Update from Qudus' blog

Aug 24, 2008

In the quest of our lost SOULS and HUMANITIES.

Its no more news to proclaim Nigeria to be a rich nation in all angle we look at it, population wise, mineral and resource wise, religious wise, even cultural wise, and any nation cultivated enough should undoubtedly see reasons to feed her soul and humanity, but regrettably, it is the material aspects of our wealth, rather than the philosophical, the moral or the aesthetic ones that seem to dominate our policy orientation and our developmental growth trends. Before I will be hung for generalising, and finally ending up in stereotypes, my analysis is fully based on the malfunctions of the typical Nigerian society, which is largely made up of Nigerians as the case may be, furthermore, I will try to avoid any quote or reference point in this note, so we can understand that it is solely based on my personal frustration and my intuition of my primary society, with which I need no further reading nor research to analyse. 


Nigeria knows quite well that she is not an AK-47 carrying machine nor a money making monster, a nation with series of religious revivals, yet unaware of her spirituality, her constant pursuit for wealth in which she is obviously blessed with, will not make any heed, if her soul and humanity is still under the bondage of her maladies. Tragically, this rat race in the pursuit of material and financial relevance emanates from the Nigerian society, a society in desperate search for its soul, in search for the very raison d’etre, which only the liberal arts can provide. As an individual I have understood that being an artiste is not about making a conventional living, on the contrary, it is about accepting to make an otherwise living that continuously feed your soul and humanity. Faith in the money making sectors, on the other hand, has become almost a secular-religion, as achievements in those fields have become ever more spectacular, not only for Nigeria, but such has been the make believe all Nigerians deal with, so everyday we hear phrases popping out from our televisions, radios and dailies, advertising or celebrating the success of the oil companies, the telecommunication giants, the business tycoons, the banking system that has become a very important strength for Nigeria's economy, and so on. 

But even with all this wealth, success and adverts, slogans and billboards we are bombarded with daily, why is it still a reality that Nigeria is the worst nation in terms of basic amenities for her citizen? why is it that the rich kept getting richer and the poor poorer? why is it that majority still look up for the April showers, while minority uses excess to wash automobiles? why is it that our catalogue of the national maladies, that has crept upon every Nigerian, still include the undesirable manifestations such as greed, dishonesty, impatience, discourtesy, vandalism, indecency, brutality, armed robbery, drunkenness, cultism, tribalism, selfishness, ostentation, indiscipline, corruption, insensitivity to filthy surroundings and many other identifiable ills, why is it that the average Nigerian keeps reciting “May God help us”, when he or she is being confronted with the “misappropriated” billions, stolen everyday by day in Nigeria. If I'm asked, I can't give a better answer than to state it clearly that, any nation or group of people that has come together, with an intention of trade considered only in terms of volume or profitability, I mean when the primary discourse of their coming together is based on “50-50” or other number sharing formula, from that very moment the soul of such encounter is temporarily placed on hold, while something else close to the monster side of a normal human being is in play. 

I for one, have not been one of those who clings religiously to the concept of art for art's sake, but I try to understand at what point we actually need to draw the line, at what point do we say to ourselves “ok guys lets take it easy, cos if we continue at this pace we might hit the wall”, I give priority to the business of art as much as I give to the making of art for art's sake, just as an individual, i will go to Mosque on a Friday afternoon and later proceed to the club at night. What I believe the arts and humanities can do for Nigeria, is to be in continuous search of the soul of this nation, the money making sectors can go on to take care of the material well-being and infrastructures. 

However, the average Nigerians has misplace their priorities and become the passive fellows, in a system where our pacing machine functions better when it malfunctions, fabricating a society where success is only defined by the attainment of popularity or financial profit. In this epoch, where the higher man is raised higher based on his level of consciousness and intellectual hierarchy, which in no way is determined by how much money he makes, and only the arts in a wide range and sciences can produce or feed our soul in attaining the height of such man, but this ranking of the higher man is not synonymous with that of the Nigerian society. In recent times, I have been continuously reminded that in order to counsel a Nigerian youth or convince anybody about the credibility of a particular profession, career or project, you are obliged to talk extensively about the possibilities of making money from it, and die rich afterwards, not minding what else you will do with the money after making it, otherwise your preaching is as good as flaunting naira notes in the air and your job is done, case closed. 

