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Published On: Fri, Jul 19th, 2019

Revisiting ‘ode to us’ -A lamentation

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By Mohammed Adamu

“When lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom,” Shakespeare wrote, “it is the gentler gamester that is the soonest winner.” A nation that regales in wanton lawlessness cannot hope for salvation even from the bounty of her own gratuity. When the law will do no right, it has to be lawful also that the law should bar no wrong. People affrighted by wrong doers are bound to take the law into their hands when the law that should affright all, will not secure them. When a nation makes a ‘scarecrow’ of its laws, letting it stay mute in statute when it should be brute in action, the birds of prey that the dummy should scare, will make it their perch and not their terror. When evil deeds have their permissive pass and not their strict punishment, to everyone then will be his own statute. Every ‘why’ they say has a ‘wherefore’. But not this one ‘why’ that appears to hang above our troubled skies. Not this thick, black, pregnant cloud above us hanging like the sword of Damocles. Why? Why all these murders, massacres and slaughters? Why these acts of black night, these abominable, heinous deeds? Why these complots of mischief, this brother-against-brother? These villainies ruthful to hear yet piteously committed? Why are we such insistently ‘godly’ people, but dressed always in the habiliments of war? Why must we, perpetually be on each others’ jugular? The more pity, they say that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.

We murder while we smile. Yet we frame our faces to each mournful occasion –wetting our cheeks always with artificial tears. We are so villainous we deceive more easily than Ulysses could. By the way Ulysses was the Greek legend who sold to Troy the dummy of the Trojan Horse, -to win a crucial war for the fatherland. Alas the Ulyssess of our own nation are dissembling bigots always in plots to harm their fatherland. Those who lay the most claim to the patent of patriotism, are the same who array their cunnings to deny the nation a Trojan victory -preferring instead, to put her through an imminent Athenian defeat. They make our old gaping wounds gush forth anew with blood like the Golgotha of old. These dissembling ‘patriots’ are bent on drowning the nation in the surreal flood of her own tears. Enemies of state, a tiny vocal minority, obdurate at heart, malevolent in intent, motivated only by personal political gains, are now up in arms against one and all. We are assailed on the one hand by deviants engaged daily in high crimes and misdemeanor, and on the other, by traitors bent on making capital out of everyday criminality.


Tribes and tongues now take the law into their hands, because the law being lame in action resolves to do no right. The army of venal politicians, making the law their perch and not their terror, now freely stoke the fire of mischief. The factionalized and sectionalized public is reduced to schismatic mutual self-loathing –debating always what ‘grievous wrong’ shamelessly to defend or what ‘noble right’ wickedly to debase. And the question inevitably arises: ‘is this at last the sullen presage of our nation’s final decay?’ -that we are now condemned foolishly to array our might even against the sinews of our own existence; or that we are now irretrievably sold to making a bloody conquest of ourselves! Tut, tut! The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly. Our so called men of God happily now are prophets of a new calling –of gloom and of doom. They speak no longer of peace because they have themselves become the harsh and boisterous tongue of woe. Woe betides every subject that they lay their evil tongues on! They will neither leave vengeance to God nor will they allow forgiveness season the relationship among the faithful of God. They have turned the ‘word’ to ‘sword’, their ink to blood, their pens to piercing lances and their mouths to loud trumpets and beagle of war. Our politicians, when they speak, they do so with malice and with deep incision. They apply moral medicines even to mortifying mischief. They are adept only with words that are razors to our wounded hearts. They measure always the heat of their livers with the bitterness of their gals.


If we persist in taking no heed, the blood of innocents shall continue to manure the ground; and future ages will groan for our present inaction. We have a choice to make: To parley or to fight; to jaw-jaw or to war-war. To be or not to be: that is the question: whether it is nobler in the circumstance, to suffer the slings and arrows of mutual distemper or together to take up arms against the mutiny of hate mongers; it is a consideration devoutly to be weighed. We must not allow our grief minister unto our reason, or seek to heal the inveterate canker of one wound by making many. Our fault must not be our folly. We must not afford to find out ‘right’ with ‘wrong’. For as they say ‘two wrongs do not make a right’. We cannot afford to have vengeance in our hearts when we are blest with the Christian virtue of ‘turning the other cheek’; nor should we afford to have death in our hands when we are blessed with the Islamic morale of ‘forgiving at the peak of our anger’. We must remember those who steep their safety in blood shall find but bloody safety in return. He who lives by the sword, shall die by the sword. For there is no sure foundation set on blood; no certain life achieved by others’ death. In a false quarrel there is no true valor; but in peace there is victory for all. Peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued and no party loser.



Be sure not to spare the instruments of chastisement; lest thy power, like to a fangless lion, is disdained and disregarded.  Be great in act as we know you to be in thought. Be stirring with the times; be fire for fire! To gain the popular mood, you have to threaten threateners and you must outface the brow of bragging horror. You must put on the dauntless spirit of resolution. You should glister like the god of war when he intends to become the field of battle! Allow not our dreadful laws so loosely to be slighted or the dignity of our state so wantonly profaned. Break some bones, if you have to break some bones! Chew some stones if that’s what it takes to make some haughty nuts run for cover! Although you should not do your aides the wrong to mistrust any, you must also do yourself the right to trust none. And because your foes are deeply enrooted with your friends, it is inexorable that as you pluck to unfix an enemy, you must be prepared sometimes even to un-root a few friends. And yes, advantage is a better soldier than rashness; but even as you are right to be ‘slow and steady’, it is expedient that you ‘make haste’ to keep us secure and merry. It may be great Mr. President that you do not have the scholar’s melancholy, but it is certainly out of place that you should not have the jauntiness of a soldier.

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