Achebe at 87 : A Posthumous Reproof on The Nigerian State of Affairs (How things fall apart)

An Igbo proverb tells us that a man who doesn’t know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body. The rain that beat Africa began four to five hundred years ago from the ‘discovery’  of Africa by Europe through the Transatlantic slave trade to the Berlin Conference of 1885
The above are the collected words of the icon. It is however unfortunate that the rain that has been relentlessly beating Nigeria during his(Achebe) lifetime is still pretty much pouring in torrent, flooding away any scintilla of principle-centred leadership on the part of our leaders, cascading our misfortune as a nation even after the literary icon has passed on to dine with his forebears (As Nigerians would have expected)
One would ordinarily have expected to see Achebe satisfactorily dining with his ancestors, saving himself the stress and hardship associated with Nigeria and her egregious style of leadership. However, Achebe is no ordinary man, on that note, the yoke and heavy burden of Nigeria is never too heavy for Achebe to carry both on earth and in the hereafter. He is encumbered by the deteriorating state of affairs.
Characteristically typical of the Eagle on the Iroko Tree, he is saddened, worried and wallowing in a sombre emotional milieu in seeing that despite his constant and vigorous deprecation of the ineptitude of our leaders and their inabilities in serving as personal examples which he believed to be the “hallmark of true leadership” when his pen was his, things are still falling apart, the ‘Chief Nnangas’ of this world are still touting and parading themselves as the ‘men of the people’. Even more worrying is the fact that it seems on a closer look no one is percipient and forthright enough to rebuff these inimical gimmicks. It is as if we were all ‘dead from the neck’
Everyone dies but a writer(Apparently excluding hungry aggressive money mongers hiding under the noble umbrage of a writer), this is why the thoughtful and ingenious suggestions, disinterested observations, objective appraisal, dispassionate criticisms, germane and feasible solutions proffered in the copious works of the icon will on this day November 16 when providence in his infinite wisdom dropped a seed in Ogidi serve as a Posthumous Reproof designed towards haunting those at the corridor of power, the Chief Nnangas still treading on this soil of national depravity dotted with unattended puddling.
Nigerians must realize that in a nation where corruption has become a common national identity and widely accepted as the naira, parading oneself as an ‘anti-corruption propulsion’ is inadequate in precluding the existence and pervasiveness of this vices. Such posture must be demonstrated as sagaciously captured by Achebe when he opined that A leader’s no – nonsense reputation might induce a favourable climate but in order to effect lasting change it must be followed up with a radical programme of social and economic re – organisation or at least a well-conceived and consistent agenda or reform which Nigeria stood, stands in dire need of.
The Presidency must eschew all forms of double standard in the fight against corruption. He must endeavor to suppress any compulsion (internally and externally)  calculated to creating an impression that he is furtively indulging some acts of corruption in his cabinet. This fatal and toxic impression is detectable from the Presidency ‘s disposition to the Maina scandal and the subsequent attempt (though transiently futile)  to silence Oyo-Ita, a diligent Nigerian Civil servant who understands and appreciates the significance and overwhelming importance of the Tax payers’  money.
On the Maina imbroglio, Mr. President, it is high time this hypocritical attitude was dispensed with and a garb of sincerity of purpose, truthfulness of conviction be put on. This fight against corruption must be expansive and systematic with all sincere hands on deck to prosecute this war against the menace. Mr. President, you at least claimed to be for everybody and for nobody on that sacred day that pedalled your administration. In the spirit of democracy, Mr President, please could you supply satisfactory and honest answers bereft of any political undertone to these salient questions. Mr. President, where was Maina from 2013-2017? Where is he at the moment? Why is Maina now appearing and disappearing? How was the London Paris Club Refund disbursed and spent? Why is your administration under the cloud of secrecy? What is the update on the Dasuki scandal? I heard he claimed the gods have taken away his memory now that he has been apprehended. Why is his trial not making the face of the media, the talk of the nation as hitherto was initially? Why is the frenzy and public consciousness associated with the case like harmattan? We feel it a season, a season we feel it not!
In the same measure and with same tone Mr President, we ask, what is the drama with the trial of the former Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison Madueke? Where is Olisa Metuh and the alleged diverted fund in tune of 400m? What is the AGF Abba Kyari still looking for in your cabinet and not under investigation even in the face of the overwhelming evidence of complicity in the reinstatement of Maina, the seasonal fugitive? What incentive aside the futile attempt to intimidate Oyo-Ita has been granted her? What happened to the broom of change ; our very emblem of salvation? Why are we sweeping yet the nation is filled with dirt and our sole reward is getting choked with the dust raised? Why are these corrupt miscreants playing your administration like ‘Mbe’  the proverbial tortoise with its celebrated mischievous escapades?
The world beyond is naturally and relatively a peaceful abode, serene and quiet with a beautiful scenery. However, there seems to be no peace with Achebe as the agony and pains enveloped in the wailing, weeping of Nigerians tear his heart apart, defeating all efforts to reinstate peace and tranquility therein. One phenomenon that will obviously strike Achebe (Which under a favourable clime should strike all well – meaning Nigerians)  and subsume him in a melancholic state is the cries of a particular segment of our nation which is raised to a deafening crescendo in that part where the sun rises. It is as if the sun there had left his elevated abode in the sky to torment the denizens of that region ; a region which once upon a time lost her sons and daughters to the horror of a civil war.
I must regrettably submit that the Presidency is not handling this sensitive and cataclysmic issue adroitly. The Python sent to dance the dance of death is not the most thoughtful and well – reasoned action. It seems it is true that as Nigerians, the only lesson we learn from history is that we learn nothing! The Presidency should drop this self-opinionated and sanctimonious attitude as this is liable to conducting the nation into the woods. If care is not taken, we would all have to bear the pain of witnessing the ear-splitting and terrifying historical first shot!
For the purpose of national peace, the government should adopt an approach geared towards forming a cohesive and united regional interaction. The fears, griefs and demands of these agitators should be looked into with a view to ameliorating their deplorable state, alleviating their pains and anguish. The brother who is made to feel as part of the family is less likely to curse his father’s ‘chi’ . The issue of marginalisation is of of incalculable importance in the continuation and sustenance of the Federal system we have decided to adopt. A dialectic approach should be adopted in solving this national quagmire. The option of force should not be entertained, the compulsion be rebuffed and conciliatory approaches should be pursued to salvage the situation.
It is needless to restate that the glory of Nigeria is dim with the present state and that our national malaise is debilitating. Be that as it may, Nigeria is not without hope if only she could be fortunate enough to employ capable and willing hands to stair her affairs. Conversely, no state could move away from the precipice of national disaster riding solely on luck! If any, such luck must be complemented with conscious and concerted efforts of the people.
*Happy birthday Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko tree*
Yusuf Oluwafemi Salako

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