Sadiq Daba and the rise of secular humanism
Sir: On a training-trip from Port Harcourt to Lagos in 2015 and after, I went to Radio Lagos to see a friend and on my way out, behold there stood Sadiq Daba talking with someone in the premises. I had to come down quickly from the vehicle conveying me out so I could steal a chat with the legendary Daba. I called him Bitrus. No-need telling why if you watched Cock Crow At Dawn
You needed to see me. I was so excited, even at my age. It says a lot about the value we got from watching television at an era when NTA was a blessing to children. We waited for 4 p.m. and 12noon weekends, and at a time when content drove television unlike now when television houses do not have content anymore other than the showing of religious programmes.
I saw Daba by chance recently on a repeated programme on television presented by Aisha Falode and other gentle ladies and heard that the actor is suffering from cancer. It was shocking to say the least.
The sickening revelation is that he bears the burden alone. Of what use therefore is the service he has rendered to this country and humanity, if no-one, including government can share the burden of illness with him. How about the Kano State government? Not sure, but I gather he is from that state.
Why is bad-belly on the health of people synonymous to Nigerians only? In the face of illnesses our country does not have the facilities to take care of people and what is worrying is that we do not care. When we choose to care, it must be to make political statements. Nigerians seem to bow to forces of secular humanism. If Bitrus can suffer alone, and then you can imagine someone who doesn’t have the larger than life persona of Bitrus.
Nigeria’s story today is redesigned to serve and accommodate regional and parochial interests without the premium benefit of making Nigeria a great nation.
You wonder how we can ever solve pressing national challenges which includes a poor health infrastructure. When state legislatures sit idly and follow the herd by supporting the governors who buy cotton (euphemism for doing nothing) they shout from the roof-top for restructuring.
A concerned person in a cafe wondered why anyone should celebrate Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi who as governor got so many federal allocations and delivered little in terms of development. Governor Nyesom Wike deserves more praise in his estimation for his giant strides despite getting only petty funds from monthly allocations. I changed the narrative by comparing Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari – who deserves commendation? His puritanical brow furrowed quickly: Goodluck Jonathan he answered. He used the same metrics to judge but came up with different answers. The way of the Nigerian. Isn’t Muhammadu getting less in sales of crude oil? I once shut up someone who loved to attack Victor Attah (Ibibio) for doing less and Godswill Akpabio (Anang) for doing more for Akwa Ibom when they served terms as governors. He came with the Anang and Ibibio script without knowing how much both got from the centre as governors. Today he lives in a hovel in his uncle’s house in Abuja. His years of praise-singing were exercises in futility.
Summits, conferences, constitutional reviews, name-calling, blackmail do not develop a country but the will of the people can bring about development.
Nigeria can’t be great if we practice secular humanism. Sri Lanka didn’t bother about secular humanism when they threw Mahinda Rajapaksa out of power. Despite his earlier popularity and efforts at taming The Tamil Tigers. There were no election tribunals, no endless court cases. No acrimony, no north versus south. Nothing more than the country.
Love and values are universal and not relative. Only small men love their own kind and subjugate people who aren’t their kind. Truly great people believe in the humanism of the collective man.
Truly great people provide solutions to problems; they don’t indulge in the time-wasting caper of hating “those people.” They provide solutions for everyone include Daba. May Bitrus live long. Amen.
Simon Abah, Abuja.
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