CTITICISM OF THE LAST ORDER Robert Frost in ‘The Road Not Taken’ said: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I And I took the less travelled by And that has made all the differences. I wish to agree with Abraham Lincoln in the ‘letter to his son’s Teacher’ that for every scoundrel there is a hero; for enemy energy there is a friend. He said that the bullies are the easiest to lick and Achebe said that there is nothing to fear from the man who shouts. This makes Lincoln to suggest the secret in quite laughter. What is the hope of a nation when most of the custodians of hope are not fixing the breaches well? It has become a culture of many Nigerians, especially youths, to get involved in triviality as priority. The reason is not unassociated with the need to get a strategy of escapism from the quotidian enervating tidings of lootings, launderings and failings. This is the reason why almost all Nigerian youths derive relief in strong argument on sports, music’s, relationship, with the subjects and themes of stars, best clubs, richest clubs, beauty, sex, phones and so on. In her Never Again, FloraNwapa said that ‘in war, any thing was possible,’ so also is anything likely possible in frustration. And ours is improvement. We have improved in national criticism without any bearing. Not all of us, but most of us are not the needful critics of the last order for same people never have time except to hiss, shrug and sigh and same never even care to hear or know about the errors or flaws that Nigeria may have, and some do the right in the right way. Very recently there was a new palm nut to be cracked by the squirrels that care… and many so care (till now) to crack the nut and lick the oil with their teeth, tongue and lips, on the existing new verbal-effigy: ‘My Oga at the Top’ this is a seemingly justifiable improvement since many children had transferred focus of aggression to a mother for not belching with syntax and semantics and since she would not belch again, they need a replacement. We have become hunters of grammatical errors to maintain check and balance in speech making. This of course, is not too bad because it seems irritating for a figure of names and fame to insult the god of knowledge and language by desecrating the shrine of sentence structure and function. And it is not so good for a teacher to display his ignorance before curious and smart students. When Mr. Obafaiye Shem, the commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC Lagos Chapter was interviewed at channel television station, he was asked to give the official website of the NSCDC. It became obvious that the person being interviewed could not give any correct answer. The mistake was that he wanted to play on the intelligence of the audience. Lincoln says it is good to learn how to lose but to enjoy winning. If he didn’t know the answer to the question, he could frankly say that he could not give one for now and promise to find out and release it later since it was necessary to give the real website. The interviewerswho seemed to have known his ignorant state kept asking him the same question. But who was the ‘Oga at the top’ being referred to? We may organise a party and feast on his grammatical inaccuracy if the basic requirement for his post is English proficiency and not his physical ability. Why should proficiency in language not be a requirement? Is pidgin not be used in the army? Are all students after SSCE presentable? Are we all exempted from flaws and malpractices? The major issue is that many people believe he is not good, he is ignorant, he did not know the website, and they seem to be right. However, the noise, the singing and dancing and mocking of ‘Oga at the Top’ is like a hungry and angry dog biting a stone. Many people derive pleasure in the seasonal criticism on speech-making and issues that are not invaluable to the society. ‘My Oga at The Top’ is germane to the society if we had focused on the effect of nepotism, education system structure and flaws of agencies rather then biting the nails of a person whose world is a microcosm of Nigeria. Can we ignore the fact that it is the misplaced priority at the prime such as desperation to get a certificate rather than ability, degree rather than career, knowledge, fame and any –how-wealth rather than profitable and defendable skills that culminates into unqualified officials (as many as we may have) in this country today? Was there not a time some NYSC members could not recite the national anthem? Are such not at the top? While we cannot continue to celebrate mediocrity, we must be realistic to the truth about the involvement of many of us in corruption. Many managers and directors of companies with captivating speech ability that could tame souls had always (and still) loot billions as ‘national cake’ or ‘company cake’ There are many issues that affect us but we ignore them and seem compromised to the fate of helplessness. Bombing and terrorism, immunity of the Legislators, pardoning the heroes of corruption, profligacy, examination malpractices, unemployment, fixed-party system, and so on are rampant. Do we not know that we have Notional Association for unemployed Youths in Nigeria? But what is the purpose of social criticism in a place where the voices of the people never move the rulers (not leaders)? What is the purpose of social comments when it reduces nothing of what is intended? What! What is the essence of social criticism when it is not effective to cause social change or check corruption? Why wasting time and energy to discuss change that has denied possibility and denied hope) What is criticism, when most or some of the rulers are corrupt agents rather than moral agents? What! when they are resistant to criticism and protest, when they are not afraid to announce that a billion naira is for one man’s food for a year? I would have agreed that we should compromise to noise making as it seems the only way to forget the news and the perpetually progressive corruption. But how can we? We can not be in patriotic silence and expect change. The Yoruba people say ‘eniburu mo, eni ma so fun lounwa’ that is the wicked knows he’s wicked, yet he seeks who will tell him. The voice is one of the weapons that can be used to actualise change, more often that it comes before action because it can control emotion into passion. It is high time we stopped noise-making and start sense-making. What is the need of social comments when a learned, assumed to have attained the peak of knowledge in his field, now condemn himself as being ignorant for making comments on national issues of course, when you get involved in your opponent’s dealings, you are necessarily going to defend him. Why misplacing priority? Government is bent of fuel subsidy removal politicians (in government) are splashing millions of naira, including a car worth 7.5 million naira on an achiever who is also rich, as wedding gifts when many Nigerians can hardly live on one thousand naira perday, when 7 million naira could do much to smile on some people at the home region of the generous politicians. However, it is not a crime to give gift to one’s kin neither is it anybody’s problem but it’s just a case of exhibitionism versus altruism.What gain have we when we ignore the main and bite the vain?
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