Wednesday 7 August 2013

Nigeria: Finding an accommodation for ourselves

Dreaming of the unreal
As Nigerians, we have perfected the art of analysis paralysis to the point of proffering solutions that are forgivably idealistic but have no semblance of realism or practicability in the light of prevailing circumstances.
There is nothing wrong in seeking Nirvana, our own Shangri La, the Utopia of perfection for our country and situation, it is the substance of hope and a possibility but it needs some grounding in what is reasonable and realisable or else we become dreamers and theorists, builders of castles in the air and act as if inebriated to the point of hallucination and delirium.
The burden of the past
On the other end, it is the past and history that holds us back, our memories too keen that we are unable to see change happening before our eyes as a dogmatic sense of permanence in the character and demeanour of others become the unaltered view of the people who might have changed – distrust and negative perceptions becloud our judgement to our detriment of seeing the mildest good in others.
Indeed, there are men that have done unspeakable evil, if there are means to bring them to justice then we should avail ourselves of those means to the fullest extent of the law. What is not proper is to take the law into our own hands and constitute ourselves into a lynching mob of prosecutor, jury and judge – process is the hallmark of a civilised society and the people who inhabit that community.
Beyond the obvious wrongs
I believe that for all the wrong the man is capable of doing, they are also humanly and humanely capable of good either as a nature of their humanity or in expiation for the wrongs done before – it might be difficult to find context, purpose and intent in doing those things, but for whatever good is on offer, it must find some commendation much as the wrong can find excoriation – both are worthy of acknowledgement.
The Good Samaritan in the bible was not a religious man, the religious man passed to the other side of the road, nor was he a pious man, he was just a man who saw a fellow man in need and out of their shared and common humanity he did everything to help the wounded stranger who had no name nor identity apart from the fact that he was just another man in need.
The old cow is smart
We sometimes need to rise above the petty prejudices and dogmatism that blinds us to issues where a pragmatic approach can be as useful as the advice I received long ago to have as much sense as an old cow to eat the hay and leave the baling wire.
Many of our old Nigerian leaders come with a lot of baling wire and very little hay, but the old cow knows the food is the hay and the baling wire is certainly not part of her diet, the cow does not abandon the hay just because it is nicely or crudely baled – that is knowledge, it is wisdom and it is being pragmatic and as humans, we are indeed capable of even better judgement, that comes with discrimination and discernment.
Imperfect people
I have learnt not to totally condemn those of questionable nature and as it were unaudited sources of wealth, we have no systems and processes in place to address those injustices properly, however, that I accept the little good they can bring to their communities does not mean they are totally absolved and rehabilitated, one can elicit the good from the bad in appreciating the multidimensional nature of human beings and that is a good thing.
In the end, for some, pennies from heaven are as valuable as pounds in the pockets of those who do not need the help offered.
Way to go
For a better Nigeria, we might only be able to negotiate returns of some of what was looted by reason of uncompromised leadership that can wield the necessary leverage and use the bully pulpit to make these people amenable to those demands, beyond that, we need strong and independent institutions from here on to tackle the cancer of corrupt enterprise and malfeasance that infests all levels of endeavour in Nigeria.
However, today, thief and chief, sinner and saint, honest and dishonest, honourable and dishonourable, corrupt and incorruptible, unreasonable and reasonable, dogmatic and pragmatic, the rich and the poor, indifferent and concerned, apathetic and sympathetic, religious and nonreligious and every Nigerian will just have to find an accommodation for each other to do what we can to take the country forward.

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