BY PROF PROTUS NATHAN UZOMA
Aesop was a slave and a philosopher of note, he embodies an epigram not uncommon in human history; his fame is all the more deserved in view of his logical cum allegorical way of presenting issues. In fact, his fame I must say is well deserved in our state now due to the correlating factor of his fables in our present day democracy.
In his book, “Aesop’s Fables” an interesting fable is highlighted on the old woman and the doctor. The fable goes thus, “An old woman became almost totally blind from a disease of the eyes, and consulting a doctor, made an agreement with him in the presence of witness that she should pay him a high fee if he cured her, while if he failed he was to receive nothing. The doctor accordingly prescribed a course of treatment, and every time he paid her a visit he took away with him some articles out of the home, until at last, when he visited her for the last time, and the cure was complete, there was nothing left. When the old woman saw that the house was empty she refused to pay him his fee, and, after repeated refusals on her part, he sued her before the magistrate for payment of her debt. On being brought into court she was ready with her defense. ‘The claimant’ said she ‘has stated the facts about our agreement correctly. I undertook to pay him a fee if he cured me, and he, on his part promised to charge nothing if he failed. Now, he says I am cured; but I say that I am blinder than ever, and I can prove what I say. When my eyes were bad I could at any rate see well enough to be aware that my house contained a certain amount of furniture and other things; but now, when according to him I am cured, I am entirely unable to see anything there at all.”
The above fable appears not just like a fable but a correlating reality in the political history of our noble state Imo not just with this administration but in all the administrations that has ever ruled Imo state. The fable vis-à-vis our present state, has indeed given almost every Nigerian citizen a daze that has continued to accelerate our obfuscated state. The noxious daze occasioned by bad leadership has ignited serious virulent posture among the led to the extent that anger and deep exasperation are revealed on the faces of people. Those who doubt me should visit our various secretariat complexes and see how anger and dissatisfactions are reflected on the faces of the workers but because the holistic doctor is still on duty, the workers appear to be docile so that they will not be denied of the little monthly crumb that falls from the table of our great healers and rescuers.
Like the fable of Aesop, when Archimedes the philosopher was expressing his intentions and capacity of moving the world by his dictum and allusion expressed thus, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth” Socrates had already responded, “Let him that would move the world first move himself”. In witnessing the drama of being able to move the (the Nigerian nation) world, some of our leaders have not been able to move himself. And in attempting to move themselves, they have strayed into the quagmire and political cocoon of being related to the fable as Aesop had inferred.
Narrowing the whole story down to Imo, all our past and present leaders are like the doctor Aesop told us about who offered to cure a woman of her blindness, who in the same vein and in accordance with his usual propensity took away a piece of article from her house anytime he paid a visit. During his last visit, he left nothing with the woman. The woman saw him going with her properties one after another until the house was emptied and she refused to pay him his medical fee. The greedy doctor had the mind to sue her in the magistrate court for not paying him his fee as agreed.
The woman on her part was ready with her defense. She did not argue with the doctor at all rather she presented her own part of the story. In her words, “…I undertook to pay him a fee if he cured me, and he, on his part, promised to charge nothing if he failed. Now, he says I am cured, but I say that I am blinder than ever, and I can prove what I say. When my eyes were bad I could at any rate see well enough to be aware that my house contained a certain amount of furniture and other things; but now, when according to him I am cured, I am entirely unable to see anything there at all”.
The above response is not a joke at all. Our political leaders and mouth-watering policies that have only enabled them to get richer day by day cannot be over accentuated.
The case of Imo cannot be over emphasized because we have seen with our two eyes, but we cannot talk because we all live in fear of talking. Now that we are cured of the “blindness” we have discovered that this administration is out to do the usual.
As a matter of fact, if everyone agrees with your dream, without oppositions or criticism, then probably it is a nightmare, not a dream. Furthermore, if you are not big enough to stand criticism, then you are too small to be praised. Though Napoleon Hill had informed us that a “successful” politician is one who is long in promises, but short on keeping them”.
Under the sway of murder propensity, the conscientiousness of the earthman which constitutes the essence of being is completely overwhelmed by illusion. This state has made majority to misunderstand what they ought to understand; though the most difficult thing to understand is why anything should be understood.
Those who misunderstood my critical mind have called me names. They say I criticize any government for pecuniary purpose. Even Professor Wole Soyinka who sometime intervened in my case with former Governor of Imo State knows that my criticism of any government is not born of any material or pecuniary interest.
I desire to see things move well for my state (Imo) and my country Nigeria. I did not take to criticism because I want to destroy anybody, I have my own fault, no man is fault free not even Christ during his earthly ministry. No one is perfect yes, none is good. Christ even authenticated and demonstrated same when someone came to Him and exclaimed, “Good Master and Jesus answered him “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one that is God.” Matt. 19:16-17.
Yes, none is good except the Lord! As humans we are made up of imperfection and it reflects in whatever we do to the extent that criticism gives us the chance of correcting ourselves. One Chinese Proverb says, “Think of your own faults the first part of the night when you are awake, and of the faults of others the latter part of the night when you are asleep.” In the words of Anne McCaffrey “Make no judgments where you have no compassion”.
Whatever you dislike in other people, be sure to correct it in yourself before you can criticize any. Though it takes courage to criticize anyone particularly a leader that is not performing well; the courage to criticize is given by God hence such courage is a special grace under pressure. Yes, this kind of courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to push on in the face of fear.
A sage once noted, “Twist I did good, and heard it never, once I did evil and heard it ever.” We are living in the world where people will slap you on the back behind your face and then slap you again in the face behind your back. Whatever you make of this assertion is criticism!
Criticism is a major mirror that reflects the identity of the critic. Constructive criticism does the best by showing the way the criticized should follow. I am aware that it is not an easy task to do better in any endeavour one finds himself; at the same time the duty of a critic is to discover new paths and proffer solutions to them. I do not think being a pure humanitarian and social critic is an abomination. A critic wants the best for his state and his nation too.
Though while I have received commendation from those who are real patriotic Nigerians for doing good by pointing out areas that government should follow in order to deliver the dividend of democracy to the electorates, few have seen me as an enemy to any government in power. In as much as I am aware of the common fact that Imo people are not worth dying for because they do not know what they want. They simply do what they are hypnotized to do. Well, they should not be blamed because going by certain things, Imo needs deliverance. Not even the critic can deliver Imo. Oh! When will Imo regain her sight?
PHOTO OF THE AUTHOR ABOVE