How do we explain the avalanche of commendations that followed President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day? June 12, 1993 has evolved from an ordinary day in Nigeria’s political history to an extraordinary metaphor that throws up deep life lessons for the nation and for us as individuals. If we think deeply, we will catch dolphins of deep insights that can benefit us as we all pursue our dreams of greatness.
First, dreams can get shattered! One can have beautiful dreams and see those dreams get shattered. It does happen in life, but we must never be discouraged. We must keep dreaming. When one dream is shattered, dream a bigger one and keep your life on a fast lane. This advice makes more sense when the dreamer is still alive. Sadly, in the case of our beloved Bashorun M.K.O Abiola, he didn’t get the chance to dream again as he died and his dream of becoming the President of Nigeria died with him. Though he is long dead, he is honoured today as one of the martyrs of democracy in Nigeria.
Second, watch the seeds you are sowing. Another thing we can learn from June 12 annulment is that there was a disturbing harvest. I believe the annulment is a consequence of certain actions or inactions of our beloved M.K.O Abiola. But one thing is very clear that Bashorun M.K.O Abiola was loved and massively voted for across Nigeria. He was well-known for his philanthropic acts and appealed to almost every section of the country. Yet, the election was annulled! Could it be that a seed has been sown in the past that brought forth an unexpected harvest? Whatever the case, we all must be careful in all we do. All our actions (overt or covert) will count for/against us one day. Nothing escapes the gaze of the all-seeing and righteous Judge of the all earth. So, watch the seeds you are sowing.
Third, you can’t force things to happen. There are times we wish we can force things to happen our way, but it is not going to be possible. Bashorun M.K.O Abiola would have wished too. In life, we have lofty expectations, but we are sometimes faced with disappointments. We just have to accept that fact that there are things we can’t force to happen to us regardless of how much we try.
Four, life is vanity. When I recall the popularity and riches of Bashorun Abiola and wonders where he is now, it dawns on me that this life is vain. Life is truly meaningless without touching the lives of people positively. After all the struggles, sweats, tears and blisters, death comes calling and takes a man away from his dreams. Death spoils the fun of life. Life is vain. Do not build your life on vanities or trivialities. Accept Jesus Christ – the Way, the Truth and the Life – as your Lord and Saviour. Life becomes meaningful here on earth and in eternity when we turn to God with all our heart.
Five, money is not everything. At that time, he was Nigeria’s Dangote. Abiola was rich and had the power of reach. Money was not his problem, but his money could not stop the annulment of the election. Many of us think all our problems will be over when we have enough money to spend. Remember, some have money but do not have sound health. And when it comes to accomplishing our dreams, money is important, but it is never the most important thing to consider. Never make money your God. Rather, make God your source.
Six, you need the god-factor, not godfather. In all we do, let us not just seek God’s involvement; let us seek God’s commitment. We are advised in the Book of Proverbs to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. In all our ways, we are to acknowledge Him and he shall direct our steps. Seek God, not godfathers. Putting your trust in a mortal is fatal. If Abiola built his hopes on some godfathers, the godfathers definitely failed him. The government in power may not like your person, but if you have the Almighty God backing you up, your victory is sure. As you pursue your dreams of greatness, build your hopes on God, not on godfathers.
Seven, don’t announce yourself. I think it is wiser to allow people announce your arrival than for you to announce yourself. There is a honour that comes with it when somebody does your praise-singing than for you to do it yourself. Chief Abiola announced himself president since no official results were released. This landed him in confinement; he died eventually under mysterious circumstances. We can learn a life lesson from this, never to open our mouths to sing our achievements before people. Let the people see the evidences and do the praise singing. And even when people celebrate you, keep your head in its right proportion. Don’t let your head swell and push you into the well of tragedy.
Eight, is generosity in your genes? Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was one of the greatest philanthropists Nigeria ever had. He rendered help to the helpless, putting smiles on faces. I could almost say that he had generosity encoded in his genes. Generosity is a way of life we must embrace, looking for opportunities to be a blessing to people around us. While we cannot play the role of God in people’s lives by meeting all their diverse needs, we can certainly be of help. From buying food for someone hungry to paying the school fees of an indigent student to footing the huge hospital bills of an underprivileged person, philanthropy is a way to go!
Nine, not everyone wants you to succeed. Yes! Not everyone smiling at you wants you to succeed in life. There are people whose mission is to stop you from getting to the top and reaching your goals. So beware because those you consider your confidants may actually be your sworn enemies. The forces that stood in M.K.O Abiola’s way were not strangers to him. One would have expected them to support his dream to a logical conclusion. As you share your plans with people, watch out for friendly foes.
Ten, free and fair election is possible! A free and fair election is possible in this country. History has proved this in the 1993 elections. The recent election saga of the Nigerian Governors Forum does not inspire hope in our hearts as to the sincerity of our leaders even as 2015 elections is approaching fast. With a nationalistic brand like Chief Moshood Abiola, Nigerians would gladly vote and know that their votes will count. Nigerians would set aside their ethnic or religious sentiments and vote their choice into the seat of governance.
Eleven, a single utterance can put one behind the bars. Watch what you say. A mere utterance can get you into trouble especially if you are an opinion leader. Words are very powerful. Our beloved M.K.O Abiola made only one statement and the rest is history. It was a statement that led to his confinement. This is to warn those who take delight in making baseless threats or unguided comments. Even jokes must be told with every sense of caution. Yet, just one statement you make can lead you into fortune. Don’t let your tongue invite misfortune into your life.
Twelve, be a beacon of hope. Abiola was a pure symbol of hope. Aside from the hope that flowed from his acts of philanthropy, he built a brand that pumped courage into the bloodstreams of Nigerians.
Omisore writes from Lagos