Ever since Buhari went to London, I have been paying a closer attention to so many things, even the tiniest details of life, as they form and unform in my mind, raising memories that are both sporadic and constant in their natural flow, submissive and rebellious in their act, heartwarming and heartrending in their grip, opaque and transparent in their appearance, in a way that engages the mind, both partly and wholly. I am trying very painstakingly, I mean disturbingly hard, to capture the ordering of my imagination and to arrange it in a form that is altogether readable and comprehendible. Despite how energetic and meticulous I am in this observation, my mind has remained a labyrinth to me. Well, this is not surprising. But the passionate ember that is my dedication to this cause is succeeding in digging up a few things after what may seem an eternity of hoping and waiting and believing, capturing something like the portrait of man in his different stages of formation.
First, there is the stage of unknowingness. Children fall in this category. This is that time in life when a human being lives very freely and unambitiously. The only desire of man here is to live and watch things work out themselves, naturally, tenderly, beautifully. Both the creator and the elements celebrate people in this stage, for they understand perfectly what the duty of man is: to venerate the creator.
Second, there is the stage of awareness. This is that point in life when man suddenly becomes aware of the multiplicity of choices that life seems to offer. He realizes that there are many roads which he probably doesn’t know, and because he is innately ambitious he goes about exploring the roads. Most teenagers and young adults belong here.
Mark the word: exploration.
Third, we find the stage of unnecessary accumulation. This is a very unfortunate point in life when man assumes he has understood the roads very well, and he’s now out to own the roads. At this stage, insensitivity sets in. Man becomes insatiable and out to trample upon anything he sees as a possible obstacle to his rise to stardom. This is the age of exploitation.
Hope you marked it? Exploitation.
Very unfortunately, this is the stage where man takes pride in titles and degrees and empty possessions. Let’s consider the following: I once attended an event where a woman refused to honour the high table because she was not addressed as “Barrister”. This is terrible. Likewise, a certain man gets annoyed if he is not addressed as “High Chief”. What of our lecturers who are quick to remind us they are: “Prof not Dr, Dr not Mr, Dr Mrs not just Dr”. You can imagine all the nonsense. What is saddening is that we seem not to realize that the more the title we accumulate, the heavier our burdens and the smaller the man or woman in us.
This message although dedicated to Buhari, is for all us, those who are alive and those who are dying, those who lead and those who are led. My mind tells me if Buhari ever returns, then we would meet a new him, a man who has suddenly realized that assured happiness is far better than assumed greatness or whatsoever, a man who must have realized that ambition is only for the living, and that if not properly guided can also waste the living. I think his most tragic mistake was that he didn’t realize the tendency of most Nigerian political godfathers to use and defame people. He was used and overused. Those who planted him there knew the truth, he wasn’t fit for the seat, both medically and intuitionally, but they led and cheered him on because of their personal gain.
Onyeka Nwelue said, “What Buhari wanted was to answer president and die.” Sadly, this is truer now than when it was said, but I think his sponsors and sycophants contributed much to his undoing. They made him disregard his health, and now, maybe, just maybe, they have succeeded.
This is what Jonathan found out earlier, and gladly walked away with his life.