By Mustapha Oluwatoyin Hassan
There is a cult of ignorance among some Nigerians, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “religion and ethnicity takes precedence over the individual capacity and capability.” Alas, nations are birthed through decisions to be free and independent, progressive and developmental but not by trivialities. The emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The Jagaban, as the presidential aspirant of the All Progressive Party (APC) is called has brought about a lot of tongue wagging, considering his age.
But come to think of it, what difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the president of Nigeria is an old man, as long as he can reverse, sustain and turn the mad destruction and wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty? Tested and trusted as governor of Lagos State, replicating the remarkable developmental achievements of Lagos State to the nocks and crannies of Nigeria is what we are looking forward to, but not the number called age.
With the recent outbursts after Tinubu’s emergence, it shows Nigerians have lost their respect for the aged. Forgetting that aging does not necessarily mean letting go of your dreams just because you think it is a tall one to reach. To be more precise, the Nigerian societies now have a growing culture that views the older generation as a burden upon them. Nursing homes have become the staple for the older generation and some children look for alternative means of caring for their parents, such as assisted living. The doggedness and determination of Jagaban against all these odds, should be a lesson worth emulating by all. Particularly, the support and assistance Seyi Tinubu rendered to his father at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the APC Presidential primaries.
The ideas we internalized in our youth do not go away just because we are the ones who are aging. Intelligence is not like height or weight that we can just easily gauge with a metal instrument and determine its precise measure. It may have contrasted meanings for various cultures, age brackets, and skillsets. There is hardly any state in Nigeria, not to mention the people and religion, that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has not touched positively and progressively.
The finest gift a man can give to his age and time is the gift of a constructive and creative life. Therefore, psychologically, aging only happens to people who lose their lust for getting better and disconnect from their natural base of curiosity. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The Jagaban, is a detribalized Nigerian, a man of timber and caliber. A man who sparkles like diamond on a black velvet in the committee of progressives. A man with a big heart who philanthropically imparts on lives meaningfully.
A little digression, taking a verse from The Holy Qur’an and mentioning some great men from the scripture with a typical impression about old age- the last and the seventh stage of the eventful biography of man in general- old age was recognised as a sign of experience and wisdom. The aged had shown their loyalty and that needed to be rewarded.
Old age has two phases. The phase in which the physical and mental powers have not suffered much decline is a highly respected phase. Prophet Abraham, his wife, Sarah, and Moses’ father-in-law, and Zachariah (may on all of them be peace) reached this stage. Zachariah describes the characteristics of this phase, ‘My bones have grown feeble and the hair of my head glistens with grey’ (Quran 19:4). Reaching this phase after years of dedication to God is a Divine blessing. Such a person is blessed with insight, experience, and wisdom and he is looked up to with reverence for guidance and counseling. This age becomes an asset, and a qualification for leading. It entitles the person to a certain advantage over men of youth, as he would have earned more merit through a higher volume of service and dedication. The social culture of Nigerians should be characterized by esteem for the aged and affection for the youngsters.
The esteem, reserved for old age, will be seriously compromised if it is tainted with errant behaviour. Any major misbehaviour in this age sounds the death-knell of such esteem. Having lived up to this age, one must spare time and thought to examine if life had been lived properly. One must make an earnest effort first to seek Divine guidance and then to live by it. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has got the Midas touch, anything he touches turns gold. A vote for him would revive and revitalize our land. Ethnicity, religious bigotry, nepotism and insecurity would all varnish into the thin air by the Special Grace of The Lord.
Old age has another phase in which amnesia and other weaknesses emerge with a devastating force. An old man then becomes a poem of pity and an embodiment of utter helplessness. His children may be inclined to look upon him as an undesirable liability. The Holy Books advises the children to suppress their annoyance and to reinforce their kindness and devotion towards their old parents. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s family should always give gratitude to The Lord for the mercy, strength and will to go on even after 70 years old
Old age is the sunset of life when the orb of flame loses its heat and illuminating power and slowly sinks into the horizon. The prospect of surging darkness requires the reassurance of Divine help. May The Lord grant Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The Jagaban, more fruitful years ahead in good health and wellness to The All Mighty’s Glory and to the glory, developments, peace, security and progress of Nigeria.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No youth honours his elders but that Allah will appoint someone to honour him in his old age.” Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2022.
Hassan writes from Abuja, can be contacted through: Moh4664@gmail.com