The world is in a bad state with the horrifying news that always dominates our airwaves. Everyday, we are regaled with details of nerve-wrenching atrocities bordering on human inhumanity. The global situation is chaotic, messy and bloody.
In Nigeria, the evil genie has escaped from the bottle and we live in fear, the fear of ourselves. Our days are dangerous and our nights are nightmarish. Death is cheap and disaster always looms. We live to die, from dangerous roads to ritualists and all kinds of gunmen baying for blood.
Atukwei Okai’s poem, “Sunset Sonata”, continues to be relevant and decades after it was composed, it still reflects our situation with grim pungency:
“For a hundred hells
Hunt for the human heart
While a billion
Blows bang upon its door,
And unpitying paws
Pounce forth from every part
Till cruel cries
Cake up at its very core.”
However, we need to hang on to our hope, as E. B. White once counseled, because education is meaningless without hope, the feeling that tomorrow will be better. Hope is the conviction that every cloud has a silver lining and that every adversity has an inherent component of equivalent or equal benefit.
In his “Keep Hope Alive”, an address he delivered at the Leadership Summit of the students of his university on March 20, 2013, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdul Ganiyu Ambali, said Nigeria would be better and I share his optimism:
“Despite the challenges in high cost of living, poor public services, corruption in the larger society, depletion of the ranks of the role models, youth unemployment and socio-political dislocations and their aftermath in crime and criminal behavior, the message I have for our students is simple: keep hope alive… Nigeria will be better and the future is bright, believe it,” he said.
One indication that Nigeria will truly be better emerged after the keenly-contested Ekiti Governorship Election held last weekend (June 21, 2014). In a manner that appeared atypical of a Nigerian politician, the incumbent Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, a man of great learning, conceded defeat and congratulated his rival and Governor-elect, Mr Ayodele Fayose.
“I have just spoken with my brother, Mr Peter Ayodele Fayose, congratulating him on his victory. In a few hours from now, I would be meeting the Governor-elect to discuss the future of our dear state and how we would work together to institute a smooth transition programme. It has been a hard-fought election…Despite our diverse party affiliations and regardless of which way we voted on Saturday, we must all remember that we are all sons and daughters of Ekiti State. Ekiti is ours to build together,” the Governor said after the declaration of the result.
Nigerians should be educated; Dr Fayemi has shown real education. Nigerians should be hopeful; Dr. Fayemi has demonstrated that our hope for a better country will soon become a reality.
The words of E. B. White to comfort a man who had lost hope in humanity should serve our purpose:
“As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
“Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society – things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably habor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind up the clock, for tomorrow is another day.” Nigeria’s tomorrow will certainly be better than today.
Re: Let LASU students laugh last
Sir, Good to read your candid opinion and advice to our amiable Governor Fashola on the LASU issue. You hit the nail on the head. I pray he heed the wise counsel but my opinion is that most of our politicians are detached from the reality on ground while there… Have a lovely day and may your writing ink never run dry. – Barrister Maduka, Lagos