to shepherds, with a lute on his lip:
Do not wander in speargrass
After the lights,
Probing lairs in stockings
The viper alive, with dog lying
Upsidedown in the crooked passage...
Do not listen at keyholes,
After the lights,
To smell from other rooms,
After the lights-
Singeth Jadum from Rockland,
After the lights
And there are here
the errors of the rendering
( Okigbo, C. "INITIATIONS")
Azikiwe is a complex Igbo word. It is made up of three components. One is "AZI" meaning shame; thus the Igbo say "Tufia!, AZI gba gi" meaning "may you wear ignominy like a hat." The second is "IWE" meaning "annoyance." The same Igbo thus say "IWE di n'obi" meaning "there is annoyance in the heart." Another component "KA" that is "greater" serves as a conjunction. Thus you have "AZIKIWE" which in a nutshell says "ignominy is greater than annoyance." In other words, to shame an adversary in a competition is of a greater blow than to act out of annoyance. Annoyance is a sign of irascibility. The concept of Azikiwe then is an exhortation to maturity and prudence in matters of judgement.
Incidentally, Azikiwe is the name of the first indigenous President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, i.e., Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Owelle of Onitsha and also that of the current President that has just been sworn in, namely, Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, the Mai Nasara or Mai Masara ( dual or tri-linguists can sort that out). The concept of Azikiwe is thus not far from governance. Transposing such concept to governmental-matters simply means that a leader should act more out of prudence than anger. The President whose name is Azikiwe should then endeavour to adorn or wear a broad heart.
When I think of governance in Nigeria, I recall the statements of an Italian leader who says "it is not only difficult to govern Italians but useless." In the Nigerian context, such idea, to say the least, is an understatement. The President should then know that uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. He should then find it in his heart to be faithful and patient enough. However, prudence does not preclude the application of force. Even when there is a state of lawlessness, the application and reception of force can in themselves be expressions of prudence and sincerity. As the eminent Jurist Lord Devlin says, "to fight is to suffer. A willingness to suffer is the most convincing proof of sincerity. Without the law there would be no proof. The law is the anvil on which the hammer strikes" (Cf., The Enforcement of Morals).
Thus the President should not forget the events that preceded both his party elections and that of the country. Reprobates murdered Corpers. He has first misfired by saying that he will not scrap NYSC. The question is not whether he should rid it or not since he has no such powers. NYSC came through the force of a military decree and can be repealed by the House. It is for the House to decide. Moreover, allegiance is not a given. One AC member has already written that his children will not reach to that zone. If nobody goes, the scheme dies a natural death.
The major thing he must know is that he should brace up for a fight. The bringing to book of the perpetrators of such heinous crime should be seen to be done. This time, we hope that the adherence to the shibboleth of neutrality - as at Kigali or Freetown - or to the rationalization and prevarication of patience, "third force" or bureaucracy will not result once again in "complicity with evil" and in the wrongs of history. In that case, we will be watching:
Eye open on the sea,
eyes open, of the prodigal;
upward to heaven shoot
where stars will far from.
Secret I have told into no ear,
Save into a dughole, to hold, not to drown with-
Secret I have planted into beachsand
Salt-white surf on the stones and me,
And lobsters and shells
in iodine smell â€“
maid of the salt-emptiness
whose secret I have covered up with beachsand...
shadow of rain over sunbeaten beach,
shadow of rain over man with woman.
( Okigbo, C. "WATERMAID")
In Igbo then we say: IGBO MU: IGBO ASAA best seen as - untranslatable.
However, those who think that forgiveness like indulgences can be the foundation of nation-hood should learn to read in between the lies of history. Forgiveness is just a derivative which no person can impose on others. However, justice remains the condition or determinant of humanity and without such there is no state or nation-state. As for those who killed Corpers, our prayer is that the miming of Corpers not happen in their houses (Ube onye Corper emekwala n'ulo ha). Each one of them daily should revel in that malediction of an ancient priest, so that "Giggles fill the water-hole" and
that their throats laugh Amen
on your bier, and carousing hooves
raise dust to desecrated dust- Amen. (Soyinka W, "MALEDICTION: For her who rejoiced")