IT would be an understatement if I say I am tired of writing. Yes, I am . but I must make a clarification. I am not tired of writing per se. Writing is my passion. Writing is my life. Writing is the extension of the blood flowing in my veins. Writing actually uses the ink in my blood. So I cannot stop writing. I can never stop writing as long as there is breath in my lungs and blood still flows in my veins and my heart still pumps blood.
I am however tired writing for both our leaders who are deaf and the generality of Nigerians who are pathologically dumb. Dumb as the dead! I look back on some of my articles dating back to 1959 when I started column writing, and through the sixties in local newspapers and early seventies when I ran a column in Uche Chukwumerije’s Afriscope plus contributions to Sad Sam’s Sunday Times and Tunji Oseni’s Sunday Sketch and I found to my eternal regret that all said and done nothing has changed. In fact things have got worse as Nigeria is forever enveloped in retrogression and primitive backwardness.
When you look at the men and women who have peopled our hallowed Chambers in the Senate and House of Representatives over the years you are bound to ask yourself if the people you saw and are seeing were/are wearing floppy fans on both sides of their heads. It would not occur to you that such characters have ears. They seem to be deaf to the cries and yearnings of their constituents; hapless Nigerians whose votes they stole to gain entry into the National Assembly.
The so-called leaders both in Khaki uniform with bogey boots and in over-sized over-starched agbadas are the same beings merely two sides of the same coin. Over the years they bestrode Nigeria like heartless colossus and ran the country aground. They simply were bereft of any hearing apparatus. When they are spoken to with the pen which is the tongue of the hand, they do not hear. When they are spoken to with voice on radio or television, they still cannot hear. Thus the pen and the voice have failed to penetrate their waxed earlobes.
Lamentably, the ordinary Nigerians; you and I who are supposed to shake them to wake them from their deafness are dumb, stupidly dumb. A lot of insults are heaped on Nigerians by their deaf leaders and yet the dumb Nigerians merely shrug their shoulders and move on as if they are all in a trance.
It is the dumbness of ordinary Nigerians that has encouraged their leaders to remain deaf and recklessly insensitive. Nigerian leaders, even though deaf, know that their country men and women would never lift their fingers in protest. And since such followers are dumb, their indulged leaders know that the followers have lost their voice and voices. It is a terrible cycle.
If therefore I have elected to not write again, people must understand my dilemma. Or why should I subject myself to repeating the same song, the same lyrics and the same beat over and over again. Even if nobody is complaining I must myself be tired of repeating the same sound and listening to myself singing the same song. And since my supposed listeners are both deaf and dumb, it is clear that I must have been talking to myself.
Whenever I asked any of my old colleagues whose pens were like razor blade in those good old days why they have stopped writing, they poke fun at me. “You must know why you are still wasting your time and energy writing”, they jeer.
Events in the last couple of years and even in the last couple of months, and worse still in the last couple of weeks leave you to wander if any lessons had been learnt by our deaf leaders or by the dumb followers. Take the issue of the unprecedented silly and insane stealing the sordid records of which are being released daily. Take the issue of our judiciary and the stench emanating from its pronouncements. Take the issue of the shameless behaviour of some of the members of the National Assembly. Take the issue of the idiotic apathy of the dumb followers. Take the issue of the Agatu massacre and the criminal silence of those who were supposed to issue robust condemnation. There are so many cases which the deafness of the leaders have thrown up and the dumbness of followers has glossed over.
It is in response to the foregoing that I found it very disincentive to take pen to paper and canvass any opinion. Or put brutally, to waste my precious time kicking a dead horse.
Would our leaders ever find circumstantial physician that would cure them of their deafness? Would ordinary suffering Nigerians ever find powerful circumstances that would knock out their dumbness? Would the time ever come that Nigerian leaders would be forced to hear and feel as it happened to the leaders in Rawlings Ghana or Mengistu’s Ethiopia? Would there ever be a time that the dumb Nigerians would react like the Romanians or like the French when they cried ‘Liberte!’
It is a great pity that dumb Nigerians are still bemoaning their irreplaceable losses of Adaka Boro, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Beko Ransome Kuti, Tai Solarin and Gani Fawehinmi. It is equally sad that the deaf leaders have totally forgotten Aminu Kano, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello. Nigeria used to have leaders who placed service over self and placed patriotism over partisanship.
Even as I conclude this piece I am not sure if the deaf leaders can make any sense of what I have been saying. I am not sure either if the dumb followers would see any call to action. And if I am not sure that the piece is capable of achieving anything, why must I bother to continue writing in journals? And if I should change platform and write satirical novels, how am I sure that those who refused or could not make any sense out of ordinary newspaper article, or healthy discussion on television or radio would comprehend messages in a book?
If as you read this piece you think Nigeria deserves better leaders and better followers, I will beat my chest and say all hope is not lost. Some day something will restore hearing to our leaders and voice to the followers.
May I salute all of us as the Yoruba always do : e ku owon epo yi o. E ku okunkun birimubirimu yi o. E ku owon gogo omi yi o. E ku apo gbigbe yi o? Salutations for the scarcity of petrol. Salutations for the darkness that has enveloped the country. Salutations for absence of water in your tanks. Salutations for your empty pockets!!!