BY PROF PROTUS UZOMA

In one of his great books (Aesop’s Fable), the great philosopher Aesop told a story of some mischievous boys and some frogs. The story goes thus, “Some mischievous boys were playing on the edge of a pond, and catching sight of some frogs swimming about in the shadow water, they began to amuse themselves by pelting them with stones, and they killed several of them. At last one of the frogs put his head out of the water and said, “Oh, stop! Stop! I beg of you, what is sport to you is death to us.

The above philosophical narrative by Aesop, the slave philosopher simplifies the circumstances surrounding us all, not only in Imo state but in Nigeria at large. The situation that circumnavigates our present political strata, that has seen the usual political gladiators of different political parties, which do not represent the yearnings of the masses on stage. We usually play into their hands in every era and nothing has changed at all. Probably this is the will of the divine for us all and we will continue to endure their political pelting of stones which they have always seen as point of amusement; which nevertheless, has led to the death of many.

The above story is a big lesson to Imo people. What appears to be a political fight, the battle of right and wrong, the game of intension and above all, fight for the realization of ambition which to all politicians is a justifiable political sport is leading to our ‘death’. One of the rules of St. Benedict in leadership is, “Let him (the abbot) always think of the account he will have to render to God for all his decisions and his deeds”. Bearing this in mind will enable the leader keep constant guard over the actions of his life. Today in Nigeria, politics has become a thing of do or die affair. Why? The answer is obvious, everybody wants to lead. The world loves a leader than a follower.

Bad and evil leaders detest and loathe constructive criticism. Criticism is a disinterested endeavor to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world. As a renowned social critic, I wish to state here that my criticism is informed by my desire to see things done the right way. As Christian Nestle puts it, “The legitimate aim of criticism is to direct attention to the excellent. The bad will dig its own grave, and the imperfect may safely be left to that final neglect from which no amount of present undeserved popularity can rescue it”. Franklin Roosevelt concludes, “A radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air”. And I am one! Always ready to say the truth to my generation though he who understands (this single truth) is a lonely man.

I am here to say the truth which many including the opposition group can attest to. Like Lenny Bruch would say, “Liberals understand everything except people who don’t understand them”. Yes, I am most gladdened when I am misunderstood on the basis of the truth because there are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate about things; the first is when he can’t afford it while the second is when he can. In the words of Elbert Hubbard, “The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is usually interrupted by the man doing it”.

Now and based on conscience, Frank Crane enthuses, “Out of action, action of any sort, there grows a peculiar, useful, everyday wisdom. Truth is rarely found by the idle. Nor is it the result of deep and long study. It is a sort of essence that is secreted from a concrete deed”. For St. John Bosco, “Cheerfulness, study piety-that is the programme of action that will bring you happiness and great spiritual merit”. Yes, doers get to the top of the oak by climbing it. Dreamers sit on an acorn, not ready to appreciate any good work particularly when it comes from an enemy. Ben Franklin confirms the above when he asserts, “All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable and those that move”.

Our leaders must learn a bit of human kindness and like Shakespeare, “Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness”. William Penn supports, “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again”. For Mahatma Gandhi, “I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth, I shall be able to hug all humanity in friendly embrace”. Having constructively criticized various political administrators, I wish to appreciate the fact that human nature is usually embattled by ferity.

I will not be as those who spend the day in complaining of headache, and the night in drinking the wine that gives it. Gratitude is the least of virtues, but ingratitude the worst of vices. In the words of Ausonius, “Earth produces nothing worse than an ungrateful man”. Samuel Johnson infers, “A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him”. According to Shakespeare, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child”.

It is always good to be disciplined; only in the matter of personal conduct is the need for discipline questioned. But if politicians believe standards are necessary, then discipline certainly is needed to attain them. Emmanuel Kant says, “Man must be disciplined for he is by nature raw and wild”. Therefore, those wishing to lead us in 2023, should know that discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability. Our present day politicians need a stern course of self-discipline, self-simplification, a rearrangement of character, a launching anew on a higher level of spiritual aspiration. It is only when this is done that we shall end asking the question, is this truly politics?

In the words of Homer, “No man of woman born, coward or brave, can shun his destiny.” Yes, no one can shun his destiny, not even a mediocre who does not identify his primordial destiny.

I know I will die one day, but I am not afraid of death now because I am alive in HIM in other to speak the truth to humanity. I wish to inform my readers however that a mediocre is a naïve person, one who is often very loud, over confident and small-minded who on the other hand, may not realize his deficiencies while over praising his works. The mediocre’s small-mindedness is very conspicuous and unless he is made to realize it politely, he will cast his unconditional wrath on whoever lampoons and criticizes him.

It becomes very difficult to correct a mediocre as a result of his low political leadership quality, the Shakespearean admonition, “Speak low, if you speak love” does not make any logical meaning in the working encyclopedia of a mediocre hence he sits very complacently on a serious issue of state or national interest and ends up personalizing it.

A mediocre is always rash and abrasive and can easily be faulted when it comes to exerting true leadership qualities and being focused on life-impacting projects. A mediocre’s sense of judgment is usually hampered by his obvious limitations as he is usually loquacious always meaning “B” when he says “A”. He is always on a defensive and unaccommodating side in so far as it projects and favors his noxious and illicit ambition in enmeshing wealth.

We truly need to come to the full recognition of the fact that we need socio-economic change in our country and in doing so we must be guided by rules and principles. We need political growth in the right direction and those who want to lead us should be sure that they are properly in the right conscience. We need a change in this political era and it will come in love and not in crisis.

Prof Protus Uzoma

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