By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid
The relationship between East and West, and the conflict between Eastern values and Western values, have been – and will remain – a subject of questioning, research, and a theme that stories, plays, novels, and travel literature deal with.
Perhaps, I could start with the year 1938, that is 85 years ago, when Egyptian writer Tawfiq al-Hakim (October 9, 1898 – July 26, 1987) published his play (a novel), “A Sparrow from the East”. Tawfiq al-Hakim embodied part of his autobiography, in addition to his expected handling of the clash between East and West in more than one aspect.
In that novel, the narrator tells the story of a young man from the East named Mohsen, who travels to France to study. Mohsen meets a ticket seller in a theater and falls in love with her without knowing anything about her, even her name. He decides to express his love to her, so he presents her with a parrot he called Mohsen, to accompany her everywhere she goes, but the girl does not feel the same way.
Briefly, Mohsen realizes that she is not the right person for him, so she and her love are lost. He ends his relationship with her to go out to a new zig and begins his journey with Ivan; his atheist Russian friend, who used to offer harsh criticism of the West and its civilization, so that Mohsen finds himself in front of two contradictory worlds “material” and “spiritual”, or “West and East”.
For Tawfiq al-Hakim, the West was France or Paris in particular, which is self-evident, because the relationship with the other begins with the former colonizer. We see the same theme after three decades in the novel by Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih (2 July 1929 – 18 February 2009); (Season of Migration to the North), which was published in Hewar magazine in 1966, before being published as an individual book in Beirut, in the same year, but Tayeb Salih chooses another colonizer: Britain.
The hero, in Season of Migration to the North, is a student named Mustafa, gets a job as a lecturer at a British university and adopts the values of British society. There he meets his wife, Jane Morris, a British woman who refuses to accept her husband’s dictates. Years later, Mustafa returns to his country, where he suddenly meets the narrator of the story, who also lived in Britain.
This was an introduction to emphasize the richness of the topic and its insistence on writers to be dealt with in more than one format, and there is always the south versus the north, and the east against the west, even in contemporary novels such as (An Oriental Lady in Paris), 2006 by its Moroccan author Abd al-Karim Ghallab (December 31, 1919 – August 14, 2017) .After eight decades, the idea did not die because there is debate about it, so what difference does our legendary narrator, Ama Ata Aidoo (23 March 1942 – 31 May 2023), whom we celebrate today, present?
While the mentioned above authors were all men, who travelled to the west, and narrated their experiences, we have a different situation that is the west is coming to the east; the north is living in south in Ama Ata Aidoo’s play; (The Dilemma of a Ghost), published in 1965, which is considered one of Ghana’s first and most influential postcolonial literary works that followed Ghana’s independence from the British colonization in 1957.
The play came out to light in a critical period in which the postcolonial Ghanaian identity was being formed on all levels: psychological, social, political, etc. Some critics consider that its exceptional importance in the history of Ghana in particular and Africa at large. Though Ghana, as a historical fact, was not the first African nation to get its independence, both Egypt of Tawfiq al-Hakim and Sudan of Tayeb Salih preceded it in 1956, its liberation from the British imperialism was a landmark in the history of the whole continent.
Historically and geographically, Ghana occupied a significant position in the history of colonialism and liberation movements in Africa. Its location on the western coast of the continent enabled it once to act a prominent role in the slave trade between Africa and the New World for over three centuries through its famous historical ports as Cape Coast and Elmina that are referred to in Aidoo’s drama in question, as Dr. Mahmoud Gaber Abdelfadeel mentioned in his study of Aidoo’s play.
As such, the emergence of the new nation-state of Ghana was at the center of attention of all those concerned with the historical conflict between colonialism and anti-colonialism, the West and the East, and tradition and modernity. In other words, Ghana has become a major field of postcolonial studies.
I see Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo an outspoken woman who resists and subverts traditional literary boundaries. Aidoo’s long, varied and prolific literary career publishing poems, plays, short stories, essays and novels – garnered much attention from critics and, after teaching for several years at various institutions in Africa and the USA, earned the respect and recognition of the African-American writer, Alice Walker, who enthusiastically affirms From the front cover of Aidoo’s Ghanaian edition of her novel “The Changes”: “Aidoo has reaffirmed my belief in the power of the written word to reach, teach, empower, and encourage.”
