Sunday, June 3rd 2012!
As soon as I rounded up my speaking session addressing over 100, 000 young people at EXCEL 2012, TEARS rolled down my eyes and cheeks as I could not hold it back. I simply could not explain what was happening with the tears. I felt embarrassed and I wept uncontrollably. Amidst all the greetings, congratulatory messages and pleasantries, I was filled with MIXED FEELINGS. It was after I began to receive the news of all the mishaps that I began to give meaning to my many tears. Five persons reportedly feared dead as a result of the inferno on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway; the suicide bombing by the bomber who drove an explosives-packed car into a church in northern Nigeria yesterday killing 15 people and injuring 40 others; and the Dana Airline flight from Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, with 153 passengers on board as well as the more than 30 others killed on the ground after crashing into residential buildings. I was so sorrowful; I could no longer shed a tear. I guess I had shed mine hours before it happened.
What an INSTRUCTIVE SUNDAY…June 3rd. Despite ALL the EVIL of MEDIOCRITY in the AVIATION INDUSTRY, what will always be TRUE is that a PLANE CRASH is ONLY a TYPE of ACCIDENT. As HUMANS, there will ALWAYS be UNPLANNED INTERRUPTIONS we COULD NOT have ENVISAGED nor PREPARED for. This is LIFE. At times, the INTERRUPTIONS are a GREAT GAIN, a GOOD BLESSING and so BEAUTIFUL. At other times, they are DEEP LOSSES, a BAD PAIN and so UGLY and UNPLEASANT. This is LIFE—there is NOTHING UNFAIR about it. The so-called “UNFAIRNESS of LIFE” is a NECESSARY DISEQUILIBRIUM that WORKS FOR you TODAY and AGAINST you TOMORROW. The TRUTH that EACH of us will have a FAIR SHARE of BOTH the BLISSFUL and the PAINFUL SIDE of LIFE is what DEFINES the FAIRNESS of LIFE.
The FACT of DEATH is a REALITY ALL MORTALS MUST CONFRONT. The CONFRONTATION is the CLOSEST ACCESS to the HIGHEST EXPERIENCE of FREEDOM. Is it possible to ACCEPT that to LEARN to DO THINGS and MASTER SKILLS only defines our EFFICIENCY? Then, EFFICIENCY UNTO WHAT? An EFFECTIVE PLANNER can be BEST at PLANNING, and choose to PLAN to KILL…Bin Laden was a GREAT PLANNER. A ROBUST PROJECT MANAGER can CHOOSE to MANAGE a PROJECT that seeks to KIDNAP a CHILD…Adolf Hitler was an AMAZING PROJECT MANAGER.
The noble question is this: Is it POSSIBLE for EACH of us to TRULY DARE to CELEBRATE the TRUTH that LIFE is SHORT and DEATH is SURE? That we are VISITORS HERE and only just PASSING THROUGH? That we are HERE to OBSERVE, to LEARN, to be very GOOD at SOMETHING or SOMETHINGS, then…to LOVE, SHARE, to MASTER our INDIVIDUAL BEST SELVES and to MAKE IMPACT and CONTRIBUTIONS, to USE and SERVE our BEST to a WORLD DESPERATE for it? Is it possible to ACCEPT that we are EACH BLESSED to be a BLESSING in ANY WAY we POSSIBLY CAN? Is it POSSIBLE for EACH of us to TRULY DARE to CELEBRATE these TRUTHS?
Clearly, it is SACRED to MOURN the DEAD…and as our NATION MOURNS, our SPIRITS PRAY for the FAMILIES of the CASUALTIES of both the BOMB BLASTS and the PLANE CRASH. Yet, with DUE RESPECT to the DEAD and their BLESSED FAMILIES, and at the RISK of SOUNDING INSENSITIVE, I MUST be SENSITIVE ENOUGH to appreciate the DEEPER TRUTH that June 3rd is a WAKE-UP CALL for ALL of US. A WAKE-UP CALL because BOMBINGS and VILLAGE ATTACKS have been KILLING PEOPLE (mostly the poor and wretched of society) in JOS, Bauchi and other parts of the NORTH. The total number today is almost 10times I53 people. No National Mourning was DECLARED in those REGIONS. It is probably so because it seems their DEATHS didn’t touch the ELITES. But it is INSTRUCTIVE to NOTE that the WAY we FEEL TODAY is the WAY many have FELT for MONTHS DUE to DEEP PAINS from the many BOMBINGS. The NIGERIAN of the FUTURE MUST be ABLE to MAKE EQUAL the PREMIUM PLACED on the SOUL of EVERY NIGERIAN regardless of CLASS, TRIBE, LANGUAGE or RELIGION—the SOUL of ONE NIGERIAN should simply be EQUAL to that of ANY NUMBER of NIGERIANS for WHAT it is WORTH to be a CITIZEN.
I am CONVINCED that our MINDS and SPIRITS MUST ACCEPT, DEFEND and PROMOTE the TRUTH that EXISTENCE in itself is a MEANS to a MORE MEANINGFUL ETERNITY. With this MINDSET, the CONCEPT of LONG-LIFE can possess a NUISANCE-VALUE. And the CREDIBILITY of EXISTENCE (how LONG or SHORT notwithstanding) is SUPERIOR to the LONGEVITY of EXISTENCE. It is the CONTENTS of our EXISTENCE that TRULY MATTERS…not the LENGTH. And honestly, the WISE know very well that BREATH is PROOF there’s SOMETHING HIGHER to CONQUER and to BLESS HUMANITY with. We SURELY are BORN for MEANINGFUL EXCHANGE. Yet, the HOUSE of MOURNING breathes MORE LESSONS than that of BIRTH. And he that is DEAD is BETTER than he that is BORN. But BETTER than BOTH of them is he that NEVER EXISTED.
Those who BREATH must therefore SHOW VALUE; as billions have come and gone; and many more are LEAVING UNNOTICED. It is LEFT to US to CHOOSE what our CONTRIBUTIONS will be. It is the DUTY of those WHO still LIVE to ENSURE that when they have to go, it will NOT be said that they were GREAT MOURNERS… but rather, that they ADDED VALUE, MADE IMPACT and left the WORLD BETTER than they MET IT. It is our DESTINY to LIVE MEANINGFUL and FULFILLED LIVES. So, unto MEANING and FULFILLMENT we now TURN. And LET the LIVING begin to TRULY LIVE. At times, the COMMITMENT to be ready to die for some kind of cause can be very SILLY. What is WISE and will ALWAYS BE RIGHT is the commitment to be READY to LIVE for SOMETHING NOBLE and HONORABLE. It is FAR BETTER to LIVE for SOMETHING than to DIE for it. May the Lord give us UNDERSTANDING. May God STRENGTHEN us ALL…may HE, most IMPORTANTLY, COMFORT and STRENGTHEN the FAMILY of the DECEASED. I leave you ALL with Isaiah 57:1-2. Please READ regardless of BELIEF. God Bless Nigeria, God Bless Africa. This is Olakunle SORIYAN, totally SOBER on the LORD’s DAY.