Dr. Bala Usman’s Nigeria At 45; & Our Nigeria, Before I Die
Monday, 03 October 2005
His ideas and ideals will live on, and we continue to be sustained by those of us who shared his commitment to all that is good for Nigeria . He was an unsurpassed selfless patriot. He is, and was a man, who conjured goodness for Nigeria , and he was a man of whom you thought of and you are reminded of Nigeria ’s aspirations for greatness.
No one thought of Dr. Bala Usman and corruption in the same sentence, no one thought of him and girlfriends in the same sentence, no one thought of him and thought of the accumulation of un-needed wealth or self aggrandizements, no one thought of him and thought of lavish living, mansions in Nigeria or abroad and no one thought of Dr. Bala Usman and thought of waste, theft, plunder and pillaging of Nigeria’s national resources.
To me, this quality or attribute means a lot, a great deal, it means everything!
The sad news of his passing was unexpected and it came as a shock to me. I was not even aware that he was ill and hospitalized, and of course, he is not one of the newly minted political elite who would have junketed to a hospital in America or Europe to treat their malaria or to just go and rest, or like Bayelsa governor, to remove excess fat accumulated, from feeding fat, off of, stolen public funds. Unfortunately, I cannot think of Looter Dariye and fellow Looter Alamieyesigha, in the same fondness as I would, Dr. Usman, Professor Achebe, Professor Soyinka, Gani Fawehinmin (SAN) etc. All selfless.
Dr. Bala Usman passed away in local hospital, not in America , Britain or Germany ! In life as in death, Dr. Usman represent to all, how life should be lived selflessly. Dr. Usman rejected professorship title, as he was comfortable to be called Dr. Usman, a mark of his achievement in his field. He is so unlike the average member of the Nigerian elite, political or economic, who are title crazy, particularly, where such title crazies have not earned the appellations that they are so desperate to pile unto themselves, so that you will read, Chief, Alhaji, Dr. Otunba, Eze, Senator Adamu Bola Chima JP! Even the criminals are title hungry as well, think of Alhaji Mujaheedeen Dukubo for instance!
Dr. Bala Usman is, was a national institution, an icon and a superb intellectual and he will live forever, because of his superior ideals, his strong economic and political convictions held and expressed for the benefit of all Nigerians, he wished Nigeria well, he wished Nigeria’s development, he wished Nigeria’s advancement and greatness, in what he thought, said and wrote extensively about, throughout his illustrious career.
I have always mentioned him in my writings as one of those Nigerian Public Intellectuals that I admired and respected. A man, whose sense of decency, fairness, and patriotism is unparalleled in Nigeria ’s history. He was an epitome of all that is good for our country.
The passing of Dr. Bala Usman is a wake up call for me personally, and hopefully, it is also a wake up call for a majority of Nigerians, this is because, it should be clear now, that Dr. Usman did not live to see the Nigeria, nay, the Africa that he has always spoken, written passionately about! Neither did Dr. Awojobi, nor Dr. Tai Solarin or Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu.
And the other day, here in New York, I attended PRONACO’s Public Hearing, and (that was before PRONACO started to publicly identify with the unsavory character named Dukubo), anyways, at that conference, I met Chief Enahoro who turned 82 years old, that week, a super patriot, who even after all these years or decades of advocating Nigeria’s cause and best interests, and at 82 years old, he continues to keep at it, including traveling thousands of miles to be with us at the Sheraton Hotel in New York, to advocate Nigeria’s cause with such passion, dedication and commitment that was clearly displayed by this great grand father of Nigeria’s public affairs.
After the PRONACO deliberations, I wondered quietly, whether Chief Enahoro will in his lifetime witness the Nigeria that he wants for Nigerians? I personally do not share PRONACO’s views, but I wanted to hear them and I participated in the all-day conference, as I would, of any and every Nigeria related events, even if with concerns and reservations. Chief Enahoro was indisputably passionate about what he and PRONACO want for Nigerians and Nigeria … he made me wonder why he still believes in Nigeria , even though he may not live to see the Nigeria that he so much desires and he has so desired for decades! He is clearly not doing these at 82 for his own benefits. No person profits. No self-promotion is left for anyone at 82! He is not running for any posts
I am now also forced to confront my own mortality, since death is a debt that we must all pay, we must all therefore contemplate and ponder our expiration or passage. Particularly, in view of the fact that the journey to our national purpose has been tortuously and painfully slow; Now that our national day of political independence 45th year anniversary is here, patriotic Nigerians ought reflect and redouble, no, re-quadruple, our efforts to make Nigeria into the developed, advanced, and great nation that we all want, before our own time also passes away. The news flash is that we all will die, at some point. What will be Nigeria ’s level of accomplishments when I am 60 years old?
In the end, we will all pass away, but I will die happy, when Nigeria develops, advances and becomes a great country in my life time, unfortunately, many of our nationalists and patriotic persons are not living to see Nigeria takes pride of place in the world scheme of things. Ask, what will Nigeria have attained by the time I die? And what is my role in it?
At 60 Dr. Bala Usman was not an old man, better medical facilities in Nigeria probably could have prolonged or sustained his life much longer, and it is palpably sad, that Dr. Bala Usman, this pride of Nigeria, pride of Africa, did not live to see Nigeria become developed, become advanced and attain greatness as a nation.
All Nigerians should contemplate our individual mortality, we should never allow any opportunity pass without acting positively for Nigeria and we should become more determined to act positively to enable us obtain the greatness of Nigeria in our lifetime.