropriate reward and reprimand statutes.

We must be proactive in our resolve against the malaise plaguing us. We don’t have to wait for the next scandal before we cry wolf- that is apologetically reactionary and unacceptable. For instance, the new contributory pension scheme is another volcano waiting to erupt. In other climes its introduction had been occasioned by monumental fraud. It is at similar stage in Nigeria- the PFAs and Custodians have already accumulated so much- government is even contemplating access to these funds-given our propensity to misappropriate - we should be clamouring for stringently actionable regulations to avoid mago-mago. We do not have to wait for it to happen before we start chorusing our usual refrains.

To the object of this discuss the Dame Patience Jonathan; she falls into the category of hapless victims discussed above. With an uncommonly low-pitch shrilly vocals and propensity to speak off cuff with latent possibility for probable mistakes-she makes an easy target.

Be that as it may, the point at issue is that no First Lady has ever had their acceptance. From the late Miriam Babangida who institutionalized the office in this sphere to the Dame’s immediate predecessor; the office has always been the targets of an episodical tirade enshrined in odium and hate. Being the 5th in a successive line it will be apt to posit that- it is the Coronation Street- Season 5: Dame Reloaded!

The question then is what are these first ladies not doing right? Or rather what are these critique dudes not seeing right?  They often cite the comportment of foreign first ladies in office and their activities. They conveniently forget that our First Ladies too have their pet projects which has imparted on lives in their own way. No need to list them here, we are all too familiar with them; while some are moribund, some have even outlive their progenitor’s stay in office.

They forget the elegance of Mariam Babangida and misplaced the compassion of the Dame. They talked about abuse of protocols- well what defines us? In 2009, Michelle Obama committed a faux pas by British convention when the Obama’s visited the UK. The Queen got a pat on the back! By their convention, no one is supposed to touch the Queen, let alone a pat! Back home, Michelle was not crucified for this-it was explained as an American reciprocity of touch which was allowable by the social dynamics of the situation. In retrospect if the Dame had done same--wahala for de...the shit for smell for a long time!

They also cite the security appurtenance of the Dame- is it not regressive that 37 years after Murtala Mohammed and 26 years after Thomas Sankara we would be goading our leaders to move around without security in a challenged environment?  They also cite traffic congestion on visits to Lagos and Rivers: What they are simply trying to say is that the Dame most probably induced the perpetual gridlocks in these parts! Common we know better!

The intriguing part of it is that these critique dudes usually genuflect before the same object of their criticism when they have an opportunity for a physical meet- laff wan kill me die-lwkmd!

 

{read_more} At some point they made an issue out of us being saddled with non-university graduate as rulers. In circumspect, we have had two graduate rulers with advance degrees after, but has there been any commensurate change? The point they should realize is that what we are experiencing is a systemic failure.  This they must take to heart rather that disparaging individuals. They should realize that the Dame is not the problem of either River State or Nigeria at that.

Agreed our leaders have variously under-performed, but they are from this clime. We are the leaders we have. Their short-coming is a collective responsibility even if by our mere acquiesces. We are collectively responsible for their failure.  An incompetent ruling elite and a docile genuflecting followership defines our essence. Amongst these categories we can find predatory elements. They all belong to a cycle identified earlier. They feed prey on our lack of savvy; they play us and rotate themselves at the table feeding fat on our misery.

Mind you there is no such thing as a government; it is people ruling over people. The question is what part you play in the cycle.  So next time you read an article the first point you should try decipher is where the writer stands in the cycle before we begins to pass judgement.

Recall in the wake of the tirade between Makin Soyinka and Dele Momodu whence the latter asked the rhetorical question: that the former should state whether no member of his family had served the military in a veiled reference to the Nobel Laurent sojourn in IBB’ military government.

And talking about the Kongi; it is inappropriate for him to shepopotemize the Dame-such uncouth use of language must be eschewed. What example is the Laurent peddling before his audience which includes impressionable school kids? We must not take general acceptance as a licence to mouth-nothingness. We must learn to show decorum in our interface with people in authority.

It is our fate that we have been peopled by leaders who did not seek power.-this stroke of fate is inexplicable- from Tafawa Balewa to Shehu Shagari- from Olusegun Obasanjo to the incumbent and his immediate predecessor. Given the circumstance, what these individuals need is our support and encouragement and where necessary to be schooled suggestively in the art of governance. We simply cannot keep on with this mentality-of course criticism is good-as much as it is constructive with tenable palliatives.

For years my generation fed on the rhetoric of these types of critics only to learn too late that we had been conned. We all live a lie here. In making this statement I do not exonerate myself.  We are all bombastic-  elements. We have failed in ourselves. That is the truth. We need to see God more; to speak to ourselves more; instead of engaging in endless this and that tantrum. It is time we, coping from a street lingo: borrow ourselves brain and advice ourselves accordingly!

 

Nelson Egwoyi

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Naij.com 

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