VIEWPOINT: THE VOICE OF NATURE By Lucky Onyema Egede
We often look back and wonder where the morality of Nigeria went. How did we miss it and at what point? Who is the beneficiary of a rotten society? Can the glory ever return? These and many more questions are begging for answers in the heart of every well-meaning Nigerian.
The Psalmist looked at nature and penned these lines in Psalm 19, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world”. To some, the Bible sure makes a lot of sense and for others it does not but whatever side of the divide, you chose to dwell, nature remains our best teacher. Nature Speaks without words and its voice is heard in every language.
Natural fact number one. A man reaps what he sows. Every rational man looks at what he would like to harvest and that informs what he chooses to plant. In my residential premises for example, I live in the part of the country where most people don’t wait for fruits to ripen naturally. Fruits are harvested prematurely and forced to ripen through various means including use of chemicals to hasten the ripening process. I have not gotten used to it because the culture where I grew up is a little different. I have therefore chosen to always have some space where I live, to grow a few plants that I know I enjoy their fruits. I have planted pawpaw among other plants in my residential compound. What a miracle it will be if I get to my pawpaw tree to find mango fruits on it? I am aware that all things are possible, but this possibility has never happened because it runs contrary to nature.
This is what baffles me about my country. Election is coming shortly. We have people praying for good governance. The natural process is that you get registered, and you vote for the candidate who has the character you will want those who lead you to have. We expect leaders to be people of impeccable character. When Nebuchadnezzar in the bible wanted to raise leaders, he was careful to outline the qualifications like this: “youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court”.
We see that nothing has changed. Leader must be young and full of strength and having no physical defect that can hamper the execution of the requirement of his office. Must not be old and shuttling foreign hospitals at the expense of his primary assignment of leading our country.
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Leader must show intelligence in every branch of wisdom. Know what is going on in other parts of the world. We are not seeking to reinvent the wheel. There is nothing we want Nigeria to be that other nations have not become. A leader should be wise enough to tell us with verifiable facts and figures how other nations achieved success and what he intends to do to take us to where we desire to be.
Leader must have discerning knowledge and be in a position to know when he is informed that ghost is stealing our oil. When oil disappear to the extent that we can’t meet our OPEC quota and our entire military can’t see the thief and there is a civilian who can see the thief and stop the oil theft. These reports are transparently false for a leader to see through, but we have today, leaders who do not have discerning knowledge. We need to elect people with proven track record of honesty in handling public funds for public good.
The fact of nature is that election is not different from any other type of sowing in nature. If we gather to elect thieves, we have planted and when our roads, schools, hospitals are stolen, we need not complain. If we on the other hand chose to stay away from the voting centers on the day of election, it is also a kind of sowing. We are only saying we are satisfied with any candidate that is chosen by others. As long as the earth remains, seed time and harvest time will not cease. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. What a man sows, that also shall he reap. A man that refuses to sow at seed time will suffer hunger in the time of harvest.
Natural fact number two. What you nurture will grow and multiply around you and what you do not tolerate will wither. Growing up in the farm was a very interesting experience. All year round, we were busy cultivating and nurturing what we want to harvest and eliminating what we do not want. The melon is a plant just like any other creeping plant on the farm. We planted beans, we had groundnut plants as well. In the farm, we weeded-off all the plants that we never wanted to avoid competition for nutrients with what was planted. All the plants we did not want withered as we cut them from the root. I recall how we used to pull up unwanted plants from their roots. This has nothing to do with any degree in agriculture, our illiterate parents were conversant with the voice of nature. They never needed any school to learn these lessons and it was carefully handed down to children.
When you see morality disappear from a nation, it did not happen overnight. We were busy planting and watering and nurturing corrupt persons in various compartments of our national life and celebrating people who had money without asking for the source of their wealth, we were nurturing the type of nation that we wanted. One thing I have seen is that everyone must look at the crop he is planting because it won’t yield anything different. You cheat to pass examination? You have planted a seed and you are nurturing a life of frustration because you can’t defend your certificate at interviews. When such a person is shouting, seven years no job, there are people that job still look for before they are out of school. The problem is not the country for those who enjoy complaining about Nigeria. Our country is only geographical space on planet earth just like any other country. Let us stop the shout of “this Nigeria self”. Nigeria did not birth itself and did not create any character we did not put in it. We need to sit back and introspect as a people. We have for too long celebrated in public life, what we abhor in our closets. Did you ever contemplate the possibility of a person saying, “God forbid”, when a Bishop prays that all your children will take the character of the person you want to vote for as President over your country? This happened to my chagrin in a recent video that went viral on social media.
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Natural fact number 3. The harvest will always be more than the seed. In all natural processes, the harvest will always be more than the seed sown. The story below from an unnamed author sums up how these things work.
The king promised to provide enough food to feed the entire village, however, he said he wouldn’t provide them with any wine. In order to strengthen their sense of community and foster togetherness, the king asked that the wine be provided by the villagers instead.
