By Bala Ibrahim
As a country, Nigeria is great. As a people, Nigerians are brilliant. But nature added another distinguishing characteristic to some of us, which is the trait of envy.
Whenever something good comes the way of one of us, some of us take to their feet, to disparage the person to the floor. Both Islam and Christianity, the two major religions practiced by Nigerians, have warned against envy, particularly the expression of feelings of discontent and ill will, because of another person’s achievements, advantages or possessions. My friend has a regular sermon that goes thus, “three things make a man wretched: greed, pride and jealousy”. I believe the saying is applicable to the woman too, though he has never mentioned.
Unless and until we are bold enough to deal with this vice, certainly as a nation, Nigeria would continue to lose balance in it’s journey to greatness. Whether we call it envy, jealousy or spite, as long as the aim is to pull him or her down, every religion calls it irreligious, immoral or ungodly, even to those who use goods as their God. Envy had gained terrible access to every fiber of the Nigerian society, be it at the family level, office level, or the national level, wrecking havoc on our virtues and making nonsense of our values.
As if cursed, some Nigerians behave like hypocrites or people who hate to see others progress. These group of envious people, act on the crab mentality of, if I can’t have it, neither can you, by pulling others down whilst they are climbing the ladder of success. Yes, Nigeria seems not to run short of people with the pull him down moral disorder, and they relish to reveal their weakness or weaknesses, through the stupidity of displaying such envy.
Since yesterday Tuesday the 12th, 05, when stories started circulating in the social media, that Prof. Ibrahim Gambari is destined to be the replacement for the late Abba Kyari, as President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, cynicism began to play. While some, especially trained journalists, were waiting for official confirmation in order not to be amongst the first to get it wrong, the cynics saw the story as a publicity stunt, aimed at promoting the professor, and began turning it into a controversy that would work to his disadvantage.
Within a short time, Nigerians were advised to visit the past, and understand it’s importance to the present. Despite his impeccable and intimidating credentials, alongside his adjudged simplicity and hatred for controversy, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari’s name began to be linked with Abacha and IBB, saying he is not fit enough to be President Buhari’s chief of staff, because he has an unpleasant past, that history cannot forget quickly. Damning stories were planted in the press, one of which reads:
“He was Buhari’s foreign affairs minister in 1984-1985, after serving as the DG of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. He later went on to become Nigeria’s permanent representative at the United Nations from 1990-1999 at a time two of Nigeria’s infamous dictators were in full bloom. General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the June 12, 1993 election won by MKO Abiola, plunging Nigeria into political turmoil. It was Gambari’s lot to defend the ignoble, treasonable act at the UN. In 1995, Abacha murdered Ken Saro Wiwa, the Ogoni leader, along with others, under a flawed and framed-up charge. It was also Gambari’s lot to defend Abacha”.
The mercenaries did not stop there, a leaked memo, allegedly from one Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, denigrating the professor’s qualities, and reducing his character to that of a traitor, was unleashed on the social media. The intention is clear, to rattle or intimidate the president, to have a change of mind, especially because official announcement has not been made.
It was Richard Kwame Krah that said, “I am tempted to believe the assertion that, the best way to kill the Blackman without obviously falling victim of murder is to promote one of them. If greed, wickedness, jealousy and selfishness sets in, they will end up killing each other faster than an atomic bomb”. Nothing illustrates that saying than the vice of pull him down syndrome, expressed by some Nigerians.
Although I know him distantly, from our student days in ABU, where he was a lecturer, Professor Ibrahim Gambari is not my preferred candidate for the President’s chief of staff, for a number of reasons, one of them being his age. But the President knows him better, and he is the one that would work with him. Why then should someone squabble over an issue he has no say?
Whether we like it or not, Professor Gambari has today, taken charge as the new Chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, with congratulations coming in from everywhere, prominent amongst which are those of, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the former president of the senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who described him as a decent man, a cerebral academic, and disciplined diplomat.
“Plotting doom for a fellow is the worst mistake to make as an individual, a group or a nation at large, and until we find a way to rid this of individual and societal precepts, we will take forever to break loose our developmental fortunes”- Richard Kwame Krah.
Mr. Ibrahim writes from Abuja.