ARTICLE : DEATH BY THE PEN by Valentine Igbonekwu

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There are several ways to kill a nation without a sword. Words and conduct could have more drastic effects than sword. It is often said that the pen is mightier than the sword; in as much as this is true, then it is expected that the pen must always tread with caution.

The unmistaken belief at the early days of our lives was one that referred to the pen as the educated, the enlightened, the learned or the elites. This feeling rewarded the pen with unreserved respects, high expectations and conducts capable of emitting sparks of exemplary leadership. It becomes saddening when the pen, enrobed with much royalty and majesty prostrates in a ridiculous bazaar of shame to the foolishness of the sword; where the former births peace, the later; the opposite.

Niyi Osundare, a Nigerian poet, has been extolled for deliberately dressing words with sanyan [expensive hand-woven cloth] to unearth his feelings about conducts of National concern. For him, when cutting a tree in the forest, it is the wise who watch where it will fall, the not-so-wise merely enjoy the conquering edge of the axe. Methinks that the watchful wise refers to the pen while the not-so-wise refers to the sword. Lawyers share in the former.

The birth of the legal profession came with ethical tidings to preserve and sustain the much coveted profession. A lawyer in this light must be wise, watchful and cautious. His sanyan must be justice, fairness, and equity among other virtues capable of breeding national integration, peace, progress, unity and development. It therefore becomes doleful to see a supposed wise man climbing the endless trees of imprudence. This act becomes more destructive than constructive, battering the hope and fate of the masses.

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a lawyer and a supposed ethical leader, recently punctured the tube of national unity and integration for consciously letting loose the smoke of political sentiments and irredentism in a bid to remain the number two citizen of the most populous black nation without recourse to the wild effects of the directionless loosen smoke. Calling for knife to cut the much esteemed national unity is pathetic, regrettable and not-so-wise.

During his visit to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111 on December 22, 2018, Prof. invoked ethnic grains for the re-election of President Buhari in 2019 as an easy way to harvest a Yoruba Presidency in 2023. Gov. Rochas Okorocha and Boss Mustapha also joined the team on this table of deceit that wears national apparel. For the later, Buharis re-election will facilitate a harvest of Igbo Presidency in the same 2023. Who are they fooling? They are like the proverbial man described by Niyi Osundare that gave out his daughter to be married by one man but still takes yam and fish from the concubine. However, away from falsehood, shutting down national unity and integration to boost ethnicity is an evil tiptoeing to the gory experiences of the past.

Not more than a few people hold the opinion that there is nothing erroneous in invoking ethnic sentiments to retain political positions. Methinks that there is nothing more evil than invoking ethnic grains to win political positions especially in a multi-ethnic state like Nigeria where political marginalisation has become the ocean swam by some ethnic groups. Protection of the dignity of national unity and integration rather than giving the chop on same should form the central piece of political leadership in a multi-ethnic state.

Perhaps, both Gov. Rochas Okorocha and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo might have eyes on the presidency come 2023 but is that reason enough to remind us of the injuries inflicted by ethnic prejudice? Maybe they forgot that a nation at 58 is too old to toss on cradling laps of broken past, or that re-igniting the fire of history pierced by tribalism could pass as the most foolish adventure of any wise man in the tale of insecure hopes, or perhaps that their action is capable of steering a fierce battle for ethnic supremacy and sentiments, or re-awakening the fogs of political marginalisation among the politically bereaved ethnic groups. After eating the okra of selfish interests, there lies the lie to be eaten that Nigeria is but a united front. An ethical leader reaps no joy from the famine of national unity. Where such is dashed like melon on a harmattan twig, he consciously wets the grains and soil to enhance germination of national unity and integration.

As a nation, our fledgling dreams of better and united nation cannot be crushed by caterpillars of ethnic irredentism. We must let this smoke off and cleared by the seductive droplets of a dawn of national integration and peace.

We must shake our heads free off the folly of the pen and live in grains and herbs of national unity devoid of ethnic irredentism for the harvest of greater and united Nigeria. Enough of the bullets but still, we need no death with or without sword.
Let the pen remain wise.

DEATH BY THE PEN by Valentine Igbonekwu

December 30, 2018

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