CHUDI OKEREKE'S DREAM
I imagine that like me, many Nigerians did not sleep a wink last Monday night because we did not want to miss even a second of the history that was being chronicled right before our very eyes. For hours on end, international television channels brought to the world the frame-by-frame details of how the Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera led teams of his equally dedicated country men and women through the breath-taking task of rescuing the miners who had been trapped 622 meters underground for a record 69 days. The riveting spectacle was like a well acted suspense movie.
Perhaps, one of the greatest proofs that the world has become a global village as Marshal McLuhan had projected, was the fact that in one instant, it no longer seemed as it was the lives of miners in Chile, which its president personally described as a small country that is far removed from the rest of the world, that was at issue. Rather, people of all nations, who were transfixed by the humble, but determined efforts of the Chilean countrymen and women whose hearts beat as one, were also united in their prayers and hope as one people, as we all looked forward to seeing the 33 trapped miners come to the surface, and to the warm embrace of the world.
I can recall how my stomach churned and my head whooshed at what seemed like an eternity when the Chilean engineers continued to examine and re-examine all the parts of the capsule which would haul their embattled countrymen to the surface from the bowels of the earth. And when the never-been-used-before capsule started its descent journeys, first with the members of the rescue team, my heart almost stopped, even as my blood pressure travelled up a few notches. When I watched the expression on the faces of President Pinera and his wife, I did not see despair, but rather such hope that comes from the confidence one has in his capacity to inspire his people to great things…the type of confidence you exude when you know that you had really earned the votes of your people by right. That was not the type of confidence I saw on the face of our president as he exonerated MEND from the October 1st bombing, only a day later.
When only after 23 hours, all the 33 miners and their rescuers had been brought to the surface and after having been embraced by the president and his wife who remained on the spot, one by one, it was another type of tears that welled in my eyes. It was not those of joy as was being shed all over the world, but rather those of sadness, because i imagined that it could not happen in Nigeria, what with the quality of leadership with which we have been saddled.
My mind immediately flashed back to the events of that Sunday evening on January 19, 2002, when the fright from exploding ordinances at Ikeja Cantonment in Lagos, had forced thousands of Nigerians to scurry into the adjourning lagoon in search of safety but has met their death, instead. I recalled how President Obasanjo had merely stopped by, the following day, on his way to the airport on one of his countless junkets abroad and had merely looked in for a few minutes. When confronted by hundreds of weeping and distraught relatives of the dead, the president had shouted down and asked them, 'Am I supposed to be here?'
Of course, president's rhetorical question was one of such that mystics describe as coming from 'the golden tongue' and which convey deep revelations of the inner real state of things. Of course, the calibre of leaders that Nigeria has been saddled with has had no reason to be here, because they had merely imposed themselves on us, and have had no justifiable reasons to empathize over our predicament. If they had been leaders, how come none of them has been able to inspire us to unity of purpose and to pedestals from which we would see ourselves as Nigerians rather than as Hausa, Yoruba, Niger Deltans or Ndigbo?
How come that President Jonathan had easily flunked his first real national test on national leadership so abysmally? Bombs had exploded in Abuja on the nation's most auspicious days, and instead of rising to the occasion like a statesman, our president ran back into his sub-ethnic cocoon. And instead of rallying the nation to his side, he rallied 100 of his fellow Ijaw 'generals' and by so doing, made total nonsense of the efforts of the other Nigerians who had been rooting for him. Significantly, 16 days later as I write, the list of those who were killed or injured in that bombing have not been made public, even as the Presidency burrows deeper into ill-fated inanities of non-creative scapegoating, instead of working towards national healing which would ensure that it does not happen again. By treating the victims of the Abuja terrorist bombing with such disdain, it is to be imagined what fate would befall other Nigerians whose rescue would task the nation even half as that of the miners tasked the Chileans and the world.
It has often been said that God is a Nigerian and that is why He has so far saved us from such eventualities like the Chile miners were subjected to, for should Nigeria be subjected to anything close to the Chilean situation, the deep mines would have simply been their deep graves. It is, also important to remind readers that from all socio-economic indicators, the Latin American country is not better than Nigeria, in any material particular. With a population of only 16.7 million and an economy that is by far inferior to that of Nigeria, Chile whose chequered history has been made more-so by decades of cruel military dictatorships, should have nothing to boast of, except the quality of its leaderships, which has had the capacity to mobilize and inspire its people to enact such miracles, like the faultless rescue of its miners with minimum foreign involvement.
I would have tried to extrapolate what would have happened here if the Chilean situation had confronted us, but a Facebook friend came to my rescue by posting his 'dream' on my wall. Chudi Okereke from Port Harcourt had shared what he claimed was his recent dream with his Facebook friends, and which, I share with you here: '… Last night I dreamt that 33 Nigerian miners were trapped underground and the government decided to send a capsule down to rescue them one after the other. When the miners knew of the rescue plan, they began to argue amongst themselves on who goes firston who goes first. Zoning was suggested but they could not agree on which zone will go first. Eventually in a struggle to determine who goes first, several of them got injured and MEND issued a threat message warning that they would set off a bomb if any South-south miner was critically injured. Meanwhile, the FEC had awarded the capsule contract to JB and we are still awaiting delivery three months later.
There is a probe going on to unravel this and retrieve the award sum before we get to the issue of what formula to adopt for the rescue and which miner comes out first.In the mean time, traditional rulers from the miners' towns are paying solidarity visits to the president to thank him for his efforts to rescue the miners.And the first lady had just invited the wives of the Nigerian miners to Abuja for dinner at the Nicon-Hilton! The first ladies from the 36 states will also be in attendance. All including the wives of the miners will wear the GoodLuck for President ankara.CNN reported early this morning that after 10 months underground all the 33 Nigerian miners have died and the Nigerian government has declared seven days of mourning during which the Nigerian flag will be flown at half mast to honour the dead. Meanwhile, JB has sued the FGN for the balance of the contract sum.Then I suddenly woke up. Oh my God!!! So this Acute Malaria & Typhoid Fever was not completely treated!!.
'Zoning was suggested but they could not agree on which zone should go first. Eventually, in the struggle to determine who goes first, several of them got injured and MEND issued a threat warning that they would set off a bomb if any South-South miner was critically injured. 's on who goes first. Zoning was suggested but they could not agree on which zone will go first. Eventually in a struggle to determine who goes first, several of them got injured and MEND issued a threat message warning that they would set off a bomb if any South-south miner was critically injured.
Meanwhile, the FEC had awarded the capsule contract to JB and we are still awaiting delivery three months later. There is a probe going on to unravel this and retrieve the award sum before we get to the issue of what formula to adopt for the rescue and which miner comes out first.In the mean time, traditional rulers from the miners' towns are paying solidarity visits to the president to thank him for his efforts to rescue the miners.And the first lady had just invited the wives of the Nigerian miners to Abuja for dinner at the Nicon-Hilton!