In an Interview with Ama Ata Aidoo entitled “I Learnt my First Feminist Lessons in Africa” by María Frías, we read how Aidoo challenges, dismantles, and subverts the traditional “dumbness of the black women trope.”
She was born into the Akan community – a Ghanaian group that overtly favors women according to Aidoo to the point where the mother-of-four still considers herself “barren” because she cannot bear any daughters, and where women are supposed to bear children. Power but not strength Aidoo’s (for some) progressive portrayal of African women is just a reflection of what she saw: “I’ve got this amazing view of what’s going on in that society and I defy – I don’t know that being a woman is so important in an Akan society.”
Accordingly, Aidoo advances the complex lives of women who act in contradictory ways haunted by African traditions, but caught up in the disintegration of postcolonial Africa. She is just one of the many female voices that urgently need to be heard after being silenced for so long. The irony here lies in the fact that Aidoo also gives a voice to Muslim women like Fusena, also in The Changes, who, though university-educated abroad and conspicuously intelligent, conform to the submissive social and religious role assigned to them by their culture.
Aidoo’s recurring themes are, “marriage, motherhood, emotional and economic dependence, women’s education, their political and economic marginalization, and resistance to oppression”. With an unconscious Western feminist agenda always in mind, Aidoo insists that she did not learn her notions of feminism outside of Africa, and that her vocal women simply come from her Akan – Aidoo side
So, when she got the chance to be in Europe and the USA for a real encounter she continued to express her ideas born in her work, The Dilemma of a Ghost, before leaving home, Mother Africa.
I could also say that Ama Ata Aidoo has also Africanized some of Shakespearean scenes perfectly; The Bird of the Wayside, in her starting prelude of the play is folkloric African narrator who knows of the past, present and future. In the same way Shakespeare used three witches in Macbeth’s starting scene to tell a prophecy that Macbeth will one day become king. The difference Ama’s Bird of the Wayside is not telling us what is going to happen; rather it invited us to see events together.
As a conclusion, while men wrote about characters from the masculine point of views, Ama Ata Aidoo was keen to exhibit the feminine opinion. It is important to mention that Ama Ata Aidoo succeeded to embody the women, not only in Africa or Ghana, but in her own Akan society, with their traditions and entity. For her, she didn’t have to travel first to examine her ideas, as men writers did, as she wrote her play while she was in college.
I finally believe that there are common questions I may ask, observing (A Sparrow from the East), (Season of Migration to the North), (An Oriental Lady in Paris) and (The Dilemma of a Ghost): What do writers of the East want from West; are they seeking for revenge, are they haunting a compensation, are they guaranteeing a help, or what?
Are they satisfied with the marriage and love relationship with the previous colonizing states? Are they getting their rights back by studying abroad, getting academic certificates and even teach in western universities? Are they feeling blessed to get recognition from colonizing powers? Will the transformation of some western individuals to be pro-Africans, following the black continent traditions will be enough? Finally, will we be able to show our points of views in the tongues of others?
Ten years ago, Ama Ata Aidoo was asked by María Frías (Revista Estudios Ingleses 16 (2003) CONTENTS 38): “In your play The Dilema of a Ghost, Eulalie, the African American woman who marries African Ato in the United States and travels to meet his family in Africa, is portrayed in the negative: she rejects food (snails); rites (washing her stomach); tribalism (family meetings), etc. Are you sending the message that the embrace between African American women and African women is not possible?”
Ama Ata Aidoo answered: “At that time I was not consciously sending any messages. I wrote this play when I was twenty years old. I returned from the Conference in Lagos to live on Campus and to write this play. In retrospect, all I can say is that if I were a critic dealing with this play I would say that both parties are sending and getting messages. It was not only Eulalie, as an African American girl, who was rejecting African society. Africans had already rejected her, her smoking, her drinking. What I am trying to say is that if you want to bring two forces together without any preparation there is meant to be a clash. You bring an African American girl without telling her honestly what you see about your own African society, and then you don’t tell your people what to expect from an African American person. You just throw them together. What could they do but hate one another’s guts? I mean, you could do the experiment, and the same could happen with two Ghanaians coming from two different ethnic groups.”
