To lose one’s parent is traumatic enough, but to lose two in unnatural circumstances is more than most humans can bear, especially for a Nigerian youth.
That was the sense I got when I read Jamiu Abiola’s advertisement appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice Yemi Osinbajo on the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day. The philosophical manner he treated the issue really brings a lump in ones throat.
Many (even monks) would not have had such comportment in face of such monumental loss. This rare type of affliction is what Greek tragedies are made of. One can imagine the depth of bitterness many of our compatriots would have succumbed to in such circumstances, but not Jamiu.
He writes, “All of a sudden, the impossible has become possible and the fact that June 12 could have been Nigeria’s Democracy Day all along became feasible and no longer ‘mission impossible’. This is the same way that other problems in our country will soon vanish, transforming us from a country into a nation”.
Instead of wailing, the sad events that happened to him rekindled his deep sense of patriotism and love. That spirit also manifested in his active membership of the Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team in the last elections. This is a great lesson to the anomies we see in some Nigerians, especially the youth to whom societal values mean nothing (I am sure a certain elder’s plane seat saga can attest to that). Our society is guilty of breeding them through teaching and supporting them start exam cheating at a tender age, as parents. However, when we see rare examples like Jamiu, we see hope once again and know the law “Not too young to run” was a wise one despite certain shocks.
His thanking the government for honouring his mother as a ‘Martyr of Democracy’ must have eased a lot of pain for him and all lovers of freedom. On June 10, 2019, she was inducted into the Women Hall of Fame as the ‘Unsung Martyr of Nigeria’s Democracy’.
The penchant he has for hard work, unity of the country and intellectual endeavours is unique. With a flair for writing fiction and non-fiction which curves a niche for him in nation. He married from across the Niger in Borno and effortlessly bares his mind on serious issues, such as poverty, climate change and yes-patriotism.
A communicator and bi-linguist who speaks nine languages fluently, it is gladdening to note that Jamiu Abiola has displayed qualities we seek in our youth such as high sense of responsibility and capacity to overcome the trials of life many adults did not have to bear as life moulded them. He has much more to contribute to building an integrity endowed nation. Nigeria can re-invent itself with such rare positive attitude in aspiring leaders.
Usman Ali Chiroma,
Mass Communications Department,
University of Maiduguri