Written By Michael Odigbe
MANY years ago, while my cousin Mejo Ogiator was taking me around Jattu in Uzairue clan of Etsako West, I saw a car driving past us. On its driver’s door was the bold inscription: SUCH IS LIFE. As a fresher from the North still cuddling my teens, I didn’t understand its importance. So I turned to him for an answer.
He smiled and then explained to me: “People used to laugh at the owner of the car. Because he was very poor, he worked at Auchi as a clerk. On certain days, he couldn’t afford transport fare to work. “He had therefore trekked the distance of about 4 kilometres to work and back”.
My cousin continued: “One day, this man arrived late for work and was sacked. Thereafter he borrowed money and began a small provision store. Not long after he hit gold. Now, he has a personal car and a lorry he uses for transport business. Because of his experience in life that is why he has the inscription “SUCH IS LIFE on his car”.
When my cousin told me the story of this man’s life I didn’t quite understand the full ramifications of his explanation. However, with the gift of graying adult life today, I now do. Yes, life is an unfathomable journey of trills, thrills, twists, turns and mysteries.
The 2015 Election
For instance, see life’s colourful dramaturgy in the recent 2015 general election. The PDP lost the presidential election of March 28, 2015 to the APC. Yet, the PDP had always boasted from Mount Kilmanjaro that it would rule Nigeria for 60 years!! But it was only in power monumental defeat. Such is life.
Invariably, what played out was that life operated the platform of the snake-and-ladder ludo game. It leveraged the APC with a ladder which APC used to climb to presidential success despite its lean resources. On the contrary, life gave a diabolical serpent gift to the richer PDP. The cruel creature bit PDP on top of its Iroko tree of incumbency making it cascading down to the ground zero of defeat. Too true, life here showed its dynamic adherence to the dualism principle of our world order in which there are always opposites of mobile winners and losers; darkness and light; reformers and radical change agents; men and women; short and tall people; as well as God-fearing people and anti-Christ’s in suffocating abundance. It is no wondered Heraclitus philosophized that the only permanent thing in life is change. Everything is in a state of flux.
Also, our experiences in life reveal that fortunes and misfortunes are not only unpredictable; their chemistry is not subject to human hypothesis. Imagine, the Senate President David Mark celebrated his victory during the national assembly election. This was because he would be returning to the senate for a record five times. Furthermore, he expected that in the 8th national assembly, he would retain his exalted office as senate president.
But life has turned the tables. On June 6, 2015 when the new senate is convened, he would be an ordinary floor member with his eyes only on a no-too-plum office of committee chairman in the upper house. Why? It is because the sane APC ruling party in power will never think of giving him a core role in the new senate. To the party, he is a viral PDP mole in the house. No strategist worth his salt will accommodate an untrusted opponent, let alone an enemy in his action plan no matter his spiritual disposition.
IGP Arase in, Abba out
About 10 months ago, a nondescript police officer Suleiman Abba was appointed as the Inspector-General of Police contrary to geopolitical and professional norms as well as values. Solomon Arase ought to have got the job. Firstly, we know that in line with our disingenuous tradition, we balance federal appointments in Nigeria. Therefore, since the immediate past IGP –Mohammed Dahiru Yusuf –was from the North, we expected the presidency to assign a qualified Southerner to the vacant office. Secondly, the data base of the police service commission showed clearly that a Southerner Solomon Arase with two masters degrees and an unblemished service was the most credible candidate for the job of IGP.
Nevertheless, the PDP and the presidency offered the job to Suleiman Abba, a political police officer whom they reasoned would do their biddings before, during and after the 2015 general election. Yet, he is a junior officer to Solomon Arase. He joined the police force in 1981, while Arase did in 1984. Such is life in its dirty clumsiness!!
Well, life also has a super organic compensatory, mystery formula against human injustice. Hence, today, Abba is out. His godfathers at Aso Rock gave him the booth on April 21, 2015 despite all he did to please them. Arase was then appointed to replace him by the same Aso Rock that sidelined him. Indeed, “cow when no get tail na God day drive fly from am. God no day sleep-oo,” according to Rockafil music maestro Nico Mbarga.
The lesson of life learnt from Arase’s story is that no mortal on earth has been able to formulate life’s calculus of rewards since no mortal has precise information on the quantum factorial effects of timing, space, luck and providential divine interventions in the equation of success.
Also, a moral lesson life has taught us about the Abba/Arase experience is this. No matter the exponential value of lies told by man to dis-configure a man’s career rise, they eventually end up in nothingness. Afterall, even pythagorus, the great mathematician, in his lifetime could not adduce that lies can add up to truth. Neither have Isaac Newton, Archimedes and Albert Einstein; as well as celebral philosophers like Socrates, plato and Aristotle been able to do so. A lie is a lie. Quad erat demonstradum.
Never give up
Archbishop Benson Idahosa’s last sermon on earth was based on never “giving up in life.” He dramatized this advice with the story of the patent owner of 7-up. He tried six times to develop the soft drink but failed to do so six times. It was at the seventh trial that he succeeded. That is why, according to Archbishop Benson Idahosa, the man named the soft drink 7-up. Had he stopped trying at the sixth attempt probably there would be no 7-up today.
Similarly, Buhari never gave up aspiring to be president of Nigeria after failing to achieve his goal thrice. And, so, in 2015 he gave the slot his fourth shot. Alas, the rest is history. He won the presidential election with a technical knockout of the PDP. That is life for you. If you give up to its bare-knuckle challenges and quit its long distance race, you would end up a loser. Quitters never win, so they say.
I must not forget to add here that life equally comes with unfathomable absurdities. Here are two of them. Firstly, Oscar Pistoris, the South African disabled athlete, killed his girlfriend Reeva Steen-kemp on February 14, 2013- that is on Valentine/Lover’s Day. Isn’t this absurd?
Secondly, in a no-holds interview in The Nation of September 7, 2013 Chief Christie Momah told readers that at 21 in 1968 she ignored all family and friends’ counsel to marry a “common” Biafran soldier, Sam Momah. In the end, it turned out that her instincts and intuition guided her well. Her marriage became a roaring success. Her husband later became Gen. Sam Momah in the Nigerian Army, one-time Anambra military administrator and our former minister of science and technology. He didn’t die in the Nigeria/Biafran civil was as predicted by his in- laws. Infact, he is still a alive today.
Yes, SUCH IS LIFE.
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