By Emma Okocha
”He will have to learn to know that all men are not just, all men are not true.
But teach him also that for every villain, Â scoundrel, there is a hero.
For every self serving politician there is a dedicated leader. For every enemy there is a friend.
Teach him the wonders of books, give him quite time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on the green hillside.
Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and be tough with tough people.
Teach him to close his ears to the howling mob; always to have sublime faith in his creator and faith in himself too, because then he will always have faith in mankind.
-Abraham Lincoln’s Letters To his Son’s Teacher.
‘You say that there is one supreme God who made heaven and earth,’ said Akunna on one of Mr.Brown’s visits. ‘We also believe in Him and call Him Chukwu. He made all the world and the other gods.’
‘There is no other gods, said Mr Brown, Chukwu is the only God and others are false…pieces of wood.’
‘That is not so….it is indeed a piece of wood, the tree from which it came was made by Chukwu. Â We make sacrifices to little gods, but when they fail and there is no one else to turn to we go to Chukwu.
We approach a great man through his servants . But when his servants fail to help us, then we go to the last source of hope. We worry them more because we are afraid to worry their master.’
‘You said one interesting thing, ‘ said Mr. Brown. In my religion Chukwu is a loving Father and need not be feared by those who do His will.’
‘But we must fear Him when we are not doing His will’ said Akunna. And who is to tell His will? It is too great to be known.’ – Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Ibadan: Heinemann 1958 page 128.
As the greatest show on earth, World Heavy weight Champion, Muhammad Ali did not overlook Africa. When he ruled the waves, and whenever he breezed into the stubborn streets of Lagos, there was instant pandemonium.
On the night of the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ Â the night he sent Reverend gentleman , George Foreman very near to Jesus, Ali Bomaye ! i.e. Ali kill him , was the emotional one sided support he deservedly got from the Zairen brothers who really wanted Foreman dead for daring to stand against their idol.
Many years after the train ran to a stop, and the show went off the stage, Ali in 1988, returned to a tumultuous crowd in Khartoun on a three country tour to raise funds for the relief of war refugees and victims of Sahel drought and other disasters.
Like the Kennedys , Martin Luther king, Mohammad Ali’s special bond with Africa has been etched on the stone.
On account of the sublime contributions of these Americans to the various spiritual, humanitarian and development needs of the mother continent, Africa was almost set to forgive the evils of the slave trade and forget the western acts of perfidy against its former colonies.
Such was this special bond and as Muhammad Ali was the flagbearer, Â my mother like every other African loved him, his beautiful Alexander the great face, his exquisite boxing craft, his observatory poetry, supported his human rights crusades and most converted to his Muslim faith.
That spiritual bond between the African diaspora and his African American brothers, between America of the Kennedys, between the mild Ali type of Muslims may have been broken to pieces since Alhaji Â Umaru Â Muttalab admitted over the week end that Farouk, Â the suspected Detroit Northwest Delta airline bomber ”is my son.”
We hope Alhaji understands the implication of his confession. We saw it coming and warned all of you, Alhajis and those of your make up who as a hobby, buy those high brow mansions and apartments all over the world.
In many instances, only one member of the family is thrust into the big house asylum and another girl friend is allocated one other estate probably with a golf course, some where in the Carribeans.
Others are simply empty. These children of Generals, politicians, bankers, Emirs and white and red capped chiefs do not go to school or take to any job. Most of the time these wards don’t need anything but trouble. Remember the
story of one would be Ambassador’s son.
He ruined his father’s chances of becoming the US ambassador in Washington, Â when he picked up a stranger and as a matter of fact, pulverized her on a dirty school lawn in downtown Baltimore!
Apart from the fact that the US protocol do not provide for more than one wife for for foreign Ambassadors, rape is a felony, a diplomatic mortal sin. Washington up till now has no substantive Nigerian Ambassador.
Alhaji Sir, when exactly did you first lose contact with your son? When you were busy as Chairman , CEO of United Bank of Africa?Or when you were Chairman of the Northern Cement Compay, or when you were Chairman Agip oil?
Or Board Member, NEPA, NACB, NCC,or Minister of Economic Development? Â Last week, the press reported you retired as First Bank Chairman, at the age of 70. We are going to make sure you are just 70.
Therefore, we have asked our Okrika Man of the Year, Attorney AdokiyeAmiesimaka to stop harassing only the sons of Talakawas and embark on a total age inspection of all the Nigerian, Permanent Secretaries, civil servants, board members, Chief and thief justices and come up with everybody’s correct birth certificates!
And finally Alhaji, are you the founder of the Nigerian Muslim bank and were you the brain that advised my uncle in law, the one the Press call the Maradonna to finally abrogate the great African Continental bank?