BY OLALERE FAGBOLA
WHERE an average of 50m people suffer from mental illness (with one out of four Nigerians accounting statistically as insane) even in a country in which less than 10 percent of its population is having access to professional (mental) assistance, while government’s annual budget devoted less than three percent to mental health, hell could not have found a nearer haven of a bedlam than Nigeria.
Does it not amount to delusion of lunacy, with the usual headline news of top public office holders, obviously for fear of life after office, looting public treasury as they cart away billions of naira where staggering poverty is nakedly staring majority of Nigerians in the face?
Little wonder why the former Secretary General of World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) Professor Adeoye Lambo, did recommend sometimes that any politician aspiring to contest either as a governor or President of Nigeria should first of all be subjected to mental test towards determining his health status and thereby save Nigerians the risk of putting their collective destiny in the hands of lunatics in flowing babanriga and agbada.
However, it is in this same country, Nigeria, where the masses, especially the charismatic religionists have ironically dismissed politics as a dirty game; consigned the exercise of voting rights as mere gamble, while resigning their fate to God to work out the electoral mathematics for them; even as they foolishly believe that luck would automatically carry a man who has refused to jump well across the ditch of misgovernance.
Do they think it was for fun that King David rightly observed that: “With the merciful, God will show himself merciful; With an upright man, He will show himself upright, but that with the froward, (such as we are ) God will show Himself forward?
Each time I reflect on the way Nigerians are conducting their search for the next Number One citizen for 2023, amid a gale of memoranda and hourly predictions flying presumptuously too late across religious houses where-in clerics are also compelling worshippers to produce their voter’s card before entering their sanctuaries, I am often reminded of the lesson in the proverbial story of the missing horse of Alaafin of Oyo and a search party.
The story had it that within this same search party put together to look for the missing horse, were parties with different motives. There was a party that craved to find the horse; The other party wished the horse should not be found while the third party planned to chase the horse further if found.
Sometimes I often wonder if Hubert Ogunde’s popular lyrics “Yoruba Ronu (Yoruba think hard) should not be adopted as our National Anthem for the nation, especially in this unguarded dark age when most of our so-called marginalised southerners appear to be playing the proverbial nihilists, who are tired of living but are afraid of dying while hanging on to a theory of nihilism which neither put them here or there.
At this juncture, I cannot but sing again my song of: “Delusion of Lunacy” in my collection of poetry titled: “Heroism, Songs and Troubles wherein my lamentation goes thus:
“When reality points its fingers at Nigeria, Nigerians often sink in their cushions to talk Nigeria;
And I am always amused by their hot adjectives as they wag their tongues in mere frivolities,
They call for a quick annihilation of something that needs reparation; saying it is without reservation that they are calling for its condemnation;
Today it is about qualitative this; Tomorrow it is all about quantitative that;
We daily dream of great expectations without working towards their realisation;
We are always quick to propound new ideologies little caring about their workability;
When shall we stop shadow-pugilism to embrace constructivism?
It is saddening, particularly to note that not many people understand the meaning of vote to enable them understand the power of vote.
Noting the harmony between vow and vote, especially as both words are from same spirituality, once an oath is taken or a vote is given, there is no going back on it . This is because what informs the rule of NO DIVORCE in a real Christian marriage informs the NO CROSS CARPETING ideology in a real political party.
Just as it is sacrilegious for ministers of God to coerce worshipers into taking vow which does not come by divine inspiration or voluntarily, it is criminal for politicians to induce electorates with money, or worse still, deny him the right to cast his or her vote.
This is why the sacred matter of vow as in the ideological issue regarding vote, requires careful consideration and orientation, particularly for voters, with no room for rashness or intimidation.
If our political dispensation is today failing in view of lack of commitment to governance by politicians and the lack of understanding by the electorate of the sacredness of vote, it is because the media and religious houses as well as nongovernmental organisations, including governments, are grossly failing in their duties of giving proper orientation on the sacredness of vow and vote.
One cannot afford NOT to be fanatical on matters such as one touching Vow and Vote; (the two being temple matters) for it is in the inner satisfaction derivable in one being allowed to exercise one’s right to cast vote, even from one’s own decision, based on conviction and on ideology that matters, rather than on pandering to the winning side through carpet-crossing master minded by covetousness.
Not many people appear to understand that the huge role which MAMSER ( during President Ibrahim Babangida’s era ) played in the social mobilization of the electorate for the 1993 presidential election, considered as the freest ever, accounted for the way Nigerians participated actively in the election which was won by Bashorun MKO Abiola.
Let me quickly add here that in sane culture and scriptures, even in ancient times, there is no place where a person (except in barbaric culture) was coerced or enticed or ensnared against his or her wish into oath-taking or to vote momentarily on the impulse of monetisation as witnessed in the recently concluded primaries of our major political parties in the country and governorship election in Ekiti State.
I have always loved what the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was once quoted as saying that: “If you don’t trust him, don’t engage him, but if you engage him, don’t doubt him.”
Rather than repudiating vow or oath impetuously, a man is enlightened very well enough to realise the implications of the solemn act. Most importantly is the fact that God-inspired vow is sacrosanct and without burden, and it is a pill which potency has no expiring date and the mystery there-in is like God-inspired marriage which does not accommodate divorce because what God gives, He keeps from being broken.