The truth is that questions raised by writes for several decades are still alive. Answers were given in the literary works mentioned above, but we still need more answers in literature and criticism for more understanding and building a more peaceful homogeneous world.
Text of Presentation by Ashraf Aboul-Yazid from Egypt during a session of the Toyin Falola Interviews on Ama Ata Aidoo, July 2, 2023.
Philosophy, Meaninglessness And The Nature Of Politics In Nigeria
By Tunji Olaopa
Let me start this piece on a reflective note, and then connect the reflection with my concern for the political trajectory of the Nigerian state. And where else to start than with one of the wisdom quotes of Socrates. According to him, “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.” To be sure, this is not just advice on marital bliss. It contains a gem of philosophical insight that is both universal and particular, as I aim to demonstrate. Marrying a bad wife is Socrates’ own way of signaling dissatisfaction, discomfort and distress as the key to making sense of life. We then immediately understand the cogent sense in Karl Marx’s reaction to the opiate quality that religion brings to bear on the critical sense the people ought to have. By saying “religion is the opium of the people,” Marx meant to say that religion deadens the emancipatory possibilities that discomfort and distress bring to human existence. And even when Jesus began to espouse the theology of being “poor in spirit,” it points to the same issue of coming to a full spiritual awareness only with the realization that you are first poor in spirit.
Life, and the experience of existence and who we are, revolves around the meaning we ascribe to who we are and how we interpret life and the meaning of human existence. This is where one will recognize, again, the genius of Fela Anikulapo Kuti in capturing the tragic and traumatic rhythm of existence in Nigeria. In “Shuffering and Shmiling,” we come face to face with a realistic assessment of Nigerian life, and especially the complacence we all sit comfortably in while we are getting traumatized. While the Imam, Pope and Archbishop are enjoying, Nigerians are somnolent in suffering. And their enjoyment derives from their capacity to keep Nigerians politically mute about their situation. However, and without slinging any mud, is it not interesting that while those who brought Christianity to Africa have adapted their faith to a capitalist ethos—a la Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism—we are still trooping to church, spending our hard- earned money, and always looking towards heaven without equally sufficient thought on how to actively navigate the path towards progress on this earthly plane?
And we can easily see how this reflective path I am taking in this piece leads inexorably into the understanding of what Nigerians have made of their capacity for an active citizenship that vigorously queries the government on what it is making of the commonweal or the social contract which is meant to make their lives qualitatively better than they presently are. And yet, in most instances, Nigerians have often retreated. The recent fuel subsidy and the #EndSARS protests are exceptions from the rule of consistently backing away from a constructive engagement with the government and instead building “local government areas” in communities. In other word, every community takes up the responsibility of government in self-help arrangements where private guards and vigilance groups replace the state security framework, boreholes and wells replace water boards, generators and solar inverters replace electricity providers, private schools take over from public schools, and so on.
The perceptive reader would indeed have preceded me to the point I have reached in this reflection; the point of asking what the nature of politics really is. Let me return to the Greek philosophers. Plato once said that until philosophers become kings or kings become philosophers, cities will never have rest from evils. The reason for his insistence is simple: political greatness and philosophical wisdom ought to meet in one person. And yet, even the great Athenian city-state could not make that aspiration of a philosopher-king possible. Plato wanted to become a great politician, like Solon and Pericles. But then Athens was rapidly declining, and with it also the counsel of justice. And this was exactly the reason Socrates, Plato’s teacher, was judicially murdered, and Plato’s aspiration of becoming a philosopher-king summarily aborted. With Solon and Pericles, there was a progressive and increasingly successful attempts at rehabilitating the Athenian constitution to make it better able to serve the Athenian citizens.
The unfortunate thing is that the understanding of the nature of politics, or who a politician is, is still very crucial till today, and especially in a postcolonial state like Nigeria. And unfortunately, still, the trajectory of the decline of ancient Athens and her struggling to regain her democratic antecedent has remained my perception of the failure of politics in Nigeria since 1966. Nigeria’s governance experiment has birthed a series of false starts, wrong moves, uncritical governance models as well as an evolving political class that kept undermining the hope of an emerging political culture around which the Nigerian project can be finally and fully resolved. All these coalesce into the terrible dynamic we have grown to call the “Nigerian Factor”. Permit me to highlight just four dimensions of that enigmatic dynamic that has constrained Nigeria’s progress and national development since independence.