This mentality that celebrates vanity fair in all hierarchies, has become the major factor why an average Nigerian will prefer to sell his or her vote, sell their future in exchange for few Naira notes, while some will prefer to be the modest ones, who prefers to watch and just go their own way, then they all sit back and ones again recite “May God help us”, not insightfully minding the fact that we encounter several millions, I mean a thousand millions before we arrive at just one billion, and look around you today, how many millions can we feel close to us, but everyday we hear series of billions diffusing into the air, and all we can say is “May God help us”. While I was in high school, we were made to understand that God as kind and generous as He is, will never help those who don't help themselves, so passing an exam goes beyond kneeling, closing our eyes and saying "May God help us". This monsters ruling us, don't even know who the God we call everyday is, even if God Himself comes down in any form, this monsters are ready to play politics with Him, it has become a way of life for them, and in that way of life, the normal thing is what they are doing, so we perhaps have a need to remind them that they are suppose to be accountable to us, they are suppose to be a servant to our nation and not the citizens being a servant, to their dictatorship and nonchalant attitude towards our sufferings and plights, so i will however pray to God for strength to be able to move towards emancipation by force, before begging God is His infinite mercy to punish them and their coming generations they claim to steal all these money for.

In assisting Nigeria, as a Nation in the search for her soul, the moral and ethical crisis facing Nigeria has been well enunciated by successive governments. The ethical revolution drive, the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) Campaigns, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) thrust, the Oputa Panel, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). All portend a trend towards the search for Nigeria’s soul. But we all need to be aware of the fact that, all these are initiations of the soul-less wild animals themselves, setting up their circus show, and when they mistakenly place a soulful individual at the head of it, they sooner or later feel threatened, and since they are the fixers of the rules, it becomes so easy for them to break the rule, because they know that at the end of the day, we are going to sit back and say “May God help us”. This soul can only be reached through what i refer to as "Operation CCC", it could be synonymous to celestial church of christ, but its very far from it, this is a Collective Constructive Criticism, backed by activism, philosophy, performing/creative arts, history and culture.

Nigeria's heritage and the Nigerian's inner spirit is embedded in these Liberal art forms, the ability to understand and appreciate our beliefs and values, to apply them humanly in our daily lives, and to explore the human experience in all its richness. In assisting Nigeria, as a Nation in the search for her humanity, Art is value-laden and targeted towards the nurturing and shaping of human virtues and moral values, the human life is empty without these values and virtues. For through the arts we discover how people of talent have continuously veered towards making moral, spiritual, and intellectual sense of a world in which irrationality, despair, loneliness, and death are as conspicuous as birth, friendship, hope and reason. The travails of these talented and creative breeds, has been to reinstating our daily diminishing souls and humanities, stretch our imagination and enrich our experience, which will however increase our distinctive human potential. Through the arts we should learn to play, learn to BE and not always to HAVE, learn to make choices, learn to criticise, to discriminate between the meritorious and the meretricious, between good and evil, through them we determine which endeavors are worthy of our best efforts, and ultimately we learn to know ourselves, our humanity socially, culturally as well as individually.

11 comments:

  1. Deep.... so very deep, Qd.
    I don't know how long it would take and I am crossing everything cross-able in believing that we would find ourselves.

    However, the toughest strain of any disease or affliction is the one that develops resistance to treatment. It is astonishing how many 'freedom fighters' suddenly realise that "it is not easy" when they come into positions where they can make clear differences. They have been on the other side and know what to do and in refusing to do it, put salt and pepper onto injury wounds. It is as astonishing as it is unfortunate.

    What can I say? May God help us.... lol

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  2. QD...

    All I can say is.. This is deep.. I had to read this piece over and over to get a full grasp...
    Nice piece though...

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  3. Brother....U R Deep!!!I Salute U!

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  4. Very engaging...... As you talk no lie reach, people think I'm crazy to take on my present job instead of a bank offer just because of the vast difference in salary but what they don't know is that my soul is at rest and I'll probably joyfully and gladly do it pro bono because of this reason.

    At a point when money is not the determinant of your motives anymore, that point when your soul transcends the physical, that's when things work out for good regardless of the outcome. Some see only the half empty glass but all you see is the half full glass..now that takes Grace because it's not easy to get to that level and it has nothing to do witgh religion too

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  5. Nomoreloss DamusicianSaturday, November 08, 2008

    thoughts from a stream unpolluted with the bitter taste of the nigerian quest to just survive.....the man who came to take away the sins of the world was crucified by the ones he came to deliver...my people may perish out of lack of wisdom and understanding but can you blame them for waiting for signs and wonder? well...father forgive them for they know not what they do...

