Civic morality is the individual code of behavior and a set of obligations and responsibilities required of citizens, to their country and for their country. It is a kind of morality that is based on citizens relationship with their country.
The lack of appreciation for civic morality birthed my column; Bamidele Upfront in the Premium Times on May 14, 2013. I became an essayist and amassed thousands of followers who read my column religiously and follow my updates on facebook. Most often, I beam my laser on politics. Naturally, President Goodluck Jonathan and his party became beneficiaries of my acerbic pen. I made political friends along the way. Many of whom had no congruence of values with me other than getting Jonathan out of Aso Rock.
Today as it has always been, I am in communion with my values. I will never compromise my duty to country based on persons or personality. For me, I will always ask these three questions;
1. What are the proper values for our government?
2. Do our government protect, preserve, and promulgate these values?
3. What is our duty, responsibility and obligation, when our government violates these values?
It has been five years and I am proud to have written these words in my column. Words that will be on bookshelves, libraries and in archives all over the world, long after I am gone. “…Fortunately, the love of country and the lure of pragmatism has refused to shame some of us into distorting the truth and abandoning our values. I will write here because I am disillusioned. I am disillusioned about Nigeria’s politics, economy, education, health etc. I write to engage in the chores of my moral imagination. I strongly believe it is not enough to learn and think, I stay desperate, actually I stay angry because the mix of stasis and confusion in Nigeria is disabling. I stay hungry and driven because I consider myself very privileged and privilege ought to count for some good. The pendulum could have swung the other way and I would have been voiceless. Learning has enabled me break through the gauzy lens of ignorance. Intellectual honesty has left me no choice but to conclude that our politics, institutions, national character, economy, health, education among others are a charade. Actually they have become amorphous and socially pernicious.
For these reasons, I have chosen to change Nigeria with my pen, my conscience and my mouth. On your behalf I will question the orthodoxy of repression, oppression and wanton stealing. With you in mind, I will wrestle the narrative from those who seek to distort our values, pollute our space and rubbish our humanity. This column will inform, educate and debate the issues confronting us as a people.
I’m here in the public sphere because you and I seek to know. I know you want a narrative communion with the truth, in an equitable and just society where your fundamental rights are guaranteed and protected by law. I will be on this page as your representative in protest, I will stand to affirm and write when we stink up the world. I will write that we are killing this country with our separateness. We are killing this country with impropriety. We are killing our culture and common humanity with unwholesome adaptation to foreignness. I will write because I’m worried about progressive ambivalence to imperialism, competitiveness and patriotism. That we refuse to get a grip on this envelope of repression gets me. I want to point it out and make it clear that we must put down and annihilate the usurpation of our joint patrimony by a greedy few. The pertinent question to me always is: is it in line with our common goals and values?
We have been robbed. After getting robbed, we are imprisoned. And who robbed us? The cheap cons of Asokoro, Maitama, Ikoyi etc continually rob us of our joint patrimony only to turn around and flaunt it mostly to our delight. In their Gulfstreams, they flood the pristine beaches of the Caribbean, the choice properties of the British Isles and the Potomac while we pray for our own miracle to come, so we can take turns to “chop”. I’m ashamed my country of birth screwed my generation and those after us over, robbed us of our dignity, condemned us to a life of scraping by, begging and swindling and selling ourselves.”
Facebook page: Bamidele Ademola-Olateju