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October 1: Global Elderly Persons Day – 2

By Dele Sobowale

Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord, your God, has given you, (Bible, Exodus 20:12)

“And your Lord has declared that you worship none but him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them, or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them. But address them in terms of honour”. [Al-Isra (17): 23].

God knows, we honour everybody else; even those who don’t deserve the respect. We have Children’s Day; as if there can be kids without parents. SWEET MOTHER by Mbaga remains a favourite song guaranteed to get even old people on the dance floor everywhere. We have Lover’s Day; Veterans Day etc, etc. What we have never had is a day set aside to say “thank you” to the Elderly, meaning our parents, who, for better or worse are responsible for our presence here on earth.

Among a few things the President, Professor, Policeman and pauper have in common is the fact that they all had parents and grandparents and great-grandparents – ad infinitum.

All we are asking is that on this October I, 20I2, that you join in honouring OUR parents; either through voluntary donation or by being there at the old Glover Hall, Customs Street, Lagos – the meeting place of our Founding Fathers. Chief (Dr 32 times) Emeka Anyaoku; Professor Wole Soyinka; Alhaji Maitama Sule, Chief Clarke, the Ijaw leader, Pa Samuel Ogbemudia, traditional rulers are all very much appreciated.

Anyone I00 years and above and still “going……” is especially welcome; we may never get another chance to let them know how we feel about them. The notice is short, admittedly. But we had to wait to find out if the Federal Government planned any major event for that day which had been declared Elderly Persons Day.

I will be there; hopefully, so will you. It is an informal gathering; few protocols; bring your own snacks and some for others; make it a picnic. We just want to let THEM – our Elders, know, we love them.


“I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying vainness, babbling drunkenness, or ant taint of vice whose strong corruption inhabits our frail blood”. Shakespeare . (VANGUARD BOOK p 103).

I was at the U.I Staff Club on Friday, September 7, 2012, to meet a Christian publisher who had undertaken to print copies of the “QURAN: A-Z” book free of charge for the young Muslim author. Instead, I found myself at the Staff Club among professors, names withheld, because they might be hounded for declaring themselves avid readers of SUNDAY VANGUARD on account of the “lectures” from Unijankara. Without doubt, it was the greatest day in my life since these columns started in I994.

One Professor announced that he, accidentally, got the paper years ago and read how Wada Nas (who was called Wada Nasty on this page), Abacha’s Mad Dog, singled me out, among columnists, for relentlessly attacking Abacha. That made me happy. It means they were reading me in Aso Rock. Prof has been with the page ever since; although like most readers during Abacha’s days he must have thought my mission was suicidal. And they told me about other Profs who were absent who were devoted readers.

One, present, is an old Kings College fellow, a great sprinter, who recollected I was at Igbobi. Even, if there are only five U.I professors, that number is enough for me to say thanks. Professors are the most difficult people to convince on earth and to hold. And, you all have my promise there is no going back. At any rate, I have one former Prof on UI who will be disappointed if I sold out….


“Forgiveness to the injured does belong; for they ne’er pardon who had done the wrong”. John Dryden, I63-I700.(VANGUARD BOOK OG UOTATIONS p 63).

Why should I be writing a tribute to a fellow ten years younger than me? Two reasons, closely related, account for this. First, there was the statement of someone who knew him intimately who summarized his experience this way. “Very, very sad and painful. In death, his profile is higher than that of a General”.

To this his classmates at Government College Ibadan, GCI, Femi Olugbile, Niran Akintola, and Sola Olugbesan, in the PUNCH of September I4, 20I2 , added this for posterity. “He was a purist and a dreamer; in the ambience of the Army he loved and lived for. Sadly, all of this would prove his undoing”.

Then, I remembered having heard the story before from one of my junior cousins who was at GCI at the same time with this fellow who always wanted to be a soldier and nothing else – even though he was brilliant enough to be anything else; at a time when a military career was for bone-heads. He even went on to bag a First Class Honours in Electrical Engineering, perhaps, just to prove that he was not a dullard but a deeply patriotic fellow ready to lay everything on the line for his country. A mistake?

And to prove that too, he went on to become a paratrooper. In any army, they are the elite of elite corps; those few individuals prepared to be dropped behind enemy lines and risk getting killed first in order to save thousands of their fellow soldiers. He won just about every prize that came his way. That he ended his career as Major, is a story for another day. But, it demonstrated how, in Nigeria, being the brightest, the best and most patriotic might constitute a danger. The loss was more our own than his.

Farewell, “Carter” as my junior cousin called you repeatedly. This nation of ours is simply not ready for someone as nice as you.


“Law is injustice codified…”, Noble Writer, c1750. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 120).

Something absolutely reprehensible has happened in this country which has become inured to shocks. A High Court judge, name withheld until next week, had just about made the new Chief Justice of the Federation, CJN, appear like a hypocrite. Two weeks ago, the CJN had taken the Minister for Justice and Attorney General for the Federation, AGF, to task for not doing enough to get high profile corruption cases prosecuted.

Few Nigerians will dispute those charges – the few, naturally, include the President’s spokesmen; whose duty it is to see white where everybody else sees black. We don’t begrudge them their pay; it is not easy to sell one’s conscience. Now, while that may be understandable for “come-and-eat” appointees to high office, that sort of optical illusion is totally unacceptable in a judge – if this country deserves to last much longer.

Judges perverting justice at Election Tribunals are just as bad, if not worse than armed robbers – who they convict. Hoodlums accost their victims one, or a few, at a time. Corrupt judges collaborate in robbing millions at once….


“0803-304-9397     OCT I ELDERS DAY

.May Allah grant you favours beyond ur efforts. Your Oct 1, idea is great”. Omotoso.

P.S. Then join us at Glover Hall and bring some snacks. I will provide soft drinks and bottled water. Dele.

“0704-175-6521   MAD DOGS

Once a 1958 boy called a I944 a fool just to show his INFATILITY. Some Mad Dogs are eternally and incurably mad.

0803-708-5630     OBASANJO

Our thinking is that Obasanjo is few people’s favourite and I thank God I am one ..because he has achieved more for Nigeria than any former President.

P.S. In the spirit of Elders Day, OBJ gets a free ride today. But, can you ask him to send some fried chicken to Glover Hall on October I? I will be forever grateful to him and to you. Dele.


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