By AMEH COMRADE GODWIN
It is not denigration to point out how the strong men stumbled; it is never an oblique to affirm how the expected pillars turn caterpillars; neither it is a favouritism to give credit to the man who is actually in the right arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. Subsequent on my previous articles on the state of Idoma community earlier this year, with the hope that our land would smell freedom afterward, reverse is the case, initially we were in the race behind some, even ahead of some, but today, we are not even in the race. Where are we?
We have been walloped by impoverished, ravaged by hunger, dangled around by prejudice and lambasted by HIV and AIDS.
It is obvious that Idoma has produced crème de la crèmes of the society, Generals in the Military, Ministers in the Ministry, and Senators in the Senates who were or are in the inner corridors of military-cum-Political power than some of the major tribes, yet there’s nothing to show, we are still far behind the race, no positive effects of those leaders we’ve produced. We have been brutalized, mutilated and maltreated for just no cause; peace is nowhere to found in our motherland, where are we heading?
Paradoxically, we produce so much food that attracts us the slogan the food basket of the nation, enough that we feed the nation and even continent, yet we must pass through hell to eat a half meal in a day. We have the highest rate of unemployment in Nigeria, if not Africa, perhaps in the whole wide world.
Otukpo, our origin (like a bright bride) used to be a place of pride for all Idomas; but today, motorcades with cadavers are hovering on crumbling bricks, potholes called roads, dropping remains for whom they are concern – what a shame!
We cried, but no one spell our tears, courage is now going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
John Stuart Mill once said the sole ends for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right… The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part, which merely concerns himself, his independence over himself, his own body and mind, is absolutely right.
Did Virginia Woolf had us in mind before she wrote? To enjoy freedom, if the platitude is pardonable, we have of course to control ourselves. We must not squander our powers, helplessly and ignorantly, squirting half the house in order to water a single rose-bush; we must train them, exactly and powerfully, when we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares are on the very spot.
Our dear land has been disvirgin by hoodlums; our youths are sleeping under bridges and flyovers, our children are hawking on the street, we are no where to be found in the shore of this country– oh my dear land, I wept for thee!
Those who profess to favour freedom are the very people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters.
Though we are gifted but not lifted, let us wakeup from our slumber, hold our heads high and begin the rejuvenation of this forgotten land, yes we can, because injustice can only be eliminated, but human conflicts and natural limitations cannot be removed. The conflicts of social life and the limitations of nature cannot be controlled or transcended. They can, however, endure to survive. It is possible a dance of freedom again, let’s be creative to response to these intrinsic limits and challenges befalling us, let us now remember the advise of Captain Jean-Luc Picard that, time is a companion that goes with us on a journey, it reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived. Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems — but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems incredible, we must note that whatever begins, also ends.
Ekwugu nele mneyi gbo gbo (a black fowl can easily be captured during the day); says an Idoma adage, because it might be too difficult to get it when its already dark, we Idoma are approaching the nigh hour, before our corridors now is the fowl of freedom, lets get it now or never. I believe that the moment is nigh when by a procedure of active paranoiac thought, it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality.
Oh Idoma, I weep for thee!
Ameh Comrade Godwin is the Permanent Secretary Idoma Performing Artistes Association