It takes a lot to move from youthfulness to agedness; it takes even more to accept the challenges that come with accepting that we are aging.
You shouldn’t blame those who refuse to hold birthday parties in order to evade the constant reminder of another long added year. This year, Nigerian politics moved from panties to boxers.
Is the former president a hero? Yes he is. Throw your stones; I am a professional dodger. In the words of The New Man, “If you had attempted to make things difficult, you could have made things difficult and that would have been at the expense of the lives of poor Nigerians; but you chose the path of honour and may God help all of us…Your Excellency.” Yes, Your Excellency, a title befitting such a humble and peace-loving personality. He could have simply refused to let power go. And he did have a lot of people who would have gladly championed the violence.
I even hear there’s this big man across many rivers, short, dark, bald with lots of beards who said, “We are ready for war.” Maybe Gaddafi by now would be less popular, if ‘The Man’ had not chosen to simply let go.
The New Man said of The Man, “I hope this act of graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become the standard of political conduct in the country.”
I understand that many of us are of the opinion that The Man had done nothing, especially regarding security. Now, come, let us reason together; would anyone have done better with such a huge political machine gun shooting at his people and bombing them every other day? You must agree with me that there were many people underground who dedicated their lives to ruining The Man’s administration. Yes, I don’t have proof, but do not say you never imagined that these killers are political instruments; political instruments gone wild. We probe his refusal to grant the civilian ‘gun-bearers’ authority to go and play police and thief in that forest but we would have blamed him for the massacre of innocent civilians if anything went wrong.
There was a man that once lived, one I respect a lot till now. He was a winner but was proclaimed a loser. He said something before his head was tucked into a police van on the 12th of June many years ago. It resembled a don’t-stop-fighting speech. And this has left many with violent motives in our streets till date.
In contrast, the day came and The Man lost; he picked up a phone, called his opponent and said “Your Excellency, sir.” It was this day that the politics of Nigeria became a mature one, the type where we dismiss our personal vendettas for our people and our vision for the nation. For those who anticipated an interim government, you have just got played. The man had a lot to make right, but he made it all right in one breath and that call sealed the handover even before the ceremonial proceedings. A man is never a man until he has faced his biggest fears and honourably accepted the greatest of his defeats. I didn’t vote for him, but I respect him. “So, arise and welcome The Man that groomed our politics into maturity.”
Everyone stayed numb and still as these words were spoken by the Honourable Minister for Peoples’ Affairs. They stood and clapped in awe as he ushered The Man in to give his farewell speech.
Femi Arowoshola is an English studies undergraduate of the University of Lagos.