The first, for me, is the lack of a coherent vision of national well-being by a clueless political class that points at a blueprint for a better future for Nigeria and Nigerians. This is to say that the elite nationalistic framework that has served as the pathway for enlightened reflection on development for other countries is still floundering in Nigeria. On the contrary, the elite has been rather preoccupied by an extractive logic that operationalize primitive accumulation to the detriment of the commonweal. The second dimension, and a logical corollary of the first, is the incapacity of Nigeria’s political parties to serve as the framework for defining the ideological deployment of power that conditions governance models and development direction. Capturing power, the fundamental objective of all political parties, is in this case not aligned with a purposeful transformative agenda which makes the party a change agent and also ensures legitimacy for those the parties are fielding for political positions.
The third issue comes from the inevitable listlessness of the development agenda that has not yielded any headway for transforming the lives of Nigerians. And hence, Nigeria has been benchmarking the failure of her development planning for sixty-three years. An extractive political class, riding on political parties that just want to capture power, could only lead to a development agenda without any content. And lastly, we see how the epileptic development agenda would fail to backstop the rehabilitation of the Nigerian national project of integrating the diverse constituents of the Nigerian state around a civic nationalism—making ethnic nationalities believe in one Nigeria.
The great lesson of sixty-three years of Nigerian attempt at making a headway of politics and governance, is that the task of making Nigeria great—and politics a vehicle for good governance—can no longer be left for professional politicians alone. It is this same conclusion that led to the institutional expansion of the concept of governance to bring non-state and non-governmental actors within the same confines with government officials, functionaries and apparatuses in making governance work for the citizens. Now, it is time to expand the field of politics, and make it a mechanism for taking Nigeria more seriously than the politicians and the political class in Nigeria have taken. I am arguing that the idea of the “elite” in elite nationalism now needs more genuine and patriotic coalition of professionals and intellectuals, including the civil society organizations and other professional associations. The revolutionary task is that of tempering the opportunism that has characterized the trajectory of the Nigerian polity from independence till date—the opportunism of a greedy political class that has compromised Nigeria’s greatness.
And this is the message I took to the keynote responsibility at the annual workshop of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) in September. The message is that the Nigerian professionals and professional bodies have a redemptive responsibility to weigh in on Nigeria’s survival as a nation with potential. Nigeria needs the critical insertion of professionals with the proper brew of patriotism and professionalism into the policy architecture. The professional sees herself as being involved in a calling—a vocation, rather than just seeking for self-gratification. This is the first responsibility of a professional body like the APBN: the responsible gatekeeping of professionalism in Nigeria’s professional life. And given where the professional is mostly coming from, the private sector, there is an immediate and urgent need to instigate the institutionalization and functional optimality of the public-private partnership around which most government and their policy initiatives in the world take their strength. This is the kind of partnership that distinguishes the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) as one of the nation’s leading think-tanks
To be able to make the Nigeria government serve Nigerians, professionals and intellectuals need to invigorate the trajectory of policy making in Nigeria in ways that assist in fashioning a direction for governance and making elite nationalism more fulfilling as a pathway to an ideological understanding of politics. This way, Nigeria’s professionals have a hand in rescuing the Nigerian state from a headlong descent into meaningfulness and anomie. At least, they owe that to Nigerians.
Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and Professor of Public Administration .
The Toyin Falola Interviews: Panel Discussion On Coups In Africa: Geo-Politics, Legitimacies, And Resource Management
By Claire Princess Ayelotan
It is imperative that we acknowledge the need to shift away from Maradona democracy in Africa. The panels have aptly articulated this sentiment. The root of this issue lies in the need for a change in mindset through education. Unfortunately, even education cannot guarantee a change in ignorance, as displayed by some politicians.
