By Alozie Ogbonna
PREHISTORICALLY, the Igbos, of which I am one, have a way of doing things based on their culture and belief systems. It is not strange that when a father encounters a prodigious child, especially the extra inquisitive ones, he may be pushed to coin words or raise imaginative constructs to keep the child at bay.
Fantasies about darkness are completely manâ€™s creation. Ghosts are really ghosts as no man alive has seen a ghost in the broad day light.
A mad man is easily seen and avoided. Some rage and rant, others howl and sing like drunken pirates, terrorising a neighbourhood.Â Whole streets are avoided when there is a certified madman around. It is like the wind, you do not need a weathercock to point to the direction of the wind. The swaying trees, windblown objects, loosely hanging laundry are tenable pointers.
The Igbos too, notice that their other subtle, unstable personalities and in their kindness and communality of not throwing away the baby with the bath water, they come strictly short of pronouncing the person as mad.
Consequently, sobriquets are employed to mellow down the harshness the word â€˜madmanâ€™ would have connoted. An Agwu–a man not so stable and not completely mad could jokingly be called or termed a madmanâ€™s cousin.
In our society today such people are tolerated, allowed membership in age grade groups and public gatherings. They are handled like drunken soldiers in china shops.
In later studies in psychology, we discover that such people are redeemable if properly diagnosed. The Western and advanced countries have so many of these and can predict and control their behaviour. Family members and friends urge and persuade such people to see a specialist who appropriately will diagnose their problems as depression or related states like paranoia. These non-surgical therapists are called psychologists and nicknamed headshrinkers. More serious cases will involve the psychiatrist. We need such services as many of such abound with us today.
The recent attack and uninformed assessment by Chief BenjiÂ Apugo on Dr T A Orji smacks of nothing else but a wild gabble by a depressed man. The issues he raised are completely non-issues, his assessment baseless, the comments pedestrian, and can only come from a near demented whose tantrums are predictable.
His utterances and ragtag assembly remind me of the boredom-struck shepherd who in the bid to make his job interesting fashioned a way of rousing the whole village to his amusement.
In every society, clarion calls are like fire alarms in an industry. Those days society was agrarian and communal so SOS messages are heeded like canon laws. If a flock is attacked, a loud cry from the shepherd is heeded and the wolf chased away or killed with bows, arrows, cudgel and hot spears.
The shepherd I am talking about in a certain village alarmed his villagers falsely and had a good laugh. They were fooled by this false alert as they responded fiercely coming out armed to the teeth. They were turned into mere jokes as the young shepherd pronounced that it was all a joke.Â The shepherd had his laugh but not too long, for the wolf came one day and when our shepherd cried wolf, none responded, lest they be made fools again.
Chief B B Apugo is only crying wolf as against the issues he raised in a report of Sunday Thisday, of August 9. His Excellency Dr T A Orji has gone beyond those issues with a network of 99 roads, 37 of the number completed and most of these roads criss-cross Apugosâ€™s residenceÂ and the three senatorial zones in and around the State.
Buildings are rising here and there, the health sector has not had it so good, the educational sector has witnessed a reform and transformation unimagined. Abia is rated to have the highest primary school enrolment possibly because of the free education in the state; bursary and scholarships are back like perennial rivers.
Abia State University is adjudge the best state-run university in West Africa. The polytechnic and the state-owned schools of nursing have not escaped his fatherly notice. Sports men and women are encouraged and they are hauling in international laurels.
The high carnage on our roads and the connivance of Okadamen and kidnappers have been reduced by the ban on Okada and the physical fitness is enhanced by commuters taking a little walk to the bus-stop for those not so keen on the luxury of taxis.
Our respected Chief has unfettered access to his younger brother and should have mooted his counsel if he had a meaningful one. He is only trying to ride on T Aâ€™s back to appease his PDP members so that political pilgrims will pay homage as election time is imminent. His antics of rustling the bush and coming to the road to bellow against the rustlers is a well known trick of BB.
He is only crying wolf, urging the uninformed to throw stones, forgetting that he is living in a glass house.
Mr. Ogbonna, a commentator on national issues, writes from Abia State.