Wednesday 9 July 2014

Nigeria: To a boy most things are forgiven, but to a man, more is expected

An education without history
As the Germans destroyed the assumed mythical status of Brazilian football with a 7 – 1 rout, we all took to Twitter, sharing wit, puns, jokes and memes, some funny, others not so, but the whole atmosphere was marred by a rather tasteless and ‘stupid’ tweet.
I do not intend to reproduce that tweet here because it reeks of odium unparalleled that words fail me.
Now, the perpetrator is a young and rising star in the Nigerian political system, many of us just between what might be the uncle to the parent age with reference to him have found reasons to commend and respect him for his achievements.
In many cases, we may not have been in agreement, but there has been no reason to be disagreeable, he has always held his official brief well and that is worthy of every recognition.
Looking for mitigating circumstances
Yet, having changed masters from a demur Sports and Youth Federal Minister to one who with the brief of Minister of State of Defence whose supposed education and political experience fails to reflect in his tactless and somewhat undiplomatic screeches on Twitter about terrorism in Nigeria, I fear that some of that doltishness has rubbed off on him.
In an unguarded moment, he tweeted what would not be heard in polite society in Europe for as far as the eye can see and this repugnant phrase has not been heralded in public settings since April 30th 1945.
Ears are for listening
Immediately, those who cared called it out, and this is where you know a man; one with character, one with principle and dare I say, one with integrity. When a fault or wrong is pointed out, not as a voice of common antagonism, but one of clear reason and reasonableness, you reflect, review and gracefully regret error.
Sadly, he dug in, with obduracy, obstinacy and bewildering stupidity, flailing with bluster and braggadocio as a typical Nigerian politician blown adrift like a rainless cloud because it is not anchored in the realism of truth and facts.
Boy came out of the man
Maybe I am being overly harsh on the boy, because I as a boy, he can be excused many things, a lack of knowledge of history which in a man we would call ignorance, a lack of the ability to reflect, which in a man we would call arrogance, and the inability to say sorry, which in a boy would be a clear sign of immaturity.
Worst still, I would hate to extrapolate this event and suggest that many of the youth that I follow and engage with on many forums are prone to this absentmindedness of the powerful to realise that one does stoop to conquer, that one is wise to know that when in a hole you stop digging and that being regretful and sorry is hardly as sign of weakness, but one of strength, even if it is not obvious to the person involved.
One still hopes
Yet, one of the greater qualities of youthfulness is not one of aging but in the ability to learn, the presence of a teachable spirit and to know that one can change if a path to being better is found.
Yesterday, I tweeted extensively about A Man for All Seasons, the character analysis of Sir Thomas More contrasted with Richard Rich with the somewhat reactionary William Roper in the middle of some very insightful exchanges, the subject like one handed a rope to save himself has pulled towards Rich than towards More.
I close with one of the tweets I posted on the issue. “It is amazing what seemingly inconsequential things show the true integrity and character of a man and it can be so damaging.” It needn’t have needed much commentary; to a boy all is forgiven for out of him might grow a man of all seasons, but to a man, much more is expected lest he be judged a man of no season.
I recommend anyone entering politics or anyone and battling with issues of conscience, duty and allegiance consider watching A Man for All Seasons (Film), on Amazon (DVD) and (Streaming).

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