Between Histrionics and Reality: The case of Pete Edochie and ASSU

Who could believe that Pete Edochie - the godfather, Okonkwo-the indefatigable lion - was kidnapped. He is the man who opined that "the gentle stride of the lion is not a mark of cowardice". No. Pete himself exclaimed that he couldn't believe it. Alas the world of the theatre and that of reality is too far apart. What was the source of his seeming incredulity? I suspect is that which Wole Soyinka says affects most writers or say actors "when is playacting rebuked by reality? When is fictionalizing presumptuous? What happens after playacting?" Sometimes we need to be jolted out from the fairy-land to that of actualities. Perhaps, Pete has been inebriated and inundated by the world of the theatre which probably explains his disbelief. The reality remains that there is insecurity in the land and anybody can be abducted at any time, even those who think that they are insulated by the walls of their homes and the vigilance of their bodyguards, thanks to a failed government.

Like Pete, one can also be dumbfounded by realities. Who could believe that in a country, Primary school teachers could be on strike for over nine months rendering students inactive close to a year? Alas! That also happened. Thanks to the former governor of Anambra state Chinwoke Mbadinuju. Now the most dangerous thing is that that chapter in the history of Anambra state is taking a national stage, now in the tertiary level. We continue to graduate from one level to another. University students are left roaming the streets while the Federal government and ASSU continue to play the hideous theatrical game of who will first budge. Certainly as Victor Hugo puts it "…there comes a point, moreover, where the unfortunate and the infamous are grouped together, merged in a single, fateful word. They are les miserables …."

The question now is not who is to blame for this miserable theatrics of absurdity taking place in our national scene rather how are we to confront this reality. The reality here is not the haggling between ASSU and the federal government rather that a huge part of the population - the future of the nation - is being rendered useless. The 21st century economy is knowledge based and any country that plays with that institution that aims at the acquisition of knowledge cannot compete in the 21st century economy. This is why many cannot help laughing by that mirth-generating acronym "Vision 2020". Certainly we do not have the crystal balls to discern the future; however we can recognize the portents that will shape such future. The Igbo's say that "ana esi na igba opere amata nwa ga eji ugwo" - a will-be-debtor is known by the way he plays the game of Opere.

I suggest that the senate president, David Mark, should jolt himself from the fairy-land of issuing a return ticket to all senators and urge his colleagues to confront this issue. As it stands now everyone knows that the President who incidentally was a lecturer seems to be confused as well as his minister who incidentally also was a lecturer. Shame. These students are our siblings, children and parents and we cannot continue to fold our hands as the ASSU-FG theatrics play themselves out. As these students stay at home so do their hopes and aspirations. Incidentally the research of their professors will also take leave and when they eventually start a crash programme will ensue. It does nobody any good. Therefore, We cannot wait till these students all turn to kidnapping and prostitution and their professors become outdated and redundant. All hands must be on deck to rescue this situation now.