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Tobe Writes: PROF. SOYINKA, WHO MADE US DEAD?

Immediately after the end of 1983 general election, Shehu Shagari was declared the winner of the presidential election. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was one of the presidential contestants, described Shagari’s re-election as an ‘inglorious victory’. Chuba Okadigbo, who happened to be Shagari’s special adviser on political matters, passed the late sage’s comment as “the ranting of an ant”. Zik in his characteristic manner cursed, My son, since you have decided to mock the wisdom of old age, you shall get to the apex of Nigerian politics but you will fall and die unsung. Whenever I remember the fulfillment of that curse in the life of the master of political arithmetic, Okadigbo, I am always cautious on how I reply the comments of old people. Especially, grey-haired wise old sages like Prof. Wole Soyinka who quipped that my generation is dead on arrival.

To be candid, I do not have the facts of the whole story, I mean what happened that made Prof to make such a terse statement. I know my generation may nay not have lived up to the expectation, I know we are busy going to clubs, watching Indian and Nollywood films, I know we might be indifferent about politics but devoutly interested in European leagues. I know we are preoccupied with the latest songs or the latest episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. I know we are more concerned about acquiring the latest Blackberry or Samsung phones, the latest Brazilian, Peruvian and even Arabian hair. I know my generation may not really care about morality. However, I also know this; roses do not grow on concrete floor. If my generation is flawed in their psyche, maybe something made them to be, if my generation is dead on arrival, maybe someone has abbreviated their dreams and rendered them impotent. Or maybe someone has mis-educated them.

Medically speaking, for a child to be dead on arrival (stillbirth), it is believed to be as a result of known or unknown factors. Well, let’s examine the known and leave the unknown to Chukwu Onye Okike. Topping the list of the known factors is ignorance on the part of the mother. Record has shown that some pregnant women do not know that they are diabetic till the day of delivery. More so, some do not bother to register for ante-natal for periodic check up and scan. These scenarios are prevalent among the poor, therefore it will be safe to adduce that most stillbirth (known cases) is as a result of poverty, ignorance and negligence on the part of the mothers or parents.

Loving GazeIf the foregoing analysis is true, then one can authoritatively surmise thus: if our generation is DOA (dead on arrival), then negligence on the part of our parents is probably the chief cause. Albeit, parents in this context transcends beyond our biological parents. In a society like ours, three set of people are involved in the mental and ideological conception/build-up of a child; the biological parents, the school parents (primary & secondary school teachers) and the religious parents (pastors/Imam). How did I arrive at this conjecture? Psychologists have discovered that the main phase of any child’s mental orientation is between the ages of 5-13 years or thereabout. They observed that what a child learns at this stage of his life is what he will likely hold on to till his death.

Therefore, if my generation has not lived up to anticipated expectations, we should not shoulder all the blame. If we have succeeded in being a useless tool in the societal workshop, then it is time they asked questions also to the people that bought the tool. If we have become a societal anonymous, the elders should remember that like computer, humans are also programmed; garbage in garbage out. Perhaps, this is the point the legendary rap artiste, Tupac, tried to underscore in an interview where he was quizzed and asked what the meaning of his THUG LIFE mantra was. He answered, The Hate U Give To Little Infants F’s Everyone. Oops, guess the chickens have come home to roost.

On the flip side I will quickly add, if Prof says we are DOA, I wonder what he has to say about the generation that is coming on our heels. An expo glorifying generation, special center addicted generation, a Facebook and 2go generation. Maybe like Eli’s daughter-in-law, Prof will scream, Ichabod!

On this note I will state unequivocally that if parents, teachers and religious ministers read the handwriting on the wall, then they will realize that what they have been doing is what Fela observed and sang thus, Teacher! Teacher!  Stop teaching me nonsense. They will realize that we are not turning good because what they are teaching us or what we were taught was totally different from what they are practicing. Maybe they will know that their non-verbal nuances have always been, My son, make all the money by any means possible. Maybe they will understand at a young age we have been indoctrinated with materialism instead of values and character development.

The time is ripe to declare educational emergency if the society has any intention of saving the forthcoming generation. When I mean education, I mean quality education. It is time parents’ soft pedal on their material acquisition quest and look back to check how the children they brought into this world are being trained, what they are being taught in school and where they need to re-educate the child. Its time parents stop leaving their children at the mercy of house helps and pay-TV. More importantly, it is time churches and mosques pay more attention to their children section of the church/mosque, or else in years to come there might be nobody to pay tithes or offertory because the club house might have a better sermon on Sunday morning. It is time school teachers realize they play a very important role in the training of future leaders or future mediocre. Ignoring this fact may lead to the proliferation of more DOA children or better put, generation. Nations are built by conscious planning and nations are destroyed by unconscious planning.

May GOD open the eyes of our understanding.

Written by Tobe Osigwe, @ikolondigbo

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10 Comments

  1. john

     /  December 13, 2013

    Amen

    Reply
  2. Nyc write up.

    Reply
  3. Yemie

     /  December 13, 2013

    Amen. This is deep, very deep. There’s no way one reads this and not take a moment to ponder and reflect. Tobe, am sure you’re not old or anything, but your soul and mind are like those of a wise old man. Dare I say but you’re an old soul trapped in the body of a young man, and I mean that in the best way possible. Great piece this one and thumbs up to you, may your fountain of wisdom never run dry.

    The yorubas say when a child’s born, he/she is trained by his/her parents and the elderly in the community. They go further to say, the onus is further on that child to retrain him/her self. I want to believe that in as much as we blame parents and the society at large most times for how we turn out, we also have a huge responsibility to ourselves. Afterall, stories are rife of kids brought up in very good homes, and when you see them act out, you’d simply wonder. I believe that if a kid turns out right, besides the parents inputs and the kid’s own determination, its none other than the special grace of God.

    Reply
  4. simi

     /  December 13, 2013

    Well said

    Reply
  5. Ummm. This is deep, the next generation after us looked …..

    Reply
  6. Dominoes!!!!!

    Reply
  7. True sayings

    Reply
  8. Chukwu Nwabueze

     /  December 14, 2013

    The quest for wealth and desperation without due preperation/procedure are d no 1 problem of dis nation. Some colleagues has forgotten that d height of a great man is not by a sudden flight. As little as we are, we want to get money now,we want to pass jamb now,we need to build mansion now,we need a rolls royce now,some people want to win election without our votes counting,u see, it can even be/lead to a do/die affair.we have all forgotten ambition is priceless.u know!! It so appalling. Nice write-up bro

    Reply
    • Yemie

       /  December 16, 2013

      @Chukwu. I agree with all the points you raised. A story’s told of two blood brothers, raised in the same household. One brother became very successful in business, in addition to being a loving husband and a great father. The other brother however, became a drunk and a wife molester plus he falls short in providing for his family. A curious man approaches the first brother and enquires of him how its possible that he and his brother are from the same background seeing that they are so different in everything.

      He responded by saying that as they grew, their dad was a drunk, a wife molester and he never provided for his family. He however resolved as he grew that he’d be everything his father never was while his brother practically became their father. The power of choice will forever be there for us all; the onus is for everyone to choose rightly.

      Reply

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