By Promise Adiele
Recently, President Bola Tinubu openly admonished his son Seyi Tinubu for sneaking into the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Council Chamber in Aso Rock. Mr. President affirmed that he saw a picture of Seyi Tinubu in the chamber while the FEC meeting was going on and concluded that such an attitude by his son is unacceptable. One does not know if the senior Tinubu was referring to a picture frame of his son hanging inside the hallowed sanctuary of the Council Chamber or whether he was referring to Seyi Tinubu in person. It is up to semantic scholars to determine if the senior Tinubu was referring to a picture frame or the human form of Seyi Tinubu. Mr. President said he saw a picture of his son inside the Council Chamber. Is it a live picture of the son or his framed photograph?
Whether Mr. President was referring to a picture frame or Seyi Tinubu in person, it reinforces the absurdity and mindless desecration which Seyi Tinubu has brought to Aso Rock. Not long ago, the young billionaire son of the president ludicrously converted the presidential jet into his toy and flew it with his friends to attend a polo event in Kano. The media also reported that he celebrated his thirty-eight birthday party inside the presidential jet with his friends. Nothing could be more brazenly fatuous. Such an attitude, inspired by vainglorious indulgence, should provoke a national outcry. But no, since the last election in February, Nigerians have inexplicably been hit with a brand of crippling hypnosis in the face of official acts of criminality within power corridors, public institutions, and various arms of government. The Nigerian paralysis is real and may subsist if the people continually refuse to bestir from their lethargy.
I applaud President Bola Tinubu for rising to the occasion to scold his son for his recalcitrant propensity because when such reckless attitudes go unchecked, they permeate the pores of official decorum and collapse the boundaries of decency in the precincts of power. We may not blame Seyi Tinubu much because sons have a way of gloating when their fathers attain a successful position of eminence and power. Sons are obstinate and rebellious therefore, every responsible father must keep his son in check. Fathers understand the point I am making.
Assuredly, there is an unpronounced rivalry between sons and their fathers. Hardly are they best of friends. But intriguingly, sons are closer to their mothers. Perhaps we may have to tinker with the Oedipal Complex to understand the mysterious affinity between sons and their mothers. When Ogbuefi Ezeudu in Achebe’s iconic novel Things Fall Apart warned Okonkwo not to have a hard in the death of Ikemefuna, his reason was that the boy called Okonkwo “father”. Sons don’t call ‘father’ these days. They call ‘Daddy’ or simply ‘Dad’. The connection between a father and his son is beyond sublunary and cosmetic, it is celestial and spiritual. It goes beyond external demonstration of affection which is the pastime of many mothers. Ogbuefi’s warning to Okonkwo bestows a responsibility on fathers to protect their sons and never harm them. Yet, some fathers harm their sons. Okonkwo killed Ikemefuna. Marvin Gaye’s father killed him in 1984.
Unfortunately, not many fathers dare to chide their sons when they err. Many sons have outgrown their fathers, so such fathers are mortally afraid of their sons. It is sad. While President Bola Tinubu was reprimanding his son for his presence inside the Council Chamber, he used a word I love so much – unacceptable. Indeed, sons do many unacceptable things. When they do, fathers should stand up to declare such actions unacceptable. My twenty-year old, 300-level university undergraduate son, like all sons, do unacceptable things and I always tell him as much, like Bola Tinubu, that such actions are unacceptable. As a youth, I did many unacceptable things and my late father never failed to remind me that such actions were unacceptable. All fathers must stand up to declare as unacceptable, the wayward, refractory, and obdurate actions of their sons.
As fathers, we must tell our sons, in fact, all our children, that it is unacceptable for them to indulge in any form of forgery. Forgery is a criminal attitude which permanently dents the image of a real man. We should remind our sons that when they go to school, they must endeavour to study hard, pass all their exams and graduate with flying colours. It is when they do not study hard and graduate in a profound way that they resort to forging their certificates. We must tell our sons that forgery is despicable, condescending, and unacceptable. We must tell our sons that a good name is better than riches and that having multiple identities and operating with different names are unacceptable because they not only degrade our ancestral origin, but they blight our humanity beyond the present and into the tortuous corner of the channels of posterity.