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  6. Atinuke Lawal SanusiSaturday, November 08, 2008

    Qd, there's no doubt about the fact that you are a motivational writer, infact i like the way you've used your artworks to buttress your points. The note is so long that i could not read to the end, but i got the message from the first two paragraphs, i must confess.
    What pains me most is the braindrain that has happened to our great country Nigeria, Nigeria has alot of good people like you in their differnt field in diaspora.... i will only urge you guys to come back, so we can get to the promise land together.

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  7. True what you say Qd, but now I believe that the introduction of ART into our daily lives to push forth change might be too late already, if we already are insensitive to the filth around us, the dirty surroundings we live in, how can we then be sensitive to the poignant beauty of art? Would we appreciate the the truthful scimitar of its message as it pierces our understanding and fabric of patched philosophies?

    We forget that the Israelites, the chosen tribe of God, always fought for their freedom from enslaving nations. They rose in a battle for justice and freedom and God was behind them.
    We have blinded ourselves with passive moralism, just as our faith has been crippled by false modesty.

    There must be a fight for freedom. A cleansing of the land. Funny as it may sound, I believe in the future, the nigerian flag will change colors. Easy come, easy go. If blood were shed in the beginning in a righteous fight for freedom, perhaps, things would have turned out differently. Maybe when there is a color red in our flag, a blood sacrifice unto the Heavens on which our freedom is built upon, maybe then will there be a positive change in this land. But for now, we remain a dream. Not yet together, not yet home.

    But all is for a purpose. Nigeria has the potentials of becoming THE world power, we have all it takes. As the saying goes, anything gotten easy would not be valued. We have endured hardship for decades, we will appreciate the sweet when it arrives, but first we must fight for it, that we may appreciate the peace that follows. But to live passively without passion even is an taboo before the heavens, for what is live that we cherish so much than freedom and justice? What is wealth that we value so much than integrity and righteousness?
    I feel you Muinat. And true Nomoreloss, our people do need signs and wonders, but not from the heavens, nor through spiritual crusades. The signs must be rise of justice and the wonders of the cleansing our land must go through

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  8. hush...Qd. all well said but could it be well done? reading through this piece remind me of a phenomenon in Ecology termed "SURVIVAL INSTINCT", by which an animal preserves itself from extinction. I think an average Nigerian has imbibed this attitude to life and that's one of the reasons we are so nonchalant to our immediate environment and why we keep singing the old song of "May God help us".
    @Tele; deploying the art as an arsenal of development may not be successful, as we are fast loosing our so called heritage and virtues that were once held in high esteem.
    @Muinat; choosing to make a difference always come with sacrifices that will surely pay off in years to come... i salute ur courage.

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  9. Qd well tot of,articulately written intellectually delivered and everyone's comment follows the same pattern.i ask this questions? How many of us know Mandela? Steve Biko? Martin Luther king? Che guevera? e.t.c they identified the ills/problems of their country and stood,stood against the system,tyranny,oppression.they were killed for it,jailed for it and God knows what.We all know these issues my dear brother(Qd) what we need now are solutions....now don't get me wrong if write-ups like this is the start of solutions i say "LET"S GO THERE" but when are we going to get to the next level.If u ask me when i say i don't know cos i rather join the rest of you to shout out my opinions in forums like this than be jailed,killed or God knows what and we don't have to wait for those who left to come back home and make a change if those of us wey dey home can't then big shame on us..... and yeah! "MAY GOD HELP US"

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  10. "This mentality that celebrates vanity fair in all hierarchies, has become the major factor why an average Nigerian will prefer to sell his or her vote, sell their future in exchange for few Naira notes..."

    Qudus, quite profound thoughts!
    The worst legacies IBB and co inflicted on Nigeria are the criminalization of governance, the democratization of corruption via Settlement and get-rich-quick mania, and the enthronement of institutional decay. We are yet to recover from that vanity fair and crass materialism which IBB and his civilian co-travellers inaugurated...So we have become a rogue country where a few citizens are richer than the State, and where they are rewarded with awards (including honorary doctorates) in broad day light for robbing their fellow citizens...
    Abeg, second base jare, as Fela would say.

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  11. ood piece...very good indeed but there was a feel of bias running through it. While liberal arts would bring prosperity to the soul and perhaps veer Nigeria as a whole towards the right direction, I dare say it alone will not help. There's more to what makes a robust living than the arts. In fact as someone who advocates for popular culture in certain quarters, I find it quite snobbish when suggestions of high arts are made in any sense at all.

    The Nigerian people need to go back to the drawing board. As long as the people continue to celebrate wealth whether legit or ill-gotten above all other values of life, then I'm sorry to say that the light at the end of the tunnel is far away indeed!

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