Old man once said we can only have a last unencumbered smile when we accept to preserve our tear for a mile. The faded color of flag the warship flagged, the number of casualties and spoils grabbed. It was a quest to end slave trade and suffering, Old man’s sticks against the White man’s warfare was on becoming. We brought the war to them, lost old man, lost the war; at least we showed them our united hearts knew freedom. Not all combats must be won, but every war passes a message. The ability to suppress the chain of bondage and think differently is an acceptation of the footprints of liberation. A freedom fighter that fights war without a conviction that he is above bondage is like a headless cock running into broken bottles. I make bold to say that no timid man can make bold to say that he wants to go against the sophisticated weapons and packaged military uniforms of an army without certitude or positiveness that helotry has long ceased to be a matter of his heart. Dom is a suffix denoting rank or status, the lost souls party in serfdom and equating their embrace of thralldom as freedom – such misconceptions that many fail to see or see but are too scared to scratch it off their poverty peeled skins. We just must salute the wit behind the phrasing that freedom is not free. A trip to bringing a limitation-free dream into reality must have a keg full of right strategies. A journey is a plan which comes after conviction of self the purpose for which freedom needs to be attainable. I have bathed with fate and her cousin, Faith, to know that maybe there is the existence of fate but it is of no preponderance when freewill walks in. Freedom is a sojourn that is best appreciated when fought for with tears and a big heart which faith only brings not fate. The journey of a thousand miles is what many now call unworthy verbiage; they look at me with wrinkled faces and curse me for inexorably persisting that I am under no delusion to scream freedom. Freedom is a pastor; he has the conviction that he has Christ-control. He fights because he wants to share his liberation to those without virtues – his fight becomes his journey, his life becomes his secondary. Old man died last year and I cry no more; he died for a purpose that I have swallowed as pills. Not every materialization of freedom on this terre firma involves blades and bows; some is a conditioning of the mind. Where the freedom does not come to us, we go to it.
We now block our ears when the national anthem is on air. We are guilty of losing hope, we are guilty of calling a lucid NO a YES on grounds that we are with feeble knees to begin the freedom walk, we make excuses like we cannot correct the wrongs with a thunderous vox suffering a mighty cough. We have abandoned our mother tongue and betrayed our Fatherland. The wounds she nurses because of our omission and bad decisions have we showed no concern to. We cannot stop evil and her corrupt practices – that is surely cheap talk, but we can grow men with purpose. It is true that all words have been spoken but it remains untrue that all words have been delivered to a man’s amygdala and in fact registered in the thoughts and deeds of same. Not all words should be digested but it will be nonplussing if matters of freedom are reeled out from a radio or a rubric and not inspiring at least. “To serve Nigeria with all my strength” were words in our Nation’s pledge but many read it with no sensitivity. It was supposed to preach patriotism and the SERVICE was not limited to those in power. It was supposed to equip us with a mind that we are to strive to be of value to our country, wealth acquisition being a secondary concept. A man who is lukewarm in body and soul is worse than a cold being for the sole reason that he knows the country is suffering but chooses not to fight for the necessary pills held by the cold hearted for a billion flimsy excuses. He calls this wise, and so suffers with the dying country that can now produce bad blood from her breasts and spoiled food. When a country retrogrades, the culprits become the rulers and sufferers, we civilians. Modern slavery has come to stay on the cradle bed of that born baby, it has come to register its interest in our way of life – a nouvelle cultural heritage which must be passed on to our children and grand children if we stay indifferent despite the dominance of oppression. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to die beside old man who fought against subjugation until he went six feet. But no, I can’t persist in such wishes as that is saying I have no hope in my generation. Our problem is that we bother how the society will give up corruption instead of us being the change. At some point in our lives, we had a reason to smile after accomplishing a difficult task. The effort put into such tasks must have been with an ultimate purpose, the end. A look into the history of our Fatherland evinces a house on fire and lot of souls willing to burn and put more fire in it. Maybe it is rightly said that we got our independence too early or maybe our freedom was not free. A man who has not been able to live above cupidity is a man of gall headed for the rocks with a poor state of mind having no peace in his veins. Freedom comes with a price – a price is a will to give up something for the greater good. My old man said people perish because of false evidence against reality. He said people picture reality to exclude a give back to their country. Our land is blessed but is displeased with the imposition the man with gun spits on her. We may not want freedom for ourselves but we can do some things for our country. I am dead; I am dead to contrary reasons. I refuse to be a minion to the oppressors; I am not moved by the threat of bullets or assaults, I died yesterday so what am I yet to hear? I love Nigeria and I can fight not because I want to, but because I need to. The wrinkled face woman will curse because she had her time to say something but subscribed to the will of those that bully under the political platform guised as democracy. Maybe we cannot change the world, but maybe we can change someone’s perspective. Freedom is not living life without self control, parental control, to mention a few, as that is what the free dumb without perspicacity must say. Rather, freedom is leaving life with a conviction that your inner mind is without bondage or oppression and dying trying even, to rub such idea on Earth’s face – it’s a legacy, it is fighting for your right, it is protecting your country’s pride, it is calling the promises of the evil man lies and vanity. Not encouraging we lose our lives, but we can start asking HOW with optimism. We outnumber the oppressors but remain in disunity so I say I am willing to start my journey to freedom as Jesus and Mandela but I believe we can do it together. It is a matter of what a man can do and cannot do – we can achieve internal freedom, and it is a matter of what a man is willing to do – it starts with a journey. It starts with us.
© OKOCHA OBED