By Ahmad Sajoh
“Dignity consists not in possessing of honours but in the consciousness that we deserve them” Aristotle.
Events of the past few days have tasked all of us to limits. Our faith has been tested to breaking points. Only very few people had the courage to face the anxieties of the moment with dignity and honour. Quite a number of people failed the test of faith during these turbulent days. We have had cases of people who lost faith and as a result vacillated from one level to the other. Others outrightly betrayed whatever trusts the system reposed in them. It was a period of great test. Betrayals were rampant and blame trading became a major pre-occupation. Everyone became a victim of his own failings. Few people had sufficient faith to stand and be counted. The term honour lost meaning. Most people became victims of their own lack of faith. How the whole saga will end is only known to God, but the victims of it will be many.
Those who lost faith, honour, dignity and courage will be the greatest losers. Some people have already taken sides. Some have shifted loyalty. A number of those who traditionally sit on the fence in matters of this nature have lost even the moral courage to remain neutral. They have shifted loyalties and created new allegiances. It needed a lot of courage to keep faith with what is right under the circumstances. Some Lilly-livered individuals have even found it necessary to come to me and “advice” me or is it warn me to thread carefully. Some reached out to people close to me. I felt sad. Why will anyone think I am of the same stuff as they are? Faith, Dignity, Honour and Courage are the last virtues that will depart from me. And that will be on my death bed and not when I am alive and with all my faculties intact. I have faith in the fact that whatever happens to me is predestined by God Almighty. I have faith in the fact that God Almighty will always vindicate the just. I have faith in the fact that Dignity, Honour and Courage have only black or white hues. There are no shades of grey. If you dilute dignity with even a drop of debauchery then it becomes indignity. If you mix honour with a pinch of dishonor, you loose the right to be honourable. Likewise any vacillation in courage is cowardice.
A number of people claim that they were either offended by what was written or said. I felt pity for such people. They do not understand the essence of human existence. Benjamin Franklin one of the former Presidents of the United States of America once said “If all printers were not to print any thing till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little to print” I have made it a habit to just pen what I believe to be the truth under the circumstances regardless of whether some one feels hurt or not. After all, the Hausas will tell you that “Gaskiya rigar kaya” meaning the truth is a gown of thorns. During this few days I have noticed that highly respected persons have preferred to rely on their emotions rather than reason. So many people have been subdued by inducements, while others by fear. It was a period that tested our abilities to breaking point. How to handle such situations, how to wiggle out of such tight corners and how to keep afloat in the drawning sea of deception and subterfuge was a major concern for many. Each of us was required to fall back to their faith, but it failed them. A lot more needed to remember their dignity and honour, but these virtues departed them. Some people needed courage to withstand the rampaging site of defeat, but courage departed the Lilly-livered. However, the courageous will always snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And victory may not always be in the manner expected. Victory may come in a manner least expected. It can even come in the form of a defeat, but deep down it is victory. Some times even the victory we seem to claim may come in with the seeds of our defeat. The Trojans had it in the form of a Greek gift. The courageous are always victorious no matter the outcome of a struggle.
Those who loose no matter the outcome are the hypocrites who stand on the fence in times of great hardships and struggles. Those are the ones Abraham Lincoln of USA said will end up in the hottest place in hell. Speaking during the end of the American civil war, he said “The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who in times of crisis assume a neutral position” Neutrality is a sign of cowardice I am sure those who played neutral roles will join those who played negative roles in claiming victory on either side when the attrition ends. They will shout loudest, claim the biggest efforts, bring up the most plausible theories of how their formulars helped to end the impasse which ever way it goes. I am sure it is people like this that Mark Twain had in mind when he said “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it”.
As we await the outcome of all the mediation efforts, reproachment and possible settlement, we are sure to discover so many losers. People who would have sworn that the crisis will end one way or the other but it did not. People who had undertaken some negative actions pursuant to their expected outcomes. People who have lost faith, soiled their dignity, desecrated their honour and became cowardly when a little courage was needed. These are the ones that may live with the inglorious stigma of failure for life. Neither those they claim to support no those they opposed will trust them. The crisis has also awakened the people. For the first time in the history of Adamawa State, the poor had defended their dignity and honour. Some people were said to have rejected the gift of sugar and rice from some political leaders. They had courage to choose courage as opposed to the indignity of crumbs. This is a big lesson to our politicians. There is a limit to how much the people can be taken for a ride. Those who may celebrate victories at the end of this crisis may yet realize that what they have is a phyric victory. The battle may be worn, but the war will definitely be lost. When it comes to claiming the final victory only defeat will meet the claimant. God bless all the men of peace.
Ahmad Sajoh writes from Dougirei Jimeta-Yola