BY VICTORIA N. IKEANO
There is no shortage of topics for a columnist for things happen at rather high speed. One drama or the other keep on unfolding every day that it is sometimes difficult to keep pace with them. Thus, one has to be choosy on what to comment on, aware of the high responsibility one bears through the written word because of its reach and ‘permanence’ for words whether spoken or written cannot be retrieved once they fly out into the open. Moreover, one has to have a goal in writing, you cannot be commenting for commenting sake. Thus again, sometimes I ignore certain topics; this is not to say that I do not have an opinion on it but that one prefers to defer to the truism that ‘silence is golden’, preferring to watch in calmness as the events work themselves out. Yet another ‘constraining’ factor is that the basis for one’s commentary should be facts; you have to have sufficient facts and figures on the subject-matter. It is unethical to base your comments on rumours, speculations, innuendoes which pass for news reports simply because they are in printed form, in black and white – the staple of the now in vogue social media. It has to be credible report like reading first person quotes, hearing from the horses’ mouths. For me, the goal of writing commentaries is to enlighten, to heal, unify, not to antagonize, ridicule or undermine. In brief it is an endeavor to contribute one’s little quota towards a progressive society, a true humanity …
Among the trending stories is the Akpabio/Nunieh imbrioglio – current minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the immediate past managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC). This matter is of interest because it involves a woman. What picture does the name ‘woman’ conjure in us – a mother, nurturer, teacher. Woman by virtue of the innate qualities imbued in her by the Creator is supposed to play a leading role which she exercises not in an obtrusive, showy manner but silently, in silent working; from the hearth her influence reaches far and wide. Talkativeness should be anathema to a woman as it blurts her finer gifts. If a man steps into a gathering where there is a genuine woman, one who strives for purity in thoughts and deeds, he will unconsciously without any exchange of words, smarten himself and endeavor to comport himself aright, respectfully. Genuine women are relatively few and far between in these times for, most of us women have battered our God-given talents and exchanged it on the altar of false earthly ambitions, for vanity, conceit, coquetry and the like, dragging men consequently, to low levels of behaviour in all ramifications. Still, a true man should respect a woman in the true sense of the word. He who cannot respect a woman as such has lost his true humanity. The argument that the woman or women should bear the greater responsibility/ guilt for this does not excuse it.
Thence, the recent outbursts on television between aforementioned persons, two full blooded, physically mature adults by way of what they said of each other is unbecoming. Indeed, you can glimpse the inner worth of people from their speech – what they say and like talking about most. Since the National Assembly had constituted a panel to probe the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) they should have held their breadth and wait until they appear before the panel to unbundle their thoughts sans the private aspects of their lives as it has no bearing on their job performance. Perhaps the only people who delight in such intimate private stories et al are social media enthusiasts/bloggers with their legions of followers, an indication of our baseness generally.
And since President Mohammadu Buhari himself has ordered a forensic audit of NDDC activities will anything come out of the National Assembly’s probe? I mean the Executive is likely to implement recommendations of its own instituted audit than those of the Legislature which is not binding on it anyway. Anger it is said, is temporary madness. We should all endeavor to control our temperament and not say or do things out of anger. When tempers have cooled down in the coming weeks and the duo of Godswill Akpabio and Joi Nunieh have reflected deeply on it all, could they call each other and apologise for whatever wrong each has caused the other? They should also both accept the outcome of the probe, audit with philosophical equanimity.
Also trending, is the passing on of 24-year-old Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female helicopter combat pilot. According to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) inquiry, Tolulope was inadvertently knocked down by a classmate who on noticing her when he drove past, knocked her down while reversing to go greet her. She died from injuries sustained therefrom, the report says. Ever since this story broke out, countless number of persons of all classes – male and female, young and old, low, middle, high income earners, sophisticated and ordinary persons, literate and illiterate – have been concocting all sorts of stories and conspiracy theories beneath which is sentimentality and hatred. Social media has gone haywire with ‘what might’ and ‘what might not’, even the conservative media had joined in the speculations, there were some curses in the comments section while the person who caused the accident, the ‘’murderer’’ was cast as a devil incarnate. In all of these, there was/is little thought for the one who has passed on or the loved ones she left behind.
Most of us profess to be religious or rather that we believe in GOD, yet we act in ways that show we have no idea of His Workings in Creation, talk less of understanding Him. We speak of destiny, fate, yet we have no grasp of these words and their true meanings. We quote from the Scripture, “In everything give thanks”, yet we do not reflect deeply on the real essence of this sentence. In brief we lack conviction, only doing things as they suit us, not as they should please the Almighty. ‘He/She who makes no effort to grasp the Word of the Lord aright burdens himself/herself with guilt’. In every happening lies the Justice and Love of the Almighty Creator.
All the sentiments we have been spewing in the past week over the young, combat helicopter pilot’s death only heap more psychological and emotional pains on her grieving family. The person who caused it will probably be charged for manslaughter. We should not make things harder for all those connected with this incident and their families. We should send our genuine prayers to them instead. I urge Tolulope’s family to forgive the driver of the car that killed their daughter for only thus can the spirit be unburdened and the pain lessened. My loving thoughts and prayers go the departed and her family. May all those connected with this matter directly and indirectly, be imbued with the strength to pass through these trying times. Amen.