Nuts &Screws: with Charly Boy
Steering into the past while reminiscing, I see my steady movement through the night. I remember the turbulent of the night. I recall the scare, the fright, and the panic of that dramatic moment of nightfall that characterised my movement towards realisation. Face to face with darkness, I strived to break out of the night. I tried to make the obstacle of darkness my stepping-stone. I stood to defend myself and others against men of the underworld that only see through the tiny pores of the night. I walked steadily with bruises on my feet and hands.
A heavy cross with thorns was placed on my shoulder to walk with in the night. Blood bathe is the suitable nomenclature for that satirical and ferocious night with piercing mouth. The beak of the night pierces through my skin like that carnivorous bird in the thick forest of Oguta. Walking like a lonely Londoner, I never saw a single soul crossing my path, yet I had a heavy load of basket on my head with people’s wahala. I walked through the silence and disturbing moment of the night.
The horror of the night was defined by ghosts and dangerous spirits with great evil intents against a self-imposed journey. I call it a self-imposed mission since I was not under duress on the trip I embarked upon. It was simply a historical and voluntary trip through the night in order to defeat my urge for pleasure. I prefer to walk through the night in order to accomplish my mission here on earth. Even though, the other side of the world has provided me with a perfect option of brighter days, I simply prefer to walk through the thick darkness of the night. My experience of the night is so hard to be recounted.
The storm, the scorching “sun” in the night, the heat, and owls of the night, ghosts, the cold, the apparition, and a host of other mischievous spirits of the night make the gist a difficult one. Recounting the story refreshes my memories like the page of an Internet browser. However, the darkness that enveloped my life, as I struggled through different paths in my selfless effort towards the restoration of sanity in the Nigerian system has become a big lesson to me. It simply explains to me that everyone must walk through the night before the day finally breaks for a new dawn.
No matter the success any individual must have recorded now, it will be difficult to deny the fact that he walked through the night, climbed some mountains, and walked through some terrified valleys even those close to death. But does it really matter today? After the storm comes the rain. The path through the night is what leads to success and greatness. It is simply not a path to disillusionment or pain. You take the path of darkness and night sometimes to fortify yourself against challenges. Now that I’m out of the night already and beaming smile stands on my face, I can always beat my chest and be willing to embark on the same journey through the night, so long as the end of the journey will become the beginning of a successful trip. Many are beginning to ask questions why government and organisation recognise my effort. They ask why every legitimate government seeks my face in the operation of humanitarian work. It is simply based on the ground that I had walked through night and darkness for the sake of this country and my recognition in the polity appears natural. Selfless services are long-term investments and, anyone who wishes to be kept in archives of national history must not shy away from national challenges and drawbacks.
The same challenges and drawbacks put them on their toes against unforeseen opposition. I went through all these challenges before I got my white shinny teeth displayed to the envy of many; but it’s not really my fault. I cannot easily alienate myself from the experience of the country. Each time I talk to you on this forum, I reflect on how I had walked hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder with this great country. You may wish to doubt my assertion, but being the son of Justice Chukwudifu Oputa has created that symbiotic relationship between my plights and the plights of the nation. I see myself passing through the same setback that the entire nation passed through.
My experience through the thick-darkness of the night can best be likened to the years of Nigeria through darkness. A glimpse into our political history will tell you that the controversy I went through in the dark years is quite similar to the nation’s controversy. While I was battling with my career crisis, the agreement and disagreement between my choice and the choice of my family, heavy fever gripped the nation as regards the success of its bloodless independence. Tension emerged between the North and the South over power control at independence.
This power struggle was imminent due to the federal structure that was created by those selfish and incompetent colonialists. The battle of the country since then has been the battle of how to break away from the colonial structure; isn’t it similar to my battle on how to break out of family restriction? It is of course; in this battle for self-independence and realization like my country Nigeria, I embarked on this terrible night journey.
It was such a terrible journey full of both positive and negative experience, but as it stands now, all disadvantages have been turned advantages. But is it the same with my dear country Nigeria? Wait a minute. We are heading to a place. When I began my endless tower, controversy emerged and people began to look at my effort as frivolous and unreasonable. But while I had my hands and my heart crossed, I continued my journey towards the peak of the tower that I envisioned through the night. This is equally not too different from the Nigeria we have been trying to build even in the midst of rot and corruption. The hope of the ordinary man was dashed at a point due to the messy state of things in the country.
My battle through the night cannot be totally separated from the Nigerian battle for integrity, transparency, and accountability within its public service. May I be banished from your world for asserting that the announced motive behind the 1966 coup led by Major Chukwuma Nzogwu was our yearning to “rid the country of irresponsible politicians, incompetent and corrupt bureaucrats and to restore decency and accountability to the Nigerian public service. Will I be wrong to say that Brigadier Sani Abacha and his equals claimed they were “duty-bound to seize power from the President Shagari’s government to save Nigeria from unbridled corruption, ineptitude, and extravagance that had characterized both the federal and state governments as at then?
Will I be wrong to say that General Abdulsalami Abubakar stepped into the shoes of Abacha to clear the mess and clear the road to democracy? Will I be making any sense to affirm that the June 12 presidential election was annulled to restore peace and create justice and equity in the land? It does not really matter the evil intents, but what matters most is that the election was annulled for the good of the people as claimed. I would rather not say that the Obasanjo administration was the beginning of an epoch for us because you will prefer to put my assertion to question; but what if I say that in a few years from now, Goodluck will get rid of some of the claws and jaws around him, and the light of luck will beckon on us?
The cloud of criticisms, security threats, economic backwardness and other anomalies that have confronted the Jonathan’s led government appear to me like a test of true leadership. I am beginning to believe that the storm is only a test, as the sun will soon shine across the land. We all are right in our observation on the state of things. However, we must also understand that every leader has his own battle and challenges, as we are all human.