BURNING POT BY PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON
National Hide-and-Seek Champions of Nigeria
I am a member of the generation whose roads were rough and tough according to Tai Solarin, I am part of that generation that Wole Soyinka called lost. I am part of that generation that saw the death of the original Daily Times...one which I recall the one-time MD and playwright tell me was "an elephant, that everyone came and ate from, it would not die", but alas it died!
I am a generation that saw almost 18 hours of light at a season, and I have lived to see zero megawatts, what ever that means, I witnessed NEPA, PHCN, and now DISCO, I was alive when the small 'I pass my neighbor' was banned and the big Mikanos remained for the rich as a status symbol for constant electricity. Although it was still sold everywhere despite the ban.
I was a member of the Save Nigeria generation, and the #occupyNigeria, and I am still alive while we try to #bringbackourgirls. From a time of intense armed robber that led to firing squads to the era of children kidnap popularly know in those that days as "gbomo-gbomo".
I lived in the days when the Federal unity schools were prestigious and got on merit, and I now live when the Queens College that remains a pride is now in the news with a teacher accused of "doing things" with a student.
I am a generation of NANS that did not give awards frivolously intact rarely gave as I cannot recall, I am in one that they give awards to the likes of Kashamu, Saraki, Tinubu, Yerima, and anyone that can afford one.
I have seen so many Nigerian Presidents, yet have not seen appropriate leadership strides, as it has been same difference, like 6-3-3-4, and 9-3-4, or 9-5-10 as educational systems, one riddled with a kwashiorkor riddled quota and federal catchment arrangement, and filled with pothole teachers at all levels, and a massively strike infested tertiary structure.
I have seen intelligent politicians like the Okadigbos, and his ilk, whom when asked why he slept during National Assembly proceedings, he gave two answers, "I do because when I hear the quality of discuss on Nigeria, I feel tears, and secondly when I sleep, I wake and join in the discuss seamless without missing anything."
I am a living witness of the Jagaban era, the era that has promised so much change, and trust me, I won't jump the gun, they still have three years.
I am a generation of those that appreciated the Rex Lawsons, Harcourt Whyte, Oriental Brothers, Ebenezer Obey, and Sunny Ades, enjoyed Dan maraya Jos, and listened to highlife of the days of yore, and wondered what would happen in you marry taxi driver as Bobby Benson put it...There was Victor Uwaifo, the Guitar Boy, Bongo of the the Maryam Abacha rumors, and sure another Victor called Olaiya. Did I miss out Fela, the abami eda...No way?
It was an era, and then I am alive to hear some lines that would one make you puke in the name of music, everyone young lad is a musician, just get a few thousands, you have a studio session and there you are...You are a star, how long you shine is another story.
So from Onyeka, Bright Chimezie, Shina Peters, we are suddenly enveloped in loads of senseless strings, percussion and drums with lingo that are from the raw and vulgar to the meaningless, but we all dance after all.
Today everyone is on Facebook, twitter and it is the social media age, loads of Information that kick around but little learning abounds, so we do not write letters anymore, except if it’s the Ebora of Owu, OBj doing the writing, we do not have pen pals anymore but plenty friends on social media whom we do not know or care about.
So, what is my admonition about, what is the thrust of my verbose this week, I am making an effort to bring us back to our kids. What kind of generation are we building? Must of us are part of the generation that was taught about handwork, about the pride of work, about the merit of a good name over wealth.
We were taught that you must be self-reliant and depend on yourself and your family, to listen to and respect your parents and other concerned adults in your life.
We grew knowing there was a job, if you went to school, and you could create a job for yourself and for others in your community. To be responsible for your health, and you have a better chance for a good outcome, was the focus of the health education we were taught in school at a tender age.
One learned to succeed in life in spite of your education in schools, and the type of schools one went to. We valued our culture and your ethnic history.
Our young men respected our young women and vice versa, it was an era of those doxology letters. While elders and seniors in the family and community were revered and feared.
Parents were financially literate and understand how money works. Cherishing every kobo and being prudent about it, buying what was needed and not needing to buy…We helped to promote, rebuild and invest in our families and communities, while giving maximum effort! We all believed in a greater, higher power or universal source beyond us.
My sons are 9 and 12 respectively, this is about them…It is about you, me, and the Nigeria we are building. First let me tell us a short story.
A very large, old building was being torn down to make room for a new skyscraper. Due to its proximity to other buildings it could not be imploded and had to be dismantled floor by floor. While working on the 49th floor, two construction workers found a human skeleton in a small closet behind the elevator shaft. They decided they should call the police.
When the police arrived, the workers led them to the closet and showed them the skeleton. It was fully clothed, covered in cobwebs and dust and sitting in a crouched position. They all found the sight of the skeleton disturbing and wondered who it could have been and how he wound up in the closet.
The police forensic team removed the body and demolition of the building was put on hold until the police figured out the identity of the skeleton. Two days went by and the construction workers were becoming impatient. They couldn’t stand it any more. They wanted to know who they had found.
They called the police and said, “We are the two guys who found the skeleton in the closet and we want to know who it was.”
The police said, “Its somebody kind of important.”
“Well, who was it?” they asked.
The policeman replied, “the 1956 National Hide-and-Seek Champion.”
We played hide-and-seek, will the children of Nigeria play hide-and-seek, or we shall continue to play fuel queues, BVN queues, salary queues, hospital queues, would our leaders for once get it right or will they continue to do the reverse hide-and-seek on us—Only time will tell.