The true challenge is the disunity among Africans that external actors routinely exploit. This makes coming together to establish a contextualised democracy challenging, reminiscent of the biblical passage “to your tent, oh Israel (1 Kings 12:16b)”. A house divided against itself cannot stand and will inevitably fall apart under any pressure. This is why thieves will come without hesitation to steal, kill, and eventually destroy. During pre-colonial times, some African leaders participated in the colonisation of their own people. It is also widely acknowledged that many elites were responsible for selling their people to slavery during imperialism. As mentioned above, the elites or their descendants also bear significant responsibility for disrupting and undermining long-standing traditions, religions, and belief systems in Africa. It is of great concern that I note the considerable impact of Western imperialism on Africa’s cultural landscape. Introducing toxic religio-cultural practices has contributed to decades of turmoil and instability of the continent. One such could be deducted from Jean-Marc Ela that “The God of missionary preaching was a God so distant, so foreign to the history of the colonised people (Ela 1986, 29).” They presented a facade of aid and benevolence to the people of Africa, but in reality, their actions were intended to maintain the subjugation of the indigenous population long after the colonialists had departed.
The extent to which these African elites were manipulated remains unclear; however, the same sense of disunity among Africans has once again become apparent. The divided house is crumbling! ECOWAS’s decision to launch an attack on Niger in response to the military coup that occurred raises several questions about the organisation’s motivations and consistency in addressing such events in the region. Specifically, why did ECOWAS choose to act against Niger while other countries, such as Mali, Guinea, and Gabon, have experienced similar military takeovers with no apparent action from the organisation? Whose voices are they listening to or hearing? Could they be concerned that they could be their respective nations that will soon undergo military coups? Niger’s neighbour, Nigeria serves as a compelling illustration of the potential for a severe social or political crisis. Given the persistent poverty and the glaring disparities between the wealthy and disadvantaged segments of the population, it is conceivable that an incident more catastrophic than a military coup may soon occur.
It is crucial to explore these discrepancies to understand ECOWAS’ role in maintaining instability in West Africa. Launching an attack on Niger is an infringement of Niger’s sovereignty and a clear violation of the Rule of Law. First, Niger is a sovereign nation, not a battlefield for mineral resources. It is imperative to consider the financial implications of engaging in armed conflict, including the loss of lives, psychological trauma, exploitation of the vulnerable, and forced displacement. Nigeria, which has long struggled to secure adequate food supplies for its population, would face significant challenges in providing sustenance to Nigerien refugees in the event of a war. Second, according to Sir Tom Bingham (2011, 8), the importance of the rule of law is that regardless of the type of authority represented by persons or organisations, the laws enacted and enforced in public must be binding on them, which requires clear, consistent, fair, and impartial laws, without discrimination or favouritism. In contemporary democracies, the observance of legal precepts is recognised as a fundamental aspect of effective administration, which appears to be absent in the governance of many African countries.
Moreover, the recent declaration by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, regarding the withdrawal of French troops from Niger before the end of December has raised concerns about the durability of this decision (France24, 2023). The troops in question had been stationed in Mali for nearly a decade but were compelled to leave the country in February of the previous year (Chrisafis and Burke, 2022). Subsequently, they were moved to Niger. This development serves as a distressing reminder of the situation in Afghanistan when the United States and its allies withdrew their forces (Stewart and Ali 2021) and raised spectres of history repeating itself too soon.
However, there were some concerns. It is unclear whether this is a temporary measure to allow for full-scale clashes between military insurgents and the ECOWAS or a permanent one. Additionally, a country’s claim that its ambassador is being held hostage in Niger raises questions about the truthfulness of this statement as there is no evidence to support this claim. No one is holding the ambassador, as he is free to leave Niger. The Nigerien military simply revoked his diplomatic immunity. It is widely known that France initially declined to withdraw, and the reason was well known.
If a military force from an African country invaded France and refused to withdraw, what would France do? The French government would likely take some steps to address the situation. These might include diplomatic efforts to negotiate a resolution, deployment of military forces to defend against further incursions, and implementation of economic or other sanctions against the invading country. Ultimately, the specific actions that France would take in this situation would depend on some factors, including the scale and nature of the invasion, capabilities of the French military, and the situation’s broader political and strategic context. Furthermore, France’s continued presence in the region has been met with criticism regarding its hostile relationship with francophones and has called into question the continuity of disguised colonialism in these regions.
