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How cheap is your pride? By Suleiman Gimba


How cheap is your pride and how cheap is your honor, your dignity, and future? I am not a proud man but I believe myself to be an honorable man and that honor is not for sale, not for any price and certainly not for a gift to turn myself against my sense of service to my community and the future we collectively dream of for our younger brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. And I am not a boastful man, otherwise, I would have found ways to wax lyrical about it and besides, this piece is not about how clean your life or mine is, it is about how clean we could be if we come together as one.
Let us not talk about my future or yours, let us talk about that of a greater number and how likely it is that my actions and yours could taint such a bright future, change its direction and leave it to wilt under the sun or a storm brought about by a rainy season it has been denied the chance to prepare for.
2019 is ‘less than a mile away’ and politicians are already taking advantage by, supposedly in good faith, sharing rice, other food items and millions of Naira to people that have not asked for them. Which is an attack against the very same people benefitting from the gifts. Why do you think they go about dashing money that is more than the salary they’ll make if they come into office? I will tell you why.
There is money to be stolen, fake contracts to be awarded and political posts for their friends and families (FaF). Yes, the very same FaF that are saddled with bringing the gifts from Abuja to you and I because “they care about us.”
Here is another thing you need to know, the politicians actually see this FaF as allies, formidable allies. Allies saddled with getting youths like you and me to sell our futures for a song, for stipends we would wake up tomorrow with little ability to even remember how we spent it. And because of this same people, we are seen as mere pawns on a very large Chessboard, dispensable pieces on their way to checkmating the other party and reaching a land promised to them but not to you and certainly not to me.
But that is not the worst part of things, they will give you stipends for buying ‘madaran manna’ (milk) poster but because of our own grassroots corruption, we will buy kunu (millet drink) and keep the change, thinking we are cheating them. Such despicable acts, along with the fear of being seen as hypocrites, make part of a million other reasons that would ensure our mouths remain shut when the leaders are sharing their loot with the same FaF that would move to the government house or mansions in the state capital, Kano or Abuja.

Don’t say good riddance yet because they will be back in 2023, 2027, 2031 with the same offer and we would still fall for them until a voice from among us shouts “enough is enough” and we all follow the voice, not to a promised land as the politicians would say but to where “destiny is calling us” like real brothers would say. Let that voice stand up and utter the words now, Oh God, I pray!
Coming together is not tantamount to unite behind one candidate, one saviour, Messiah or any fraudulent title politicians like to give themselves or our royal houses like to give to them. It is uniting the community, which is bigger than any Emir or Governor and most certainly bigger than you and I, we are merely grasses in the food chain, being eaten or shit upon at the will of creatures that George Orwell described as “the only animal(s) that consume(s) without producing”, he may have been referring to humans generally but the cap fits the leaders better.
We should listen to the cries of our community; understand the reasons before wiping the tears. Listen to its problems and make them yours and mine, compare it with that of other communities and provide solutions that may go down in history as the turning point in our lives. Heal its wounds, not with some sophisticated orthodox medicine but with a pinch of salt like our ancestors would do or watch from our luxurious houses, built with looted funds that may be a burden on us in the day of reckoning as the wound becomes incurable or worst, a plague that would wipe out the little sense of togetherness left in the community.
I don’t take pride in being a Bole (Bolewa) or that ancient history makes me an enemy of the Ngizm, I don’t see them as such and Allah knows. We are all human beings, breathing the same air and yielding the same fields. Most people tell me I look like an Igbo and it is true, the absence of tribal marks is making us realize that we may not speak the same language but we are all made up of “sacks of meat, blood, and bones keeping them together”.
I don’t take pride in being a Yobean and I don’t take pride in being a Nigerian not that I despise my tribe, state or nation or don’t appreciate history. No, it is simply because of something bigger. I take pride in being a human being, I take pride in my ability to think and act superbly and I take pride in my God-given freedom, that is why I worship him and that is why He guides me. These are futures we all uniquely share and we should let it bind us.
We are all intelligent beings living in the 21st century, let us not be deceived by gifts, they even feel too ashamed to give their dogs because of how little it is, to vote for them. Collect their gifts if you must but you should know that it does not in any way mean that you must vote for them.
Gimba is the Coordinator of Forward Yobe, Forward (FYF) and can be reached on +2348100000888.

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