TUE, AUG 18 2020-theG&BJournal– As things stand today, Samuel Ortom is one of the greatest Nigerians alive. He is more specifically one of the greatest governors on the beat in your accursed nation.
Ortom has not become these things by his, if any, developmental achievements in his Benue state. Rather, Ortom has outclassed other Nigerian leaders by his confessional genius. On this, no Nigerian politician in power and office comes near him.
According to reports, Ortom, disillusioned, confessed as follows:
“Let me say here that the leaders in this country have failed, me inclusive. It is a big shame to us leaders, we must ask for forgiveness from God,” Ortom said.
“And I implore you that you shouldn’t take after us. Greed is a big challenge. The path we are towing is the wrong one for us. There is a challenge.
“The rule of law is selective, there are sacred cows that cannot be touched, even if they do bad things, they cannot be touched.
“People steal billions and they are allowed to go scot-free while those who steal chickens are jailed.” https://www.thecable.ng/nigerian-leaders-have-failed-says-ortom
If one read Ortom’s confessional in context, it is clear he merits the epithet of the greatest, the best and brightest, of Nigerians.
Now, it is safe to recall that to make heaven or paradise, one does not need not to have no sins. All one needed was to be truthful, to confess openly to all his wicked acts and scenes. The key is to admit and confess to it all, holding back nothing. It was this honesty of being and living that helped make a common criminal make heaven. The story of that, remember the robber who shared the cross of execution with Christ, is to teach us one thing.
That thing is that many shall sin but only the self-confessed shall make it. So confessional persons like Ortom, are a leg up towards making paradise, towards being redeemed by history, by the future.
If we left otherworldly things, the import of confessionals here on earth is that for a failing or failed society, man or company, to come back to grace, she or he must first admit to whom she or he is. There is no amount of papering over your cracks, that can stand the forces of reconstruction as they are needed. Indeed, the papering over, will deceive or misdirect whoever sets him or herself to the task of restoring such a society, company or man. So, Ortom makes excellent grades in this. And Benue perhaps shall soon be saved.
However, the Ortom confessional brings us to an earlier version. And it was by Professor Wole Soyinka. First, Soyinka is easily one of the two or three most accomplished Nigerians ever. He has capped his numerous accomplishments and honours with a Nobel Prize, in literature. Despite this personal grace, Soyinka was sentient enough to appreciate something quotidian, yet extraordinary. That thing is that life is not in the success of lone wolfs or rangers. He understood that there can never be victory for one. He understood that there may only be victory for all. So, in self and representative humility, Soyinka declared that we, that is including him, are a failed generation.
So, Soyinka who is a ”nongovernment pickin,” a special and isolated man now has a double. He is Ortom, a ”public pickin.” That is not an easy achievement. Yet, the matter is not finished. The greater Soyinka-Ortom question is why are we failing, why have we failed?
I have a conjecture. It is our ignorance. Simply put, I have not seen a more ignorant nation or citizenry than Nigerian, than Nigerians. Our ignorance ensues not so much from what we know or don’t know. Our ignorance, ensues from our inability to admit our capacities as are, our failings as were and are. So you listen to lovable fools, as Americans call them, declaring Nigeria a mighty and great nation. In their sleep?
In other words, Nigerians have too little number of Ortoms and Soyinkas. Nearly all the rest of Nigerians in power or prominence are deluded either Nigeria is doing pretty well, or certainly, that they themselves are. Yet, these men if we doubled their solid personal achievements, if any, are in no way close to Soyinka in accomplishments. The only difference is that Soyinka has the genius, the vision, to see a world, a nation, in its grain of sand.
The redeeming point is that some guy has got to go beyond the act and rite of confessionals. We must first find that which is wrong with Nigeria and Nigerians. And nothing illustrates the cancer that is eating off Nigeria and Nigerians than Ortom’s confessional, ironically.
According to Ortom, the youths, his audience, should not follow their, [Ortom’s and Ortom like] footsteps. This is and where and why the error comes. The details are as follows. Ortom did not fail because he was Ortom. Ortom and his generation of leaders if put in similar positions in America or Switzerland would have discharged themselves reasonably, if not superbly.
So what is the operating difference? It is that Europe, America, Japan etc. are well thought our societies. We repeat well thought out societies. They are not just countries, that is a group of random peoples who found themselves trapped in one geographical space. They are not sovereign geographical entities bar a living society..
The matter gets trickier here. How do you organize and blend a geographic space holding a motley crowd into a harmonious society? There is only one rule often neglected or unacknowledged. It is that you must have had a thinker who sees the world in a grain of sand, who sees society as a body of sub-systems built up to form whole system.
That is, a profound thinker must first come and marshal out what is to be done, not with the economy, not with the military, but with the society as a system made up of sub-systems and how those subsystems are to relate to one another as to form the whole system. In other words, the subsystems must be in willing, self-empowering service to themselves to justify acting to empower the whole system. The sum of the parts, the subsystems, working together must be greater than the sum of the subsystems working separately. In other words, by being in a union, the subsystem must be greater than it would be working alone. The subsystems are of course the military, the economy, the ethnic nations, etc.
And the vital signs to this is on how you scatter and distribute power. If you don’t get the power mastery or configurations right, then the modern society is lost. For instance, to give an Ortom related example, being a governor in Nigeria is the equivalent of being elected a dictator in that state. On the face of it, the governor has all the powers to move and drive the state forward, etc. However, despite the good intentions of those who deposited such powers with the governors, it is clear it is a disservice to the governors and their states. The point is: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. In other words, you are as corrupt as you are exclusively powerful. And nothing ruins a commonwealth than corruption of and from the top.
So what Ortom should be preaching for is a new constitution, not a new breed of leaders. Leaderships cannot abrogate any of the fundamental iron lore of nature. That new constitution should allow for the leader, the governor, to learn to live with his political enemies. This is the genius of the parliamentary and American orders. But Nigerian elite lacking brains as it were, couldn’t even copy-paste properly the American constitution. It is only when Nigeria approaches this state of shared and scattered powers will she have a chance in hell to be saved. Otherwise, put it on record, we have entered the Titanic, on its first and last voyage. ”This one don pass one chance.”
To tie it all up, since the military reigns, Nigerians we have redeveloped Nigeria to fail. They may have done it innocently, but politics is about outcome not intentions. In summary, Nigerians don’t need new characters, Nigerians need new plays. Only a brave new play may help to retrieve Nigeria from sailing the Titanic. Otherwise, it will all soon be extinct. Remember the dinosaurs and smile. Shalom.