A similar façade to the above is France’s hard-line stance on migrants from Lampedusa, Italy. On Tuesday, the 19th of September, the French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, was invited and interviewed in the TF1 8 pm news about the sudden arrival of nearly 9000 migrants in Lampedusa. He replied, ‘La France n’accueillera pas de migrants’ meaning France will not welcome migrants (Timsit 2023). It is not being suggested that France should open its borders without restrictions to accommodate all migrants, as such an action would prove overwhelming and untenable. Instead, the issue at hand concerns the question of what steps should be taken concerning migrants who hail from countries that have been or continue to be exploited by nations that refuse to accept them. If the African continent were to experience development, would the current influx of migrants (including oneself) be witnessed? It is universally acknowledged that when one casts stones, they should not be surprised if the projectiles land upon their abode, causing them to crumble and be destroyed.
It is clear that the various perspectives on this issue require further examination. Africa is in crisis because of adopted foreign values that are inadaptable to the continent. Last night, Professor Mary Owusu mentioned the need to return to history and I agreed. This means that Africa must find its voice and necessitates excavating our heritage beyond the pre-colonial period to reclaim our dignity. Otherwise, it will continue running hopelessly in the dark with no hint of light in the tunnel (Ela 1986, 100). Africa must abandon its foreign-style democracy, akin to Maradona’s brand of leadership, in favour of a democratic system that is tailored to our socio-cultural and religious values. Until such a time, the probability of military coups or even more catastrophic events is unavoidable.
Ayelotan, MA, MA, PhD, PDSL, ACIArb, IMI,Theology & Religious Studies, University of Roehampton.
Moral Values In A Changing World
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
JUSTICE: This world has degenerated into abysmal filth, immoral ungodly concupiscence, infantile greed, atavistic, primitive acquisition of property, and satanic hopelessness! The judiciary, the political class, the church, our royal fathers, and most other socio-cultural institutions have fallen into the cesspit of indiscipline and lack of respect for ethics! The Labour movement that used to be in the forefront of discipline cannot be trusted anymore!
MARIAM: Hehehehehehe! Okpoyibo! Big grammar is talking. I must invite Hon Patrick Obahiagbon to compete with you on explosive vocabulary.
PROFESSOR: That’s an old song. Our parents said the same thing some forty odd years ago.
UMUKORO: You are right; it is the way of the old to berate the world and say the past was better!
JUSTICE: Kindly don’t reduce the profundity of my introspective submission to the jejune level of the banal as has been the hallmark of pseudo-intellectuals in the polity!
MARIAM: I am going to get a new and bigger dictionary. I can’t find Michael West anymore!
JUSTICE: If you still restrict yourself to the archaic confines of Michael West, then you are a victim of historical detention, arrested development, and exploration of the brave new world!
MARIAM: I give up!
UMUKORO: Who still uses a dictionary in the 21st century? Ask Google my dear, ask Google!
JUSTICE: Your infantile and rudimentary knowledge of homonyms limits your capacity to process thoughts of the new century. Away with you, thou physically beautiful body without an intellectual soul. I take exception to people denigrating my exceptionally brilliant exegesis on the state of Homo sapiens!
PASTOR: ‘And in the last days, iniquity shall abound and the love of many shall wax cold’, so said the Master. The time is here!
PROFESSOR: A broken record! A broken record waxed hundreds of years ago!
PASTOR: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved!
PROFESSOR: Saved from what? Another holocaust? Another atomic bomb dumped on humanity?
PASTOR: Do you spurn sacred and biblical prophecies?
PROFESSOR: General prophecies mean nothing to me. Look here Mr Pastor. For all the false prophecies which members of your infernal gang of profiteering pastors gave before the last general elections, you should be behind the bars of God!
JUSTICE: It is not late, not too late at all. The hounds of heaven are waiting for all the false pastors, especially those who have commercialized the Lord’s work! A wonderful and abominable thing is happening in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the people love it so!
PROFESSOR: One preacher I knew used to say that one false prophet was more dangerous than 100 armed robbers. Now I understand why!
