Friday, November 28, 2008

Prophets of doom an adversary commentary

Prophets of doom an adversary commentary


Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

Some Nigerians, it would seem, have now reached ridiculously high levels of decibels or din, in their unbearable or equally intolerable and offensive commentaries in connection with matters regarding the current political leadership in Nigeria. These commentators engage in passionate mockery of Nigeria, even as they insist, that their mockery is an affectionate one, mockeries, which they claim have arisen from their thankless missionary efforts to save our dear republic, so, out of patriotic feelings toward Nigeria and distaste for the current government leadership, these commentators say, they must first portray Nigeria as debased? But, must Nigeria’s "patriots-in-mockeries" continue in their usually offensive commentaries about Nigeria?

There appears to be this new, energetic and passionate mockery of Nigeria, by some Nigerians, as if Nigeria must first be destroyed, in order to save her or before she can be saved? These ubiquitous Nigerian commentators insist, that their mockery of Nigeria is done lovingly and affectionately, even as they engage in the most unflattering of analyses and prognoses; What sorts of affectionate analyses and examinations are these? We are informed that, these debased portrayal of leadership and country, are for the good of all! We are told that these scalding comments about Nigeria have arisen from the perpetrators’ thankless missionary efforts to salvage a beleaguered country. Unbeknown to me, it is now said, to be actually possible, for one to be zealously patriotic at the same time, as one engages in actions, that are inimical or damages our country’s image? One must say things, most vile about Nigeria, as demonstrations of our faith in her? Are all of these negative portrayals of Nigeria, in the name public discourse or criticisms?

But must we first destroy Nigeria in order to save her? Why must we, with our words, actions or deeds destroy Nigeria, as the only way to save and protect her? All Nigerians must remember, that Nigeria may be thought of, as a dirty pig by some; (At the very least, that is the picture frequently painted by too many commentators!) Notwithstanding the fact that some Nigerians have been proclaiming for far too long now, that Nigeria is the literal dirty pig, these repeated proclamations, have not changed positively, the situations, so complained of, and such proclamations of decadence alone, will not change anything. But even if, Nigeria is a dirty pig? It is our dirty pig! It is still our Nigeria! And by extension, ours to take care and thoroughly cleanup! In my opinion therefore, what we should do is, shower, the pig, scrub the pig, give the pig a bath, do these thoroughly and perfume the pig! Ridiculing our pig with continued public proclamations, of how dirty or filthy and vile our pig has become, appears to be an exercise in futility and self-defeat. After all, when it is all said and done, the dirty pig is our only pig, the one that we have and can call ours, it is ours to ridicule or make beautiful and perfumed!

Recent commentaries by some Nigerians on any and all subject matter Nigeria, has bordered on mass hysteria! Whether it is concerning Nigeria Satellite launch and space technology initiatives or the AIT Television global broadcast launching in New York or the All Africa Games in Abuja or the forthcoming CHOGM, or the October 1st National Day Celebrations, which did not fare any better; So also was the very dramatic revelation by Minister El-Rufai, (demand for graft as condition for confirmation) revelations which, were seen by some as a window of opportunity or unfortunately, seen by others as, high-noon window dressing?

Too many Nigerian commentators have sought to portray everything in the gloom and doom ominous modes, the commentaries by some Nigerians reminds me of certain legal work or matters that I have handled, particularly, those pertaining to divorce cases, in which husbands and wives often portray a sharply and starkly different perception and understanding of the multitudes of events that led to the irretrievable breakdown of the forlorn marriage, husband or wife, black or white, they would usually recount, diametrically opposing outlooks and dramatically different stories about the same marriage, events that are narrated, so different in their rendition, as different as night and day contrasted.

In September and October 2003, I found many Nigerian events that presented wonderful opportunities, events, which presented themselves for Nigeria in Space Technology information gathering for development and progress, such as the satellite launch and the AIT intercontinental broadcasts, but too many of my compatriot see our satellite launch as a colossal waste! How is it possible for some Nigerian public commentators to see and write about the same Nigeria, in so bleakly terms? The Nigeria that is changing for the better (as far as eye can see); Are too many of us, too quick see doom, doom, only doom? Is it not preferable that, concerned Nigerians forward their wonderful and workable ideas, to Nigeria’s Space Agency, instead of adamantly insisting that it is a waste of resources? Purposeful Nigerians must ignore those yelling about why nothing good will.

