By Prince Charles Dickson
The leopard’s stealthy gait is not a result of cowardice; it is simply stalking a prey. (Do not mistake people’s gentle nature for spinelessness).
‘Concern’ is an English word, used both as a verb either reflective or passive, and as a noun.
1. Concern, means to relate to; to be connected with; be of interest or importance to; affect: The state of killings ‘concerns’ us.
2. Used in the passive, to interest or engage: We should ‘concern’ ourselves with how we are governed.
3. To trouble, worry: Are you ‘concerned’ about how much will be spent feeding animals in the villa?
4. As a noun–something that relates or pertains to a person; business; affair: Nigeria should be the ‘concern’ of every Nigerian.
5. A matter that engages a person’s attention, interest, or care, or that affects a person’s welfare or happiness: ‘Concerning’ Nigeria, there is need for government to provide social services.
How does defining ‘concern’ concern you…interestingly the word ‘concern’ finds home in our local long called pidgin and in my admonition this week, I ask in local parlance taking into cognizance the working definition and the thread meaning– does Nigeria ‘concern’ you, how ‘e take concern’ you, Nigeria dey worry you…?
Is there need for apprehension, are we drifting towards distress or unease ate we perturbed, troubled or bothered about the construct called Nigeria and her people?
For example, how ‘e take concern’ me and you how a man of ‘god’ chooses to display his wealth, or are we ‘concerned’ by the fact that in the midst of lack a lot of folks will spend money in crude fashion to obtain passports to heaven.
Are we apprehensive about the acquisition of jets, whether from Canada, Port Novo or Alaska, or the issue is an increasingly dangerous gap between a super-rich clergy and a psychologically milked pew, not that the congregation are concerned anyway.
So, it is a typically crying more than the bereaved or showing more concern than the ‘concerned’ attitude. The type that you see when we talk corruption; that we are all concerned about the killing corruption around us.
I don’t know about you, but I am concerned and uneasy that we have ghost schools, ghost teachers, fake graduates, and in a nation that seeks Phd teachers, we get Phd drivers by default of availability not choice. Indeed we talk trucks because the nation lacks an efficient train haulage system, so we strain roads that are already death traps.
We are not concerned that we contain teachers with forged certificates not because of government but a decaying moral fabric torn by ‘god of men’ who tell the teachers Sunday in, Friday out that it is well, just pass the offering plate.
We have become accustomed to the fact that, my name is Gyang Dalyop or Mohammed Josaiah should concern my getting a job or being killed.
Yet in almost comical fashion in one mouthful we are all perturbed in unison that ethnic nepotism, parapoism, sickening ‘unfederal discharacter’ is a major ill in our society.
We get anxious and disturbed by the terms, ‘they, them, us, our, we, their, those’ all depending on convenience and yet we want a united Nigeria to ‘concern’ us.
My friend and brother, Benjamin Aduba, in Boston puts it this way and I rephrase in this manner…”Nigerians want changes so long as the changes no ‘concern’ them, …for others to change but not for me to change”.
We are all concerned about corrupt politicians and persons be punished, but not Ibori if you are from Delta, not Obasanjo if you PDP and Tinubu can do no wrong if you are ACN.
We show concern in very queer manner by honoring same people that have turned our collective harvest to personal fiefdoms with institutional awards, traditional titles, as long as the person is from our side, al, other things should not concern us.
People who challenge security should be rounded up and shot, but not members of MEND f you are from the SS; not Boko Haram members if you are from the NE; not MASSOB or kidnappers if you are from the SE.
In Ekiti a bill to cut off the ‘penis’ of rapist has been submitted to the state House of Assembly, but none to cut off the hands of pen robbers, or remove their eyes so they cant see government funds to steal, which really should concern us?
We are concerned to paranoid if the government is to build or do something good, which is rare, it must be for us, with us, and by us or else it is not good . It concerns me more than anybody.
Does it concern you that we generate power individually, buy portable water, educate our kids privately, provide healthcare for our families, both immediate and extended, run micro welfare and social security systems for family, and relatives, and still create other infrastructures despite being milked in taxes from a meager 18k stipend for those being paid that much.
The problem with our ‘concerns’ is a top-down, down-up systemic failure. Like we are programmed towards grinding to halt, rather than repair, we are so accustomed to cosmetic dressing, ala Dr. 90210… So we focus our ‘concern’ on leadership, when it is as much a problem with followership.
Do you feel concerned that we ate raising a dangerous mixed grill society with kids largely ‘schooled’ abroad, with allegiances to other nations and a home bred population of children denied education outrightly?
Don’t we feel irritated that, it is the same five and five pence from Umuahia, to Jos, Oshgbo to Minna, Sokoto to Eket, same political class and patrons displaying stupendous wealth in the ‘ very before’ of lack?
If one is not concerned, if you don’t care, if we are not bothered, we may be behind our comfort zone, there may be ease but it’s not calm…I may not be worried, you may not be troubled or see distress in Nigeria, you may be the eternal optimist, or cautious optimist, our hope may cloud reality, however let us remember that the leopard’s stealthy gait is not a result of cowardice…our actions or inaction is being stalked.
The Yorubas say “were were nikan njele” meaning slowly, slowly is the manner in which termites consume a house, our inconspicuous and imperceptible problems in time are piling…if ‘e no concern you now, e go concern you soon’ Time will tell.