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OPINION: Of despair and hope by Faith Berewa

Surely I am not the only one feeling this way. The feeling is pervasive, isn’t it? I mean this feeling of trepidation, a foreboding, an uneasy nervousness about where our country is headed.

It’s like surrendering to fate, a resignation to ‘whatever will be, will be’. You listen to conversations, and there is despair and apprehension.

These are indeed abnormal times. For we are a country on tenterhooks! A government whose duty it is to serve the people is not dishing out hope and confidence.

Instead its policies, actions and below par performance is breeding uncertainty and fear.

We do not know which way our leaders are headed towards and where they have taken us to so far implicitly do not show they have the competence to know which way to go!

A nation goes only in the direction its leaders. We are now where our leaders have brought us. It is as if we are being led through dark alley ways.

A man that does not see the path he is taking will surely end up in the ditch, or even worse.

Unfortunately, in our situation, we are being herded along. Ours is a classic case of purposelessness. Our leaders have not shown purpose in governance. As a matter of fact, they do not seem to understand why they are in office.

We need a way out of the socio economic quagmire the country is in. Nothing is more dreadful than a people whose leaders do not seem to know the way to a place of prosperity, cohesion, peace and stability.

More disconcerting is the fact that we have been led into this place of misery by these leaders.- Both past and present- For the past did not lay the necessary foundation for our development, and the  present  seem lost on how to move the country forward.

They are like one groping inthe dark,  unable to grasp a hold of the complexities of governance, after riding on the backs of tantalizing  promises which Nigerians were too blinded to see were just that- blank promises – but this is a matter for another day.

Back to the crux of my piece, are the times we are in reminiscent of a particular period in Nigerian history? When we were stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, with no one to turn to, with no help in sight?

Does it feel that way? Are these times a sad and stark reminder of the ominous atmosphere of the dark days of military rule, the years of autocratic rule when fear and uncertainty pervaded the land? When our leaders did wrong with impunity?

Am I the only one with that sinking feeling? That these are not just trying times, but more critically, we are at a defining crossroad as a nation and the route we take, or rather, the manner those saddled with the responsibility to govern us approach and handle the complexities of the country will determine our fate- for better or for worse. Right now, the signs are not good.

You know, there are certain events in history etched in our memory even years and decades on, we can still pinpoint where we were and what we were doing when they happened, or when we first heard the news.

For me, some of the most striking events include; first, the news that Nelson Mandela was going to be released after twenty seven years in incarceration, and then the day he walked out of prison a free man; When Tiger Woods won the Augusta Masters at twenty one, the youngest and the first black man to do so, and the shocking news of the tragic death of Princess Diana.

Closer home, the death of the kleptomaniac dictator, General Sani Abacha. I can vividly recall where I was, and the person that came to whisper in my ears that he had died.

Nigerians saw his death as a Divine intrusion in the affairs of the country. When all hope seemed lost, when the desperate cry for help seemed to fall on deaf ears, when heart rendering cries seemed to be in futility, then, the dictator was taken out of the way, in mysterious circumstances.

No, I am not in any way advocating the demise of anyone. The point here is, deliverance came and it marked a turning point in the annals of Nigerian history.  Likewise we can hope that deliverance will come.

So, is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Is there hope for our suffering masses? Will our leaders be the agents of positive change?  Would there be a time when we can sing the old Negro Spiritual, eloquently quoted by Martin Luther king Jr. in 1963 in his stirring ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial?

Free at last

Free at last

Thank GOD Almighty, we are free at last.

Faith Berewa, a columnist with SAHEL STANDARD Media Limited, sent this piece from Kaduna

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