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Published On: Tue, Apr 1st, 2014

Once there was confab: A personal experience of waste

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By Jonah Ayodele Obajeun

There are times when you feel that with all its faults and dangerous fault lines, it is a great honour to be a Nigerian. With its mystique, its mysterious allure, its great personality and combustible mix of macho and masochism, Nigeria is a great country waiting for a great leader. Under the existing configurations, we may have to wait till the end of time for that mirage. But there are moments when something happens to remind one of the great possibilities of this nation if we get it right. Biological clock also ticks for nations.

Brilliant political happenstances are shaped by actions and inactions of apolitical denizens, and in the case of a black man, it is shaped by our consistent aberration to normalcy, such that when you sin on earth and die, God will return you back to earth as a black man. There is a sour taste on my bud, I need to purge it. So today, I will pontificate with my long tongue lashing at our habitual waste.

Some 18 months ago, I posited that “When the din of political commotion on the constitution review has receded, when tempers have cooled, when frayed nerves have calmed considerably, we will have to resume the dialogue, if not for our own sake but for the sake of our children, for the sake of posterity and for the sake of a nation in total shambles. All the major post-colonial crises of the Nigerian state and nations have always emanated from deceit. Once again, the omens are dark and dire. We may have the constitution reviewed but we may never have it worked out because it will never be enforced”

As prophesized, constitution review has been confined to our bone marrow of forgetfulness and Dialogue has been convened, but with worse registers. Now that we are back to dialogue, we are back with measureless waste, faulty intentioned proposals. Our ongoing national jamboree sleeps on the tapestry of waste. With spent men and women holding sway at the dialogue party, we may well be informed that another funded panel or committee as the case may be, will have to ratify the recommendations of the Abuja carnival. There is no point in seeking to return to an El Dorado which never existed in the first instance. This is where nostalgia becomes a form of psychiatric disorder. This is what is playing out at the Abuja gig. Jonathan threw a confab at us as if we were hungry dogs prostrating for dry bones. Confab is a dry bone; we are just decorating it with financial waste.

One sure thing about the organic society is that it is always gone. It is just a stick to beat the recalcitrant reality of the present. This delusionary foundation of the nation has led to momentous blood shedding and population culling on an industrial scale which goes on till this very moment. Famously, Major Chukwumah Kaduna Nzeogwu warned that he was ready to cull just one percent of the populace if that is what it would take to put Nigeria on the path of rectitude and righteousness. The ensuing civil war probably did just that but 40 years after; there is still no righteousness and rectitude in the land.

This is the order of battle, now overt, now covert, which has defined modern Nigeria and the struggle for cabalocracy. But while the battle rages at both the intellectual and political fronts, we cannot ignore the fact that we love to chase shadows. The argument is that no matter the complexion of the sky, what the bird eats is what the bird flies with. Yet despite sharing in the continental aberration of non-democratic elections, Nigeria remains a unique and perplexing paradox. We are poor, yet we are rich.

Rather than a genuine national consensus, the Confab has turned to a national cocktail of contradictions that has borne the Jonathan presidency aloft and may yet shipwreck it. It requires a sober rectitude, tactical astuteness and strategic brilliance to plot one’s way out of conflicting passions. But for a man who has found himself in a great foxhole, Jonathan has continued to roll down with unrelenting panache and unstoppable frenetic fury.

A new type of conflict, the first truly national war – for want of a better term – is beginning to envelope the entire country. Unlike the old type of warfare, this one is a war without defined battlefields or recognised combatants. The country is one vast battlefield and everyone is a potential casualty. Mufti is often the uniform and there are no bugles heralding different armies or flags announcing regional divisions. It is a war of the mind, being fuelled by our confusion and waste.

I am not being hysterical for the sake of it. I am greatly appalled and disturbed by the grim social realities of our time. I am confounded by the savage existence of humanity. I am perturbed by the descent into bestial cruelty and the callous disregard for human life. In short, I am aghast at man’s inhumanity to man. But the revolution is still a long way off. All Obajeun can do is to amuse himself by laughing at grief. In the end, we will come back here to write history of a fruitless Confab that was garnished with waste.

Jonah Ayodele Obajeun blogs


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