EVER become of ANY of Nigeria’s efforts. I am hopeful because, the satellite launch could be Nigeria’s first lift-off, into space programs and Nigeria’s onward journey and date-with national destiny! It is a turning point and possibly a great beginning, especially, given the fact that Nigerian Scientists are ACTIVELY participating in the endeavor. Nigeria has joined the global family of nations, with resources and the determination to invest in, and reap the immense benefits of orbital technology, with direct and indirect impact on all sectors of the Nigerian economy; These benefits for Nigerians and Nigeria are also, what I think of and actually see with my mind’s eye, as the news of AIT launch in New York broke, imagine Nigeria in transnational or intercontinental broadcasting! And sending a satellite into orbital space, our firsts, in the same month, in which AIT took our country to the global arena, we are getting to stand tall on a global stage.

Comparatively, the Chinese space technology efforts reached a crescendo recently, and the world applauded! China’s space program and Chinese efforts are gathering momentum and world acclaim, and yet, China is not exactly a rich nation without wants, China is not your role model or beacon of democracy or Western style personal freedoms, China is not particularly famous in the books of many Nigerian democrats, but the Chinese’s keen national interests in space is moving on, undeterred by the daily needs and wants of the poorest amongst Chinese citizens.

There is poverty and want in India and Pakistan, but both have Nuclear capability, there is poverty and even homelessness in America, while America continues to make huge investments in space explorations, is Nigeria different? I am agog at Nigeria’s satellite launch, I am excited at AIT broadcast broadening of horizons, these are remarkable and delightful events for Nigeria and Nigerians, but some demur? It is true, that body and soul must still be kept together, there is no ignoring the basics! But Nigeria must be allowed to pursue the satellite and or other space technology programs and even as we grapple with other national challenges, as it were. While I see the AIT event as epoch making, and an opportunity for Nigeria, nay Africa, to reverse the one-way-flow of information and culture, as AIT is now opportune to send culture, information, education and news from Nigeria/Africa, some seem to think of it a non-event?

AIT news gathering and dissemination within and outside Nigeria to the rest of the world, is not something that has precedence in Nigeria or the world’s broadcast history, now, AIT will simultaneously take Nigeria/Africa to the world, as AIT brings the world to Nigeria/Africa through a new prism. Nigeria and all Africa, has hitherto, been at the perpetual receiving end, of broadcast television, radio and cable news and programs or other forms of mass media events, that are constantly generated from outside of Nigeria’s/Africa’s shores, without our inputs Nigeria/Africa is now in the position to return the huge favor of cultural exchange via the tube; The AIT efforts, is therefore, more than just a business enterprise, it, in actuality, could become Nigeria and Africa’s cultural Ambassador to the world, a Nigerian broadcast ambassador extraordinaire.

Nigeria from now onward, must portray, a self-image as we would like, AIT in this landmark and ground-breaking efforts, must be embraced by all and nurtured and supported by individuals, corporations and even by all levels of governments, with incentives; All well-meaning Nigerians with means, should do same, image making or image management is fundamental and essentially a must have item for companies and countries, the Americans spend huge sums annually on projecting themselves, propaganda included.

AIT and others, that may follow it, if well managed or channeled, could compliment efforts by the Nigerian federal government, at fostering better understanding and relationships between Nigeria and other nations of the world; This could be Nigeria’s first or maiden chance to meet the entire world’s international community at our own terms When and if AIT produces, qualitative television programs, it could mark the beginning of Nigeria’s culture at the world stage, I possibly cannot stress this, enough. Our television journalists should embark on improving, even, their very bests, history, it must be noted, is about to be made in this arena… It is my view, that culture is all, there is! Culture is all, that really matters, everything else in life, (including technology, for speed and convenience) are just additions, additions that help to propagate the culture of peoples everywhere on the world. Culture, in my view, is surely, life’s main event, and other things are mere ‘sweetners’ that make culture ‘produceable’ in faster and more dynamic ways.

In the Sports, Nigeria led the medal table, after successfully hosting the All African Games, for some Nigerians, no laurels there either! Not even the gold medals or silver, nothing, it appears will bring a smile…. But even if some dislikes the current government leadership in Nigeria, how about sparing a thought or consideration for the Nigerian athlete who against all odds, toiled for Nigeria to garner all those medals at the Games? Some Nigerians are eager to cut their noses to spite their faces? And recently, Nigerians are labeled the happiest people on earth? And some Nigerians are so riled up, offended, as if the survey statement had just said, every Nigerian is a millionaire! What has being happy got to do with having five cars in your garage? When did happiness correlates to wealth or per capita income? Who established such correlation? Did the survey assert that Nigerians have the highest per capita income? Of course not.

