It was a youth camp in 2007, Port Harcourt; organized by the Commitee for the Protection of People’s Dignity, COPPED, a roommate had just launched his untamed frenzy. The strong emotion which accompanied his delivery of tirade, at first ludicrously charmed us into some laughter, until his eyes began to reveal the mist; he was not joking –it appeared! We noticed the waking vigor, his activating muscles, strong ropes of skinned veins connecting from his forehead down his chin and his voice began to increase the tempo. His eyes dramatically turned brown, and then, red.
He created a scene. In a cozy hotel, and the majority of us still feeling the cold reach of the air conditioner from a readily cold morning. His gingerly swaggers transmitted sufficient warmth into all the perimeters of the walls. Our folded arms began to lose their grips from the orbits of our armpits. We held our heads high just as our eyes glued rapt at how he harvested the anecdotes. As like the accelerating speed of a car just helped to start its engine by some push, we got charged and braced up as though we had arms to fight the ugly Methuselahs that had since refused to die for the young Josephs to live.
Chinedu relayed the mystery of how in 1978, General Olusegun Obasanjo (who was also the Civilian president in 2007 as we were holding that camping), advised young pupils on the Assembly ground in a school that they were the ‘Leaders of tomorrow’. Again in 2007, 29 years after, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was seen as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, advising a National Youth Audience that they are ‘Leaders of tomorrow’. The question that fought to escape hold from my lungs at that instance, which I suspected must have taken over the rest participants in that hall was ‘so, when is tomorrow?’, Since he was still to fight the cause of a third term bid, after several years he had ruled the Nation without direction.
Professor Wole Soyinka’s ‘The Lion and the Jewel’ came to the fore, a fiction which lent a ribald account of how an old hag, Baroka, used a sly to not only prevail on Lakunle in winning over the jewel, Sidi, but also on how he prevailed in using his shallow, traditional and uninformed ideas to influence the construction of road in the village of Ilujinle, which ended up with a poor result. It is a representation of how the old sticklers have under-developed Nigeria.
Ayi Kwei Armah’s ‘The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born’ may only have gone far in its mere literary sense of a worthy satire, but the old hags for whom the outlined anomalies in the literature were intended, failed to pick clues from it. They are adults, but they are ones who do not seem to understand parables and lessons sent through literatures –until they will have to be faced and forced with violent rejections. Ayi Kwei Armah only started the book with the pen, but we will have to finish it with action. The beautiful ones are now being born, but the ugly ones will have to die.
Professor Niyi Osundare’s poetry, ‘No Coffin No Grave’, a lampoon on how the body of an unscrupulous, autocratic ruler was given to the scavengers to feed on will soon be given a cinematic force here in Nigeria. Nigeria shall witness the mass burial of the old hags who have refused to quit the scenes – without coffins and without graves!
A party that boasts about its willingness to hang on to power in Nigeria for Two Hundred Years is only to achieve that on the machine of the young at heart’s, which to me in Yoruba language means; ‘adagba ma danu’. People that are apparently old, wrinkling and only expecting death to knock, come out again to compensate themselves about the sorrow ruminating on their unfulfilled ages by saying they are actually old, but that they are young-at-hearts. That concession ‘we are young at heart’ simply settles to acknowledge that they cannot hide their faces from the world to see how old they are but that they could still device how to further ruin the state with their archaic lifestyles and amass wealth at the expense of proper governance and real development in Nigeria.
An evaluation of the annals of how the PDP has expended its allocation of offices brings us to the table of their concept, business as usual’ for the young-at-hearts. It leaves the nation with the headache of wondering whether there are no real youths’ on the ground other than the ‘young-at-hearts’.
The PDP is notorious for negotiating and keeping Methuselahs in offices of youthful relevance. We were once bequeathed with the fate of having one Abdulrahman Gimba, a 63 year old man as Minister of Sports. Should the offices of responsibilities not for most of the times conform to the bio data and/or pedigrees as well as the ages of persons taking up specific jobs?
Beating other records hands-down during his time, former Petroleum minister Rilwanu Lukman, was already above 70 when he a was appointed Minister of Petroleum, after already enjoying from every administrations in the past.
His profile clips down as from being Minister of Mines, Power and Steel from 1984 to 1985 in the government of General Muhammadu Buhari. In 1986, he was appointed Federal Minister of Petroleum Resources, holding that position until February 1990. In that role, he was also Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs between January and September 1990. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Electric Power Authority (1993–1994).
From 1986, he served eight consecutive terms as OPEC president. Lukman was OPEC secretary general on 22 November 1994, holding office until the end of 2000.
When Olusegun Obasanjo came into office at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic, he still saw the old Lukman as he was, and appointed him as Special Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Matters to the President in June 1999, replacing Godwin Aret Adams, and Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Lukman resigned in November 2003.
While Rilwanu Lukman’s football-age was already going over 70 in December 2008, Lukman was again appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources, not because it was based on merit – for if it were on merit, it would mean that the world was devoid of other qualified persons – but to continue their gluttony and the share-me-as-agreed manifestoes.
Kitting from the PDP profile of fixing just any old faithful friend as exemplified above, the last PDP national convention gave me no shock, as the party announced a 60 year old Umar Garba its ‘new’ National Youth Leader. The pacific ideas to back it up is that the party is packed with people who are agreeably old, but young at hearts. Truly, if they were mature at hearts, they would learn inklings from the world’s trend of installing dynamic youngsters to sustain strong ideological foundations and to minister dynamisms that come with their statuses into establishments, both in government enterprises and businesses. Although it is clear that the PDP has no ideology that founded it, only the old stalwarts of the past military junta came together to run the nation dry. Since they have no dynamic ideas or genuine foundation upon which the party was built in the first place, it has therefore no lead assurance that installing young officers will maintain it – so they continued to take turns, until they will all die and leave. The party has no basic direction where it steers the wheel of the country, it had since a long time missed the paths, and trying by errors had brought no luck of hitting any success by coincidence. And yet, no effort is being made to retrace –hence, the choice to continue to rotate offices among their friends, turn-by-turn to eat up the resources in Nigeria without concrete objectives.
To the PDPP- led government, youths are only youths when they are needed as thugs, as body-guards, as personal drivers as spies and at best, as entertainers of the shameless old hags. When it is time for elections, the young-at-hearts contest and the babies in the crib’ are the rigging tools –since the babies have lost their senses.
This frolicking PDP caucus is only showing off that it is headless, directionless and out to waste. The party has no plan than that anyone who knows somebody that knows somebody will come fixed, and when the time comes, they all will die and leave posterity with the relics to pick up the pieces and begin again even as their peers abroad are already miles ahead in technology, economics and leadership. But we will not wait for them to die before we shall begin to make things happen. We shall use all opportunities within our arsenal, all powers and strengths that come with our youthfulness and if they must die before Nigeria can move forward, that shall happen snappily. It is no façade from their faces that they are too weak to pursue anything serious. Despite that they all adopt a ‘football age’ to play the game; it is still obvious they are not employable for the tasks they hijack. They are too close to returning to the dust, than playing active roles in shaping the nation’s destiny. If they claim to be young-at-hearts, it is abundantly obvious that they only have adult ages, but they have no wisdom suggested by their ages – awon adagba ma danu; the-young-at-hearts!