Every society has a way of regenerating for the future. It’s called the young and the youth. You groom them so they take over from the grizzly and tested elders and keep the wheels of the society moving forward into a glorious future.
But, not Nigeria.
A blanket has been draped over hope in our dear country. The youth that are supposed to take over from the stained elders often arrive worse than the men and women they’re supposed to replace. And, those who arrive with songs of progress and muscles of change are sometimes put to the sword.
You always want to find something right in your country. You fight strangers abroad who find a dark spot on your country’s image, screaming at them to shine the light on the pockets of progress. You look for something, a spot of earth, to plant a seed of hope in. But, sometimes you know you’re barking at a rock.
It’s tough to have hope in Nigeria. It’s tough to see anything but gloom in the gathering dusk that hovers over the country. Often, it feels like the keepers of Nigeria’s future are strung out on marijuana. They send out their armies of death into the general population, eliminating the bearers of hope
The popular maxim is “if you can’t beat them, join them”. But, not content with just joining and taking their places in the hierarchical chain, Nigerian politicians have gone a few steps farther into the abyss. Now, if you can’t beat them, you kill them. You kill them all
And, with a government looking more and more confused about the worsening security situation that’s taking the country down the path of Somalia, the political assassins may just achieve their goal someday soon of ruling a nation of corpses.
When people are assassinated under the military, you see a rationale in their senselessness. Soldiers are trained for wars and battles. They kill and hold prisoners. They’re not familiar with the concept of leadership where opposing views are tolerated. They’re not supposed to be rulers of men but commanders on the battlefield. So, you understand when power confuses them and they fire at will
But, what excuse does a civilian have? You’re trained from childhood that the consenting views of your brother, sister, neighbor and friend doesn’t mean hatred? You grow into your youth learning logic and reasoning. You come into adulthood hopefully with a working understanding of the concept of an orderly society.
But, it seems in today’s Nigeria, logic and reasoning went out to sea on the last boat of hope. Today, instead of the dawn of hope we have the season of assassins
I was reminded why nationalism and hope are in throes of death last week when the news came across the wires that my old schoolmate who has devoted his life to the dream called Nigeria had been slain. Olaitan Oyerinde was a simple man with a simple goal – make Nigeria better. He was a man the founders of Nigeria like Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello would have been proud of. He was a Nigerian first.
I’ve known Olaitan for more than half my life. I first met him at the mass communication department at the University of Lagos where he was a class or two ahead of me. Olaitan was one of those people you hear of before you meet them. His shadow goes before him.
And, when you meet him you’re stunned that this is the Olaitan. He was so simple in everything you didn’t have to be told that he believed in the socialist way of life. You see it in him. He lived that selfless life where men believe they are doing well only if everyone is doing well.
Back in those days at UNILAG when student union leaders still had teeth, Olaitan was in a very tiny group even if he didn’t know it then. Back then, there was a tiny group who believed in the cause and stayed faithful to it. Then, there were those who were in the cause just to be noticed so they can cross to the other side where the oppressors were milking the country dry.
Olaitan was a servant of the cause, a man who always seemed willing to share. I was on his other side ideologically. I liked a good party and the promise of a fat bank account. But, he has this knack of trying to educate you, trying to dig you out of your butt literally. And, he didn’t seem to have a grudge. Life seemed too short to hold a grudge.
Now, some people think he is such a threat he has to exit the earth’s stage. In some cultures, Olaitan would be a martyr. He may have lived a short life but I bet when his assassins and their lords die, the world would not even notice. They think killing Olaitan solves their problems.
But, they have only succeeded in murdering sleep. They are now in the land of a thousand shadows and a million voices. Though they live, their souls are dead. But, not Olaitan. He lives on. See you on the other side, old friend.