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« Is there any Reason why a Biafrian can't be President? | Main | An Illogical Trajectory: Kettle Call Pot Black »

September 15, 2006

Nuhu Ribadu: Let he who is without Sin Cast the First Stone

by D. Akinsanya Juliuson (Great Britain) --- We all like to meet people who are all the things this society defines as perfect. Beautiful, brilliant, compassionate with a liberal dose of humbleness. When we meet this concept of perfection and over time reality dawns, what do we come up with? Damn! Not all the things I envisioned.

Something is missing we say. I must continue my search, and so friendships, marriages, work relationships often suffer, simply because of the temporary illusion. I am a very open minded human being, who knows he is but a student in this classroom called life, and believe me, I am learning and growing with each lesson that comes my way.

Man is such a harsh judge. We so readily want our own indiscretions and mistakes to be over looked, but seldom are willing to overlook someone else's. Why does it sometimes seem as if we revel in the chance to find fault in others? Is it because we feel better about our own shortcomings when we compare them to those who are more obviously flawed? Yet does this give us a right to pass judgement? In life, we must learn to be fair. It is not our job to right a wrong. It is quite sufficient for us to acknowledge that something has been less than ideal….and to do our best to avoid a recurrence. I’m now speaking of a time to forgive, to forget and to move gracefully, profitably on and that time is now. We must understand one thing in life, when we are angry, we hurt something in ourselves. Psychological self protection mechanisms come at a price. Like moats and drawbridges on a castle, designed to keep invaders at bay, they also prevent friendly visitors from dropping by.
The worst has already happened; the best is yet to come. That's true of the history of the human race. It's also a true thing to say about our nation. No matter how bad things get, they won't ever be as bad as they were once before - and no matter how good things have been in the past, we are going to see moments that far outshine these rays of hope and inspiration. Let’s for the love of God, keep that in mind today. As we look ahead we must be willing to embrace all the positive magic that tomorrow has in store.
In life, we can’t set anyone else’s boundaries for them. We can, though, set our own. We can decide what we do or don’t find acceptable and we can refuse to cross that line unless there is an exceptionally good reason. This won’t necessarily make us popular, but it will bring a degree of clarity to a situation that is rapidly growing confused. It will also afford us some protection. We surely need to feel comfortable and we need to be satisfied that we are doing the right thing regardless of how anyone else may be behaving around us. If we keep an open mind, we could end up believing almost anything. If our heart is open too, we reduce that risk. Somehow, we’ll be guided towards what’s right, even if we have become convinced of the wrong idea.

People judge us by what we wear. How we look. How we speak. What we appear to be doing with our lives. Or even how many resources we seem to have at our disposal. That should be their problem. We should never let it be ours. We should certainly never judge ourselves by these trivial tokens. Who are you inside? How much love, kindness, warmth and wisdom dwells in your heart? Look for this in yourself and look for it in others too. Then it will be very easy to separate the superficial from the truly meaningful. Even the Most High, said we must stop judging unjustly; but we must no longer be partial to the wicked, the hypocrites and the ungodly. We (Nigerians) must defend the rights of the poor and the orphans. We must learn to be fair to the needy, the oppressed and the helpless. We must rescue them from the power of the wicked, character assassins and the brood of vipers. Many of us would prefer to have a little less blind faith and a lot more by way of sensible strategy. There’s nothing wise, about jumping to a premature conclusion. But in life, we must learn to give crucial information a chance to reach us before passing judgements.

Half the books in the library these days seem to be about relationships – and how to improve them. We are always being encouraged to become better communicators, to learn to listen or to grow more adept at asking for what we really want. Interestingly, there are no manuals to instruct you and me in the art of being nasty to one another. That, apparently, is something that comes quite naturally, especially in Nigeria. So, too, is the ability to create confusion, controversy and consternation. 'Before you judge someone, you should first walk a mile in their shoes.' The true origins of this famous saying are lost in the mist of time. Almost certainly, they date back to a period when most people wore adjustable sandals. In these modern times of rigid shoe sizes, God! We could do ourselves serious damage by attempting this exercise. However, the statement is not supposed to be taken literally.

“They say honesty is the best policy”. They could, of course, be lying. They could only be saying this to elicit as much information as possible from an unsuspecting audience. Or they could sincerely believe the statement but be deluded as to the nature of honesty. Something needs to change in Nigeria. That's indisputable. There is no debate about what has to alter, but there is a reason to discuss the method by which we alter it. Tiresome though it may be to go over everything with a fine toothcomb and consider all those ifs, buts, maybes and could-be's, the process is necessary. We have to be sure we are doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. We won't know that till we have explored all the permutations, weighed up all the options and dispelled all the doubts.

'The truth will set you free’ so they say.' That, though, is not everyone's experience. Some people find that candour gets them into an awful lot of trouble. It's a bit like saying that a key will open a lock. It will, but that same key will also close it. Much depends on how it is used and which way it is turned. Lies, though, never liberate anyone. The most they ever do is help us trade a small amount of trouble today, for a whole load more in the future. Most people are extremely selective with the truth. They see things from their own point of view, not the viewpoint of others. If they do look beyond this, it is with the intention of supplying misleading information. Life’s only sensible option is to play it straight and avoid playing politics with Nigerians lives. If we play it safe we can make many gains.

