In the best of times
In the best of times
By Theo Adebowale
It is the worst of times as bills pile up and no hope for meeting up. And children are all over the place on holiday chattering, quarrelling, scampering, scattering, jumping, swinging, singing, wrangling bothering not that somebody is brooding. For the man with the pain in the feet, who would rather listen to local diagonists than go for medical diagonistics, procure cheap relief, on a pleasurable ride to suicide, it is the worst of times. The very worst of times for them who have always hoped for a sane society where justice is popular, desired, and freely dispensed. So it is for those whose loved ones are sick, hurting, suffering, dying and victims of kidnap, rape, plundered farms and villages, inmates of IDPS (Internally Displaced Persons) camps. But to another class, it is the best of times. Playwrights, artists in general, can find now not only the best of times, but best for innovation, incubation and procreation. Academicians in transition, on sabbatical, from regular to ‘properly called’ institutions are also in the best of times. There is so much for transmission from the place of sojourn to the home country, like indigenes of UI, they would have much to tell, when they return to their place of abode, where they are nationals.
It is the best of times for politicians whose names have been forwarded to the Parliament for clearance for ministerial appointment, those that have taken a bow and those that would soon be given a nod. Playwrights and all artists have a special opportunity to employ their skills, display their talents, improve on their ability to recreate and improve their world. Unionists can even learn new methods even in the absurd by which some get things done. In the ivory tower, there are new approaches for support, for endorsement, for refreshing and it is not even out of place, for coercion to congratulate. Discoveries all over the world, wait a moment, even to grant a space for crooked records to be straightened, and the indicted to be sanitized. In the best of times. The ‘miracle working God’ can visit records to ensure that those gazzetted for exclusion from official responsibilities of privileged quality may be bestowed with statutory authority to determine the affairs of men, and policy making of producing men and women certified in learning and character for leadership. For those having a good laugh, it is the best of times.
They have a laugh as they drive against traffic holding the steering with the left hand, and punching the phone with fingers on the right as those who enforce traffic laws scout for those that may not fasten the seat belt, to book, to fine. When it is the best of times, even the serpent cannot bring prosperity to the efforts of blackmailers. Because the Parliament is not located in the Garden of Eden, nor populated with Adam and Eve, the fruit of its labour can only be shamed. Termites may conspire with soldier ants, if they please, no weapon fashioned against good works shall prosper, every tongue that rises against the progressive movement shall be condemned, simply because it is the best of times. Trouble makers can be assured that because there is a trouble shooter in the house, we are more than the conqueror!
Sometimes it is easier for those in authority to spot the difference between the best and the worst. IPOB and IMN understood, perhaps still understand what it means to dwell in the worst of times. The untutored may not even discern the semblance in the operations and objectives of both organisations, but it is clear to them that it is horrible to dwell in the worst of times. Over here, we are told that it was the best of times for yahoo boys and that while it lasted, they enjoyed the life of ‘their head’. Their drinks were served in coffin and the bill was in terms of thousands. Okada riders were engaged for service for meals and other errands. They attracted attention of all the babes in town. They displaced tenants by offering to pay higher rent, exotic cars were freely available to them, and to them. Can you compare them to those on the other end, who split a bottle of beer, even a tot of local whisky? Though for them business may have gone under, they know what the best of times look like.
When the best of times got to Ipaho, a village off Nigerian road network, indigenes and residents were said to have dedicated a day for the celebration of the best of times. They got a uniform, engaged musicians, composed an anthem and designed a dance step. They sang: Won ti gbe kilekile de’paho, ohun rere soju emi wa ni ‘Paho o.
Wherever there is sinking into distress, or depression for an individual or a corporate body, it helps to have a switch over. It happened in Ondo State a couple of days ago, we were told. Those who seem to have been excluded in the scheme of things, not represented in resource control, had an opportunity to reel in the best of times. Simple hearted men and women that have enjoyed extra-legal benefits to advance in career, to have carted benefit in cash were celebrating with their benefactor who made a way where there is no way, he triumphed where provisions grant no way. A first class material and project executor. Here is a man well loved by his kinsmen for creating something where there is nothing which they would reward by offering him human shield physically and emotionally. In the mood of celebration, they were carried away. One of them looked and saw a man ‘out the box’. He queried if it was out of place for that to join the trail and hail the man that has principally invested into making this for them, the best of times.
It is incumbent on all who dwell in the prevailing socioeconomic circumstance that we may not be helpless after all. Whereas they think it is only the men and women of the moment that are having the best of times, they too can stroll out of the worst of times. For little do they know that men and women of substance often run into temptation as they employ a very substantial parts of their time and energy plotting against another seeking to outdo and undo another. It is those who dwell in the permanent place of the pun, that have undertaken to be indigenes of their own obscurity. It is better to migrate to the temple of praise singers, to feed their eyes, calm their nerves.
Remember Father General? He went to meet the Resident Pastor to announce the birth of a new child, and invite him for christening. The pastor asked him: Are you born again? Debo answered after a bit of hesitation; I am partially born again. Then, the man of God was confused even though he would have preferred to be furious, if not for the call of God in his life. He fired at Debo, is it possible to be partially born again? Did you see anyone at the labour ward who partially gave birth to a child? The partially born again remained mute. It was after the christening that we saw those that were not getting ready to be born at all coming to celebrate with us that it dawned on me that efforts must be made to get men and women to be born again.
IPOB and IMN members we understand are grumbling how and why Myetti Allah or the herders men are not proscribed? They want to know whether kidnap, rape, ransom taking, plunder of farm and settlements are not terrorist activities. Do they want me to start demanding that herdsmen be declared terrorists? Knowing the security architecture of Nigeria is constituted at the moment, you would not expect me to join or help them to consider such a question. Because this is the best of times.
Meanwhile, help me to pass this message to Mary, but do not tell her where I am!