Fathers must tell their sons in unambiguous terms that it is unacceptable to indulge in the appalling habit of engaging in hard drugs, whether for their use or as merchants, to depend on them for wealth. Such an attitude is unacceptable by every strand of moral regimen and condemnable by every religion, culture, and creed. Dealing in drugs may guarantee immediate access to billions of dollars, but it destroys the lives of millions of people across the world, among them children and youths. Today, many young people with an insatiable appetite for wealth and craving for fame are languishing in jail in different parts of the world for being involved in drugs. We must, as a mark of responsibility, inform our sons that hard drugs, cocaine, heroin or whatever nomenclature it goes by can destroy humanity, therefore they are unacceptable. Hard drugs destroy the mind, soul and future of young people. It is unacceptable to engage in them. Fathers must tell their sons that anyone who peddles hard drugs is a murderer and has an unconscionable spirit which must inevitably perish in the depths of Hades despite the level of charity enunciated by wealth through the dastard trade. It is unacceptable.
Fathers must, as a mark of commitment to the wellbeing of their sons, advise them that it is unacceptable to compromise the entire electoral process of their country through treacherous acts of sabotage and bribery. Such deceitfulness leaves the power structures of a country indeterminate in the heuristic realm of polarized space. That kind of desperate, immoral act ultimately plunges the government into a cesspool of illegitimacy and challenges public cohesion towards the enthronement of an egalitarian order. Certainly, politics is about the aggregation of the public interests but the desire to control public interest through lucre-induced manipulation pulls at the heart of the wellbeing of a country.
Sons must be convinced that it is unacceptable to climb to political pinnacle through various underhand means. Our sons must not be thugs and must never sponsor or maintain thugs as a private enterprise. We must educate our sons that it is unacceptable to shield their children from public glare while exposing the sons and children of other people as political instruments suitable for the grave. What is unacceptable is unacceptable. There should be no middle ground. Thuggery enthrones a culture of barbarism. Our sons must dissociate themselves from such a vitiating attitude because it contributes to the armoury of psychological terror which definitely will be unleashed on humanity one way or another.
Our sons must know that it is unacceptable for the government of a country to spend N57,600,000,000 (fifty-seven billion, six hundred million naira) to purchase cars for lawmakers in a country where millions of people are impoverished, where workers at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital have not been paid salaries for many months, where out of school children are in millions, where millions of people live below the poverty line, where soldiers are ill-equipped to fight insecurity and where millions of families cannot afford an ordinary bag of rice. Fathers must drum these realities into the subconscious sphere of their sons’ sensibilities. Fathers must educate their sons that waste is an unacceptable mindset which can only be embraced by an insincere, prodigal son whose convictions are hinged on self, family, and comradery glorification. Therefore, it is profligate to appoint large numbers of aides and assistants and to sustain them with public funds when the exchequer is evidently empty even to pay salaries. One may argue that such appointments are necessary for the smooth running of government, but the enlightened mind knows that the unwieldy appointments are acts of political patronage to compensate goons who helped to maneuver the system and deface the country’s judiciary into an unrecognizable mass of flesh.
We must tell our sons that it is unacceptable for a government to recklessly budget a mindboggling amount of money for an illegitimate office of the first lady in a country where millions of pregnant women die due to poor medical facilities. It is unacceptable. Of course, it is unacceptable for a government that climbed to power through the courts to turn around to disobey court orders and keep persons accused of various infractions in detention. Today, Nigerians are asked to accept the court ruling upholding the last presidential elections but the government that benefitted from that court ruling does not obey court orders. If impoverished Nigerians take a cue from the government and declare Supreme Court ruling unacceptable, the country will go into flames and the blood of monkeys and baboons will flow. It is therefore unacceptable for the government to disobey court orders and keep people in detention. What is unacceptable should remain unacceptable and must not be affected by the capricious tendencies of the processes of continuity.
Adiele PhD, of Mountain Top University, writes via Promee01@yahoo.com