Honesty is not the best policy in Nigeria of today. Sensitivity is. Some people are born insensitive, some achieve insensitivity and others have insensitivity thrust upon them. This is not the right quotation. But I am sure we all know why I make that remark now. We are dealing with several silly someones, several brood of vipers. If only we had a thick skin, a thick hide, this would be fine. But no matter how heartless, careless or callous the people around us may choose to be, we can and must summon no such quality. Does this make us vulnerable? No, it makes us wonderful.

Moral authority in Nigeria should be measured against shared standards of human rights, democracy and rule of law. To hoist the flag of freedom in our country and ask that others follow our lead is to invite deliberation. Serious discussion of the ideas and policies we choose to advance. Free men and women of this great nation do not simply salute and fall in line, No! Free people ask by what authority, on what evidence, by what right do you ask me to hear and heed your policy prescription for our nation’s ills? Our response to those fair questions cannot be slogans and brands. Effective public diplomacy in Nigeria requires respectful dialogue and vigorous engagement at the level of ideas. Let’s all think about that today.

If the truth is a sword, secrecy is a shield. There is a time and a place for both. In life, we must learn not to tell everything to everybody. We must understand and remember that discretion is not just about our choice of words, but about finding the right moment to deliver them. Certain things can remain veiled forever. There is no harm in this. Other matters, though, must be openly and honestly expressed. As we set about identifying the difference, we must be guided by our deepest instincts and ignore the pressures of both convention and obligation.

Like I said before, we don’t win arguments by shouting the loudest – or by taking back our bat and ball and refusing to play any more. We win by being wise, being responsible; by standing back, holding back, thinking carefully and choosing our words well. If we really want to win, we transcend our fear of losing. We give way when we can and seek compromise rather than conflict. Hollow victories are easily attainable. But meaningful agreements, while it may be more difficult to arrive at, always prove infinitely more rewarding. If we are certain of something, let’s stick with it. If we are unsure, let’s not pretend otherwise. Though others seem to look up to us more when we look as if we know what we are doing, it’s a false comfort if secretly we have no clue at all. But as long as we just keep doing what needs to be done, we will make the right kind of progress. Sometimes, though, we find it much easier to do what doesn’t need to be done. Distractions excite us. Irrelevances attract us. All alternatives, no matter how empty, seem more appealing than the task in hand. We must learn to face our fear. Overcome our inertia. Make our effort. To our surprise and delight, we will find that the further we go down seemingly difficult road, the easier and more enjoyable our progress becomes.

If we didn't have friends, we couldn't have enemies. We'd have nobody to fall out with - nobody to disappoint or to feel let down by. Who would we do favours? Who could we go out of our way to help? Who could we share our secrets with? Who would we have to blame when those secrets were then passed on to someone else? Friendship is a mixed blessing - but then so is wealth. The problems it brings are, by and large, worth having. In life I believe many people have covered enough ground to be very wary of this human race. Even when your spirit feels like yielding in trust, your mind says…perhaps not. I know most people, even with the best intentions are still at the end of the day only human and humans make many mistakes, but trust me, those who are most vulnerable...have much more to lose.

Trust is an easy thing to talk about and difficult thing to feel. With the ability to trust and love deeply comes the greatest fragility. To shatter into a thousand pieces and find it very difficult to put each piece back in place. Even then the glass is never the same. So it’s always wise to tread very carefully through this life of ours. I do not blame or criticize, I always love to tell it as it is...for in this life, many of us have encountered many wolves who do not even yet know they are wolves in sheep’s clothing, many rogues in royal robes and many apostles and punching preachers from who knows where?. They become greatly offended when you inform them of their rapacious nature.

They go far out of their way to show you, to proof to you, to convince you that...Hey! I am a sheep, can you not see my humble passive nature? Then, the mind begins to overrule the spirit, which more than anything recognizes exactly what it feels. The eyes and other senses convince the mind...yes this is a sheep. It is only when the true nature of the wolf, the hyena, the leviathan reveals itself that the spirit is able to break free and scream....why on earth do you never listen to me mind? I tell you this today, there is always someone standing out there with a noose waiting to put it around your neck, but the question we all need to ask more often than not is, who knows who? Nigeria we hail thee, our own dear native land. Though tribe and tongue may differ in brotherhood we stand…..In brotherhood we stand? Oh Lord! Please give us a sign.

We spend a lot of time worrying about whether we are getting things wrong. We dwell on the mistakes we feel we have made and further errors that these in turn may be leading us to. Things have a way of turning out well, even when they have recently turned out badly. That's certainly the case in Nigeria. Let’s look back and give thanks to the Lord for some of the lucky breaks we have enjoyed and give glory to the Lord Almighty for blessing us with few unique leaders who are at least trying their possible best to make our blessed country the best and a nation no longer deserted. Now, let’s be hopeful and look forward. I surely believe there's something good ahead for the righteous in this country and by God 2007 will be a year of restoration, with brand new generation of God fearing leaders and brand new political agenda.

D.Akinsanya Juliuson
Diplomacy Practitioner and Specialist Investigator
United Kingdom

Posted by Administrator at September 15, 2006 11:04 AM


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