He put a very huge pot at the village square and asked that each household poured a keg of palm wine into the pot. If every household donated a keg, they should have enough wine to last them for the entire feast. On that appointed Eke market day, the villagers started trooping to the village square to donate their quota. Now, the king decided not to have this process supervised. He trusted his subjects to act accordingly. You only needed to declare your attendance after you must have poured your keg into the pot.
While this was going on, one man, Mazi Okoro, thought to himself, “If no one is supervising the donation of the palm wine, why do I need to donate at all?” He reckoned, “If everyone poured in a keg of palm wine and if I poured in a keg of water into the pot, no one would be any wiser, and my keg of water would be but a little dilution to the wine and it wouldn’t make any difference.” And so he did. He poured a keg of water into the pot instead of a keg of palm wine.
The days passed, trickled down until the feast day finally arrived. All was well at the feast until it was time to drink the wine. Lo and behold, it was only water! Because while Mazi Okoro thought his keg of water would go unnoticed since everyone else was pouring in palm wine, Mazi Okeke also thought the same. And so did Mazi Okafor, and Mazi Okonkwo, and the entire village.
So, in the end, they had to endure their pot of water throughout the entire feast.
Because who could they complain to? The king? He had nothing to do with it.
They themselves had brought this misfortune upon them. As elections draw closer, do not be like these villagers and assume that others are going to vote your preferred candidate even if you don’t vote.
In nature generally, you plant only one seed of orange to harvest several baskets of oranges for several years and the same goes for a grain of corn and every other thing in nature. The community had enough of feasting on their evil scheme.
Play away your four or five years in the university and you will endure a lifetime of grumbling and complaining that will last you fifty or more years after university. You will watch your classmates with better concentration on purpose take up the choice jobs while you take up a career at Chief Omoniyi Omonide and Sons with no letter of appointment or defined conditions of service. Sow five years of cultism, drug addiction and so on to harvest a lifetime of misery and regrets.
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says bible in Heb 3:4. Never in my short life with all my travel have I seen a house that came up on its own accord. It must have existed in the heart and mind of someone. The conceiver will determine whether it will be a residential, commercial, or industrial building. It is conceived to serve a purpose of housing a family or families or offices or industries as the case may be. The imagined use will be applied to determine the materials to be used in the construction, type of foundation and finishes and furnishings. It comes out as an edifice not by accident but as designed by the builder.
Every house, organization or nation is built by a people. It exists first in their heart and mind, and it is translated into reality, and many will wonder at it when it is made known. Whatever we see that did not exist first in the heart and mind of someone is called accident. Nothing good however is an accident. Accidents are not designed, not planned, not contemplated and often something to regret. No nation is an accident. We often say, “Rome was not built in a day”. That statement goes to tell the beauty of Rome. It is not an accident; it was planned, and the execution of that plan has been ongoing for centuries. In my not too recent visit to Rome, I saw houses that are over 700 years old and beside them are, city play grounds and green areas that have not been allocated to “big men” in violation of the city master plan. They have remained it that way for centuries.
I have noted with dismay, the speed with which people who are over thirty years old and who have never voted in any election in Nigeria, see Nigeria as bad and they are looking for greener pastures elsewhere. If the citizens of those countries abandoned their countries to charlatans, you sure won’t be going there. I liken this kind of solution to our problems to the man who moves into his neighbor’s house because the roof of his house leaks. He sure will not get all three bedrooms he enjoyed in his house; he will be a squatter and will soon enjoy the complaint of the children of his hosts. We have seen the treatment melted out to Nigerians in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa among others to teach us that there is nothing better than to just mend the roof of your house and stay within. If we have bad leaders, we chose them and we can change them.
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Natural fact number five, everything will produce its kind. Nature tells us that the lizard will never give birth to crocodile. We have a nation where the enlightened and clear minded people have abandoned politics and rulership to people who can’t see beyond the food on their tables and money in their pockets. There is no zeal to build anything, and their brains too shallow to understand the far-reaching implications of their actions. Why on earth for example will someone campaigning with the name of Obafemi Awolowo (the man who attained fame for his position in the pursuit of free and compulsory education for all) get into office and not care whether schools exist or not?
I recall at age 18, we were excited to line up for Unity Party of Nigeria under Chief Obafemi Awolowo for his promises of free and compulsory education, free health services, integrated rural development and rural electrification. He understood our needs and we were glad to follow him. We have no regret that we did.
Voting in elections has been abandoned for too long to thugs who have been built and armed by mischievous politicians and labelled ‘critical infrastructure for vote delivery’ to the detriment of us all. We have sat on the fence for too long. If we do nothing to take our place in the appointment and removal of political leaders, we will all end up as slaves in other nations because thugs will only produce thugs.
Arise Nigerians and hear as nature speaks clearly.
Lucky Onyema Egede is a Legal Practitioner. He lives in Lagos State, Nigeria