I have a dream… that our tomorrow will come
It has become a common joke by Nigeria’s teeming comedians, repeated at every “crack ya rib” event to the animated delight of their audience. Everyone, parents and children alike, laugh at it but foolishly fail to see the wisdom in it and take caution. This joke is a reflection of a great disservice and cankerworm that has infested the rich, blood veins of a very important relationship. However, the ignoring of this jocular but serious warning should not come as a surprise to us because the late Chinua Achebe said it all in his book Things Fall Apart that ”He whom the gods will kill they first make mad.” What is this belaboured truth that hurts so much yet is most ignored? That has been rife in the mouths of I-go-die, Basketmouth and their cronies? It is this; “Years ago our parents told us that we are the leaders of tomorrow, but years later we are still being waiting to lead. It is either tomorrow has not come or our parents lied.” Our parents have refused to lead well and have also refused to pass the baton.
Our parents personify greed and selfishness. They wrongly assume that surfeiting us with the “good things” in life will make us happy people. Our parents no longer epitomize truth and character to us. We don’t have parents for whom we can beat our chests and defend their integrity with our lives. Their nihilism is legendary; known beyond the shores of the country. Yet they strut about with the plundered wealth of people into foreign countries that willingly accept and utilize our vast financial resources to their benefits while we writ under the scourge of poverty and underdevelopment.. They are supposed to guide us in the way of truth and straightforwardness but we have lost our parents in the quagmire of power, fame and wealth. They say they are making the money for us when in truth they are satisfying their unnatural cravings and inflating an already bursting ego. Our fathers and mothers have sold their souls to the god of mammon and are selling ours along too. They come to the house with their cohorts and talk of bribes like it is a pious thing to do and we overhear them and so learn that we can also give and take bribes. They do not take the pains to spare us the shoddy details of their corrupt lives. We see our parents being published in the newspapers for wrong acts they have committed and we see our parents lying barefaced and shamelessly that the publication is all character assassination. Our parents are no better than common thugs in Western countries.
Our parents embark on labour strikes for only one thing; better pay. But we have a dream that one day our parents will go on strike for better working conditions, not for themselves but for the people whom they have sworn to serve. We pray to see the day when ASUU will go on strike because there are no ceiling boards or fans over the heads of their students or because the university library only contains outdated and useless books and no free internet connectivity. We dream they will go on strike because our educational systems are not up to standards compared to what is obtainable in other climes. We also have the dream that one day our medical doctors will go on strike not for increment in hazard allowance but for the poor state and low standards of our hospitals and the equipments at their disposal or for the demand to the responsible government arm to subsidize select medical bills. We have a dream that our medical doctors will put the Hippocratic Oath first and follow it assiduously.
We have a dream that our parents who are judges will not ask a man who has stolen billions of naira to pay a mere N750,000 fine and sentence another who stole a phone, a measly phone, to 45 years imprisonment. A dream that our fathers, the judges, will not hit the gavel and say to a man “thou art free!” based on the evidence before him when the same evidence will convict the same man in front of another judge in a land whose legal system we copied. We have a dream, and we pray we don’t keep on dreaming them forever, that one day our fathers will execute completely all the contracts they award and are awarded and will not disappear with public funds without a care in the world. We have a dream that our fathers who are politicians will not keep the masses destitute so that when they give guns and bombs to the children of other people we will have no choice but to handle and if necessary use them. And that our fatherly clerics will educate us rightly, rightly not to be imbued with dangerous and radical religious or political ideologies.
We are still dreaming that our fathers, the traditional rulers will avoid partisan politics and speak the truth; condemning who needs to be condemned and commending who needs to be commended without fear or favour. That they will sit on the judgment seat in truth and not in collaboration with corrupt oligarchs. We have a dream where our fathers, the traditional rulers, will not bequeath traditional titles on people with gaudy, debatable wealth, as the only consideration and will never put their characters through the test. In this our dream, we see our oracles not being able to distinguish between naira and dollars; but spewing timeless truths and judgments as it were and as it should be. Oracles that will not be bribed by the wealth of the rich nor tweaked by the lure of heavy sacrifices and rewards.
If our dreams come true then the dreams of our parents will come true too. Quoting Canadian Author, Margaret Atwood’s 1983 essay Pornography, “Human beings are enormously flexible, and how they turn out depends a lot on how they are educated, by the society in which they are immersed as well as by their teachers.” Our parents are our teachers and they in turn control our society. What garbages in, garbages out. We promise them a future where we will not go to the university to bribe our fathers, the lecturers, to give us good grades because they will say no and mean it. A future when we will turn the crime of kidnapping into a favorite pastime because our fathers will be mere public/civil servants who do not and will not dip their fingers into public fund. A future when we will write JAMB and WAEC without thoughts for malpractice because we have learnt from our parents that true success has no shortcuts but is a function of hardwork and determination. A future where our parents’ houses will not be a willful prison, hedged all about by tall fences, barbed wires, steel protectors and security gadgets; a future where they will sleep with both eyes closed without so much as a care. We will give our parents the future where gray hair and senescence will not be dishonored, nor will they be insulted by children (either via social media or physically) but will be loved and respected.
We lack respect because we cannot find the right personality in our fathers to respect. Our parents are bipolar; we do not know which of their personas to accord respect to. Our parents wouldn’t either if they were to walk in our shoes. What they say is not what they do and they confound us more by telling us that what they do is not who they are. Harlequins have lied so much that the lies are now twisted and entangling and the truth reposed in the penumbra of healthy societal values.
These are dreams that we have been dreaming for so long and like I wrote in my book, Seven Women, One God, “When a dream has been dreamt for too long it becomes a nightmare.” Dreams that tomorrow will come and the children of yesterday, who are supposed to be the leaders of today, will not die in old age without knowing that their tomorrow had long arrived. That our dreams will be fulfilled and the Obasanjos , the Babangidas, the Buharis, the Anenihs and the other Yesterday Men, of whom we read in our history books and we still find them embroiled in dirty battles trying to repeat history in our dispensation, will gracefully step aside and let their children lead. For all these we pray that may our tomorrow come and may our dreams not be mere wishes that will die with the breaking of the dawn. Amen!
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.