Nigeria: In Search of True Love

[Article by Ayokunle Adeleye]

I woke up this morning to a tearful irrigation of my face. It is my
birthday today and I woke up rather early, and cried. I cried like the
baby I no longer was, in the eyes of the world; I cried like the baby
I had become, in the eyes of my Love. I wept uncontrollably, for love
had found me; I wept uncontrollably for I was in love. They were tears
of joy: true love really existed. You most likely won’t understand my
tears until you understand my years, years of loneliness and
lovelornness, years of mortal thirst in the quest for immortal love.
Let me therefore grant you a peek into my world.

Back in the Days!
“Back in the days
They never used to come
But now when they see us
They run, run, run”

Back in the days
Of dressings stereotyped
When all that he wore
Was striped on striped

Back in the days
The soles of his shoes were pitted
Ignored and jested
He longed for shirts fitted

His Dream looked down on Dreamer
For even his ties could spook
And with hairline recession plus elf ears
Last thing he needed was the look of a rook!

His trousers wrinkled at the waist
For Mother bought them big
Big, and so were his pinnae
If the barber came too low, he’d need a wig

But like Sound Sultan said
Those were “back in the days”
Now he wears fitted designers
And can’t seem NOT to daze!

Enough about me and my past obsession with love. Behold my country
Nigeria and its present depression from love, the lack of it,
actually. She is oppressed, and her citizens bullied, by the very ones
sworn by her to love and cherish. Enough!

A great man was once asked about the greatest of deeds. His response?
Love. Love of the Creator. And love of the other creatures. A
corollary of the latter is service, that even masters must serve their
servants, and leaders, their followers. And as if that was not enough
an illustration, he washed his disciples’ feet. Undoubtedly, only a
few can do so today; apparently, only a handful of our leaders can.
You see, the prominent thing they seek is prominence. Baffling it is
that the people we vote to serve our collective fatherland and us care
more for themselves than they do for us. How soon they could get on
their knees in mock worship is dazzling. They love us not; to them, we
are just a means to an end: victory at the polls.

A couple of issues stir in my befuddled mind. Do they play monkey with
us because they think we are monkeys or because they perceive we are
monkeys? The Yoruba have a saying, He who wants to catch a monkey must
(first) act like one. Are we then monkeys in that we are readily
deceived by their banana-offering of fake amenability and mock
conformity? Perhaps we are the cause of the evil we endure for no
sooner had we voted them in than their much admired foreign chivalry
vanishes like our much loved fuel price subsidy. And whatever is left
of the former, like what is now left of the latter, is merely to quell
our barely acknowledged opposition to the trickery of our elected

Here’s an example for you. During the campaigns, they tell us how much
they are like us, without godfathers, bereft of silver spoons, and how
they only intend to serve us if elected. But there’s usually more to
the story. Left untold is that they can barely wait to no longer be
like us, that they crave so much the silver spoons they do not have,
that their godfathers are yet in hiding for only a foolish hunter
startles game yet uncaught. We are the monkeys, they are the hunters;
they act like us to catch us.

Estimates abound of how much more expensive the government of Nigeria
is than the people of Nigeria. Of how our President earns much more
than that of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany,
Switzerland, China or Japan; yet our economy is nowhere near that of
those countries in worth or in stamina, it is however unrivalled in
deficit. Of how Nigeria has more ministers than the United States, yet
Nigeria is only half the size of the state of Alaska! Of the
discrepancies in the official positions of agencies of the Nigerian
government on how much fuel its people consume, yet our ill-calculated
fuel subsidy is halfway dead, its debilitated life snuffed out by our
so-called rulers.

Rulers. “Flat narrow pieces of plastic, metal, etc. with straight
edges, that you use for measuring things or drawing straight lines.”
Alas, short rulers that they are, poverty cannot be measured with
them, nor can un-education; yet they are too crooked to rule straight
lines. Isn’t it then safe to say that these rulers are useless?

Legislature. The Nigerian Senator earns two and half times more than
the President of the United States, yet there are nine dozens and one
extra of these rulers. The member of the Nigerian House of
Representatives earns twice as much as President Obama, yet there are
as many of them as the degrees at a point. Little wonder then why they
find it difficult to snip their bulging allowances yet easy to slash
our bogus subsidies. The legislator’s one trillion naira is
sacrosanct, yet the masses’ one trillion is sacrificial. So much for
love! They are lawmakers, yet love is the fulfilment of the law!

Judiciary. One is forced to wonder what happened to the conscience of
Nigerian leaders. They are sworn to be just, yet, as Mahatma Gandhi
observed, the court of conscience is greater than the court of
justice. How then can one conscientiously fight corruption whose
sustenance, take-home pay, is itself corrupt? How can Nigeria be loved
in truth when our unity against the unfair withdrawal of our fuel
subsidies was quelled, hushed by a militant President and shushed by
his military?

In the year 1978, Mr Ben Odiase, then Director of Music, Nigeria
Police Band, wrote what was adopted in October of the same year as our
National Anthem. The second and last stanza read,
O God of creation, direct our noble course
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace
And justice shall reign.

Justice. The court of conscience is greater than the court of justice.
Yet, it is not a good conscience which is devoid of love. Love your
neighbour as yourself; our leaders in all arms of government must love
us their neighbours, their responsibilities, for “not until the power
of love becomes stronger than the love of power will Nigeria ever know
peace.” Abiodun Okunola, Letter from My Grave. Nigeria is indeed in
search of true love. One only hopes she finds it—like I found mine,
but much sooner.

I remain yours, Ayk Midas Afowoolukoyasire, fellow Nigerian, author,
poet and student of The FOUR Generations: Why You Do the Things YOU
Do! from AuthorHouse UK Publishers and University Press Plc., Ibadan,
urging, they can’t kill us all for they won’t dare govern themselves
(they are not just civilised enough, you know).


Ayokunle Adeleye currently lives in Sagamu, Nigeria. His recent book, The Four Generations, is currently available for purchase on