By: Andy Akporugo Jr
I thank God I was born and bred when I was.
It was at the time when the nation’s foremost militants were also the most educated and thought differently from its illiterate even when they espoused its interest; one in which the political leadership of the country was by authors and deep philosophers. It was a time when you were respected as a man of knowledge by the precariousness of the posture of your glasses on your nasal bridge. It was a time when the amount of knowledge you received was directly proportional to your freedom from primordial prejudices.
It was a time when reporters wrote newspaper columns beneath photographs in which their eyes narrowed to smoke from cigarettes which butts were fondled masterfully by their lips, under the leadership of very religious persons who yet subscribed to intellectual standards much higher than the dictates of personal subscriptions to scripture. It was a time when parents permitted their children to receive as tourism education, glorious stories about the wondrous feats of local gods who lay in shrines, rivers and elsewhere and didn’t feel chastised by God for introducing them to ”demonism”.
A time when our elite, on account of the pride conferred by knowledge of empirically validated developmental ideals and high intellection, were too ashamed to hold books of faith as standards of rightness. As far as they were concerned, their ideals were tested and superior and not subject to the nebulousness of faith and religiousity. This was the basis of the popularity of the Gideon’s miniature bibles – to accommodate elite intellectual haughtiness.
It was a time when you were happy that you were the one sent to buy beer home for the opportunity it gave you to hang around and listen to fierce critiquing of old universal philosophies, and the offering of new sounder ones by men who offered libation with the same lips that they prayed in the name of Jesus! It was the time when men of faith bowed to men of knowledge and men of culture courted knowledge with the same fervour that they protected their cultures; everything in its place!
It was a time when the intellectual was a man of integrity and responsibility who knew that his word could conflagrate the nation. He was invested with that office only by reason of knowledge and was eternally embarrassed when his offering was proven untrue. A time when Tai Solarin nearly lost all esteem, 70 years old, by reason of just one uninterrogated claim against a yet thieving government. He fell not because his claims were wrong generally. His loss arose from the failure of his particulars.
Mehn, the days of the intellectual are truly gone. Perhaps forever, by the testament of the foolishness we see every day on social media and elsewhere, that makes it perspicacious to seek the loftiest and profoundest intellectual offerings from village squares in the remotest ends of our dear country!