On war against corruption, Minister Rufai squealed on those he accused of demanding graft, well, this may be the big break needed to begin the onslaught on corruption, by punishing the accused or punishing the Minister if he falsely accused the senators! But no, some do not have the patient for such nitty-gritty?

October 1st, our Independence Day anniversary came, some Nigerians wrote as if that day should be set aside for national mourning! It is OK to reflect soberly and plot our next move, but it is surely not the same thing, as some of the commentators would have us believe, they want to throw the baby and the dirty bath water.The way some Nigerian commentators have written about Nigeria in the past fifty days, led me to thinking and surmising, that, had Nigeria been a company, it should be recommended for bankruptcy! Or if Nigeria was a marriage, it should be heading for the divorce courts! And if Nigeria was an individual, that is this morose, as presented by these commentators, it should just commit self-immolation.

But why do we have this steely and cast-in-stone nothing-Nigerian is-ever-going-to-be-good psyche? Too many Nigerians appear impatient for any gestation periods, required for any systems and processes to be fine-tuned and perfected, and in doing so, we appear to unwittingly demonstrate, a lack of interests in pregnancy, but only interested in the baby! We cannot just want the baby, we must wait for the scientific 280 or the nine months incubation period, that it naturally takes to produce a baby, naturally, (a healthy baby no less!) Sometimes, I wonder if gestation periods and cycles resonates with some of us?

As some of us, tend to act, as if unaware that heated pressure on the pregnancy could abort what would have been a healthy baby and life, heated pressure leads to miscarriage or premature births, just as undue pressure in economic or political system stifles and stymies growth, economic and political growth and developments.

Nigerians who are interested in democracy in Nigeria, therefore, must learn to nurture the processes, the systems, and persistence in enduring the pained pace akin to the pains of pregnancies, the agonies of baby delivery, processes that must transpire, before the joy of healthy baby or life, analogous to democracy, political, economic development, which will be delivered in a stable democratic Nigeria.

We cannot appear to be uninterested in the strenuous pains of the process, but only interested in the baby or the end results of democracy, it takes time, it will take time and more importantly, it will take all of our concerted efforts, citizens and leaders alike. We cannot adopt attitudes, reminiscent quick fixes above, we cannot so quickly forget how far off-course we were, and how far we have now come, and how far more we have as yet to travel, we cannot not forget the intangible benefits of our current dispensation in democracy and freedoms, we may be late in setting out and arriving at our national destination, but we must keep moving to get there.

Nigerians must not seem to overlook the profoundness and magnitude, of the progress that Nigeria has made, we should not forget or take for granted, the intangible benefits of our current systems, the tangibles will multiply in due time. We have come a long way. Good policies and programs, fruits, of good systems that endure, require us to stay the course and be circumspect, even in difficult and hard times. The months of September and October 2003, have witnessed extraordinary numbers of Nigerians, writing so mortally and critically of Nigeria, in the most acerbic and depraved manner, about Nigeria's leadership and Nigeria, the lack of a possibility, or of any chance of anything ever going right in our life time. Optimism where are thou? Are we this fatalistic and doomed?

September and October represent, in my opinion, momentous and phenomenal times, because of the events that took place in Nigeria, and or elsewhere in the world, for and on behalf of Nigeria's national interests, and in Nigeria's march to development and progress! What with our satellite launch? It is our first step! Small step, perhaps, but the right step! What with AIT global broadcast efforts and beaming our culture and news to the world? Information exchange is how the world works! Space Technology and Broadcast Technology are actually inter-related; The forward movements by Nigeria, in these areas deserve our support and commendation, the immense benefits that could be derived from these efforts are immeasurable, we should give credit to those making these efforts! These are new endeavors, untried in Nigeria.

Despite negative reactions to these events by some commentators, who appear to be, too entrenched, in their position, and their erroneous belief in the air-tight and water-tight infallibility of their assumed correctness, in their foregone conclusion of Nigeria, as being irredeemable. Nigeria has surmountable challenges! Why do some Nigerians seem so comfortable in their vehemence and persistence, insisting on, their "only in-Nigeria-bad-things-happen" negative mindsets?

What would these same Nigerians do or would have done, if Nigeria was Palestine, Somalia, Afghanistan the Sudan, Bosnia or Iraq? It is surely not a happy-thought, to compare Nigeria to failed counties or crises torn countries, but perhaps, some Nigerians should have, some sober and somber reflections, to get some perspective. Nigeria face surmountable challenges, we should criticize and proffer solutions and we should join hands in the collective efforts to lead Nigeria to where we prefer, presumably to the path of development and progress.

Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional.

November 2003

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