UMUKORO: Armed robbery is no longer fashionable. Pen robbery fetches millions of naira with one stroke. Just add two zeros to the figure or transfer public funds to a private account.
PROFESSOR: I spoke metaphorically!
PASTOR: When it is becoming fashionable for persons of the same gender to marry and be recognized by the state, then the world is coming to an end.
UMUKORO: Sodom and Gomorrah incurred God’s wrath with that abomination!
MARIAM: When Supreme Court judges dispense political justice, then the end of the state as we knew it, has come.
UMUKORO: Even in America! Democratic judges give judgment guided by the so-called liberal values of the democrats while republican judges give conservative verdicts like abolishing the right to having an abortion!
JUSTICE: What then is justice?
MARIAM: Self solution! Your name is justice!
PROFESSOR: Aren’t we mixing oranges and apples in the same basket?
PASTOR: Let the tares and the wheat grow. At the harvest the Lord shall do the separation of sheep from goats!
JUSTICE: Eschatological metaphors can be used to rationalize and explain currents and undercurrents of contemporary events. It is very convenient to do so!
PROFESSOR: I am disappointed that our Nobel laureate could make such a one-sided pronouncement on the 2023 general elections. Unlike him, he didn’t speak like a man who comprehends the totality of our traumatic experience in February 2023!
MARIAM: But he spoke his mind. The Constitution guarantees freedom of expression!
JUSTICE: He spoke with the finality of a judge. I respect him for that. But he should also like an elder have acknowledged the level of rigging and violence which marred the exercise. The general thinking is that he is silent on that aspect because a friend of his now occupies Aso Rock!
MARIAM: That is a most uncharitable thing to say about a man of such intellectual distinction and moral probity!
JUSTICE: Excuse me! Has he occupied any public office in the country to enable you to arrive at that conclusion? Has he been tested?
MARIAM: His name is a shield. His name travels before him.
JUSTICE: Why did he wait for the PEPT to make a pronouncement before proclaiming his tigritude?
PROFESSOR: Let’s leave that old man alone jor! I’m more interested in the shuffling feet at the CBN. What exactly is going on? Was there no due diligence before Shonubi was asked to act as Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria? Didn’t they know, couldn’t they have suspected that he was part of the rot that ran that institution aground in the dying days of the former president?
PASTOR: Alas, it has given the president the opportunity to appoint his own man as governor. The new man by all account is competent and exposed in the financial world!
PROFESSOR: My only worry is whether he will have the gumption to say no if he receives obnoxious directives from his boss.
JUSTICE: How many appointees in our country have the liver to say no to the indiscretion of their bosses? It is not in our DNA!
MARIAM: In Lagos state, the Speaker of House said no to the governor on the appointment of some commissioners! The heavens did not fall.
PROFESSOR: The heavens almost fell. But that speaker is arrogant. No big man can trust him. Or was he dancing to music being played in higher quarters to spite the governor?
MARIAM: Who knows! It is possible. The ways of politicians are not straightforward. How could he say that he and the governor are colleagues! He has no respect for the office!
UMUKORO: I felt sorry for the governor! This attempt to humiliate him all in the name of politics.
JUSTICE: I hear it is all about 2024. If he is thinking of becoming governor, that statement will return to haunt him in future!
PASTOR: Now! Now! Now! Is the Dubai visa ban still hanging over us or Mr. President got the desert kings to lift the embargo?
JUSTICE: Is there any ‘gbajue’ going on?
PROFESSOR: Hahahahahaha! The more you look, the less you see. Proverbs to bones and silence!
UMUKORO: I don’t think it is ‘gbajue! It is possible that there was an agreement in principle which would require Nigeria to finetune certain details before going public. A federal government cannot tell lies about such public matters!
PASTOR: When the saviour comes, let him that be on the rooftop not come down to be saved. You will run to the mountain and the mountain will be melting!
MARIAM: And the sea will be boiling!
PROFESSOR: Who will save us? Who can take the nation back to factory reset? Shall we invite Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, and Ahmadu Bello to rescue us?
PASTOR: Perish such thoughts please! Those men have not been able to save themselves. How can they save anybody? Jesus Christ is the answer!
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