Riddle me this, riddle me that, what smells like a rat, looks like a rat, acts like one and moves like one…but is not a rat? ..Give up? The answer is (drumroll please) …A Presidential pardon.  There is a feeling akin to all men (homo-sapiens, not being gender specific here) it’s a visceral conviction, based on instinct and lacking fact. It plagues us with persistence and makes friends with anxiety, befriending caution, it questions trust but heed not to reason, simply put – a gut feeling. We over time have learnt the futility of pursuing the ESP path; we left the shenanigans to the likes of Criss Angel and our very own Prof Pella (RIP). Regardless of the futility we still entertained this illogical notion, especially when there is poppycock amiss, you know, it’s the feeling you got when the Pope resigned office, the same feeling you got when Ribadu was sent to Kuru, it’s kind of like how you initially reacted to Hercules plane crash of 1998, or something kindred to fuel subsidy removal on new year’s day. It is something we know too well, the feeling that all is not as is and though lacking a shred of fact, suggest strongly to be the truth.

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”-  Chinua Achebe.  He described how imposed Western values led to social and psychological disorientation of traditional African society ‘Things Fall Apart’ (1959). b.1930)


It’s an awkward time, Pope lunching with Pope, a black man in the middle of Israel and Palestine, Tonto Dike in the music industry and aero on strike.  Things have indeed fallen apart (RIP Chinua Achebe) and the center cannot hold, for how be it that chaos is a prerequisite to calm and darkness to light (…and darkness was upon the face of the deep, then the Lord said let there be light) in other words conflict is akin to life and balance is vital. The awareness of this phenomenon acts as a guide as to the inner workings of the mankind, for embedded in our constitution is a need for contrast. Our very existence is riddled with contradictions, in which I expressly refer to as hypocrisy, we have the option to bear it all in a fashion that allows honestly, transparency and truth herald above all, but we chose to hide behind dogma – A people known for their rigid demeanour as regards promiscuity, a people that export entertainment in film, rich in music and dance, with predominant themes of love and passion ironically embrace rape as a pastime.

We have grown from a third world country to a developing economy, with tourism striving and security (kidnapping, militancy and outright terrorism) hindering foreign interest. In this state of ‘chaos’ (anticipating illumination) we endeavour to be tourist in a desert, and encourage our friends and family members to do the same and felicitate with us as we unite in holy matrimony (in a contrasting religious country) and make special moments, iheneme! Meanwhile isn’t Calabar the tourism capital of Nigeria and aren’t their neighbours Awka-Ibom? That feeling again, the one that plagues us with nagging thought of visceral truth but is dismissed by our societal creed – nothing dey happen.

Few have heeded to that inner truth, regardless of the consequence, few have in the face of promotion stated they actually peddled anothers idea to gain that appraisal. Few have turned down political appointments in lieu of contrasting views; few have declined a National Merit Award due to dissatisfaction from the ‘National’ aspect of things. This inner truth as I call it is the basis for our illumination, for in the light comes truth. How can we claim to know God if we haven’t danced with the devil, how can we truly know wealth if we haven’t courted poverty? So fellow Nigerians love not our neighbour as yourself, endeavour to oppress and inconvenience him with that continuous irritating fume dispensing device commonly called…yes you guessed it – I better pass my neighbour!

We all watched in dismay as they searched for WMD’s in Iraq and found dust, we saw how Turia ran the nation for months concealing her husband’s demise, and we all witnessed with awe the annulment of an election that was conclusive in 93. We felt it, that ‘this can’t be right’ feeling, when the vice was hindered to act as the head, but did nothing, and when nothingness was mundane we chose to forget. Now there is pardon for convicted treasonist, cross-dressers and otherwise enemies of the state, still we watch and occupy not!

Riddle me this, riddle me that, what has no shoes, no guts and is married to a fruitless cause, well good luck guessing the answer to that.


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