Nigeria Under Siege: Matters Miscellaneous

By FEMI AKINTUNDE-JOHNSON 08182223348 - (SMS Only)

COUNTERPOINTS With Femi Akintunde-Johnson

When suffused with a barrage of clearly annoying and irrelevant scenarios… yet each obnoxious matter has the unusual tendency to deflect from common sense; to sabotage progressive movements; to dilute otherwise sensible and impactful programmes, the writer finds himself in a quandary. Faced with tens of issues chasing after one another in the public space of discussions and fake news, how is the writer ever going to speak sense into the conundrum?

Well, one can only suggest that the best approach is the idea that our dilemma may be helped by making a valiant effort at subjecting the unwieldy happenstances of our nation to some sort of pacy grab-and-dash rollercoaster – yak and wag at as many as you can squeeze into an ‘edible’ format, and as quickly as possible – before another inglorious set cascades!

You may be excused if you’re confused about the body ‘languages’ of the Nigerian Presidency in its battle or panacea to douse the rising restiveness amongst the mammoth Nigerian youngsters. In one breath, the president would implore traditional rulers and relevant community leaders to help his administration reach deep into the core of the angry and demoralized youth within their areas of influence; and calm them down by allowing his administration a little wiggle room to deliver on his promises.

Then, in another breath, one of the presidential spokespersons would threaten reprisal and prosecution against so-called promoters and encouragers of the EndSARS protests which snowballed into humongous destructions and economic disruptions nationwide. We may add that these same persons fingered with insinuations of aiding and abetting insurrections or terrorism are also members of the youth “gheng’. But that is not the end of the flip-flops. According to media reports, the day the tragic drama of Lekki Tollgate was enacted by Nigerian soldiers with yet unclear rules of engagement, the clearly stimulated apex banking institution, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN also approached the Nigerian judiciary, seeking an order to freeze accounts of young entrepreneurs suspected of funding and agitating the embers and vitriol of the EndSARS street protests!

We have also read reports of the suspension of the Lagos panel of inquiry into this same matter, on the strength of alleged accounts freezing of one of the two youth representatives… Do you need a reminder that this is the same panel the president enthusiastically encouraged be set up, in all the affected states, to urgently and thoroughly look into the grievances and agitations of the young folks?
It is therefore easy to conclude, without asserting, that this government is not unanimous in its vaunted promise to heal the wounds, right the wrongs, and provide accelerated development and opportunities for youth engagement and mobilisation.

We can do so much better when we take cognizance of the patriotic and non-threatening but emphatic protestations of our young ones at the onset of the campaigns… before agenda-scuttlers and other dubious elements infiltrated their ranks, and wantonly exploited their naivety.
We believe it will serve the nation well, when we calmly gauge the level of suppressed anguish, repressed inequities and age-long crusts of institutional corruption and barefaced thievery that have squeezed the future of tomorrow’s leaders, for decades…and respond with a mindset that reverses the current track where insensitive, misdirected and mindless retributions and persecutions dictate state actors’ actions and vituperation.

Two wrongs, goes the tired cliche, don’t make right…but, were the young ones even wrong, ab initio?

What Makes A Man Out Of You – 4
My wife was a ‘delight’ to behold…she was calm… meditative…I was not that into God, so I cannot recollect saying any prayers. I just presumed all would be well. Then, we waited. She pushed. We waited. She pushed. We all encouraged her in diverse manners… and she pushed the more. Then more water came… I was mesmerized…a little queasy at the amount of watery substance passing out of her. So much ‘liquid’ from one source…like an endless gale of ‘piss’.

Then, I saw it! The head. First, it looked like a black swelling…threatening to burst the opening….the mother continued to push …I gripped my loins imagining the hellish pain of getting the huge bulb out of the way, and ease the obviously excruciating pain. Something strange. Even as my wife’s face contorted in anguish of the ongoing palaver, she remained under ‘controlled combustion’. It was amazing. I could see the bemused look of admiration from the “blood-wearied” nurses. As they looked encouragingly at my observatory…. I held a permanent grimace with my hands folded in death-grip-like position in between my laps. I was not bleeding, but I could ‘feel’ blood escaping from my body.

We were in this “push-me-I-push-you” bloody tango for ages… and the baby’s head remained a stubborn ‘log in the eye’. I could not imagine a large child coming out from a woman that petit. I started sweating. Then, I remembered to pray… of course, I did not remember that I had not attended church for several weeks before that day…I still asked God to intervene, and deliver my wife and daughter safely.

About an eternity later, (I was told we had the shortest delivery in a long while, less than an hour), the baby simply popped out…well-formed… a tiny howler… with a face made after my heart. I stopped sweating, and started dancing…until the doctor shut me up with a warning look.
Then, a flush of dirty looking stuff came out after the exit of the baby, along with the umbilical cord… I watched in amazement as some of the stuff I learnt in secondary school biology class confronted me in all its slimy glory…I was stunned…that anyone could remain alive after such a sapping ordeal. She looked up at me wanly; I squeezed her ‘apparition’, confirming she was still all blood and flesh…. The nurses were unanimous in their praise of the newly minted mother for her silent strength.

Whaoh… I witnessed one of God’s amazing succession spectacles. By the time we were due for the second delivery about four years after, I was already a veteran labour room observer. This time, it was even a greater spectacle, as the children came barely two hours after each other. Their conception, the waiting and birth will take a full chapter or more.

So, what is the meaning of all these? When a man summons the nerves to watch, open-eyed, the birthing of his offspring, he will fully understand why this “weaker vessel” is actually more powerful, and should be honoured, pampered, celebrated, cherished, understood, embraced…. The man should find it impossible to raise his hands against her; rubbish or undermine her in public or privacy; turn her to an unloved object of his sexual fantasies…. He should find ways to compensate her for the indescribable sacrifices and losses she ‘suffers’ anytime she enters the labour room.

The holy book tells us grimly: no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for his friends….that is what the woman does for her man when she goes into that labour room. She is laying her life on the knife edge to give you a child that will bear your own name! Short of worshipping her, the real man will pay that woman the necessary and constant ‘obeisance’. She is what makes you a man. Truly.
(The End)