FEATURE ARTICLE

Friday, August 3, 2018
amobipchuks@yahoo.com

THE CONCEPT OF "I WILL"

emory and memorial are identical twins. The former is alive while the latter is deceased. Since I am still alive, my memory goes back to a particular episode that took place when I was in Elementary 4 (today called Primary 4). The difference is clear. The Elementary pupils of my time were more intelligent and wiser than the Primary School pupils of today. In those days, there was nothing like school-run. We ran to school by ourselves. We did not carry any flask of food to school, except a bottle of water with some palm kernels inside the water, which tasted very delicious. There were no lessons after the normal school hours, yet we did well during examinations. However, lessons were conducted during holidays for those who would take external examinations like Common Entrance and First School Leaving Certificate. We went to school on bare foot. It was an offence to wear shoes, sandals or slippers to school in those days. We battled walking on hot sand during dry season. That's by the way.

Let me dwell now on what really happened on that day in my Elementary 4. It was on Wednesday that our teacher gave us Homework on English Language, which must be passed on the teacher's desk as soon as we come to school on the next day. We were 28 in number in Elementary 4B. The teacher asked us to make ten sentences with "I will." One of my classmates, who was very funny and half intelligent, made the 10 sentences thus: "I will go to Onitsha. I will go to Enugu. I will go to Lagos. I will go to Jos. I will go to Aba. I will go to Port Harcourt. I will go to Ibadan. I will go to Kano. I will go to London. I will go to America." The teacher was very furious when she was marking his paper. She made him kneel down for one hour before the class for making monotonous and stupid sentences. She also gave him ten monotonous strokes of cane. Then she took him round the classes to dance it out. As the teacher sang, "I will go to! I will go to!! I will go to!!!" the boy in question would be dancing. The whole pupils in each class laughed at him. From that day onward we nicknamed him "I will go to." Immediately after our First School Certificate Examination, he abandoned Education and did go to Lagos for business. Now his business is taking him to various cities within and outside Nigeria. In other words, he is now putting the "I will go to" into practice. If you wish to be like him, then make ten monotonous funny sentences with 'I will'.

Grammatically speaking, 'I will' is used to express willingness or readiness to do something. It is a promise. For instance, I will help you financially. I will assist you to get a Visa to America. Such a statement is a real commitment. If the person who made the promise fails to fulfill it, then you regard him as someone who is untrustworthy. Please avoid using 'I will' when you are not ready to do what you promised. There was a wedding ceremony in a certain church. The bride and bridegroom were called out to exchange their matrimonial consent. First of all, the minister asked them, "Will you accept each other lovely as husband and wife for the rest of your lives?" The bridegroom answered, "Yes, I will." But the bride said, "Yes, I may." There was murmuring among the congregation for a while. The priest asked the bride what she meant by 'Yes, I may.' She replied, "That is if he treats me well and does not become wayward." The bridegroom glanced at her from head to toes and he angrily walked out of the church. The wedding stopped abruptly. Everyone went home sad. The parents of the bride blamed her for giving a conditional answer to a direct question. She was not moved at all by the blame. She told her parents that it is better to say the truth from the first day of marriage.

In no distant time, the man married another woman. On their wedding day, the officiating priest asked them, "Will you accept each other lovely as husband and wife for the rest of your lives?" The bridegroom replied, "Yes, I will." The bride gave the same answer. Then the matrimonial knot was tied for life. After three months of the marriage, the couple fell apart. They accepted 'for better' and rejected 'for worse'. They got divorced and parted ways.

My question now is: "I will" and "I may" which is preferable? Jesus Christ tells us this parable: "What do you think of this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said to him: 'Son, today go and work in my vineyard.' And the son answered, "I will not." But later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to his second son and gave him the same command. Then he replied: 'I will go.' But he did not go. Which of the two did what the father wanted? They answered, 'The first'" (Matt. 21:28 - 31). Likewise I ask: Between 'I will' and 'I may', who do you think is more trustworthy?

For me, it is better not to make a promise than to promise and fail woefully. Can you weigh the quantity of promises a man makes just to seduce a woman? Many women have been ruined by such unfilled promises. Once he gets what he wants, he abandons the woman. A certain college boy fell in love with a classmate girl. The boy promised her Paradise and Heaven. He promised to marry her immediately after their WAEC. Foolishly, the girl submitted herself entirely to him. The boy called her 'My sweet heart' while the girl called her 'My darling'. As the Examination was approaching, she was put in the family way by her darling. She went to him and said, "Darling, I did not see my monthly menses. In fact I am pregnant for you." The boy frowned at her and asserted fiercely, "If you know where you took your bath, go there and collect your clothes." The girl swore to him that he was responsible for the pregnancy. The darling boy ran away to an unknown destination and abandoned his pregnant girlfriend to her fate. This is a lesson for those who engage in licit and illicit friendship. The English adage says, "A friend in need is a friend indeed."

Many politicians during electioneering campaigns employ the concept of "I will" so much. They say 'I will do this' and 'I will do that' just to buy our votes. Only few of them do fulfill their promises. The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) promised Nigerians Paradise on Earth during their campaign prior to the 2015 General Elections. The People's Democratic Party was in power then. The APC promised Nigerians CHANGE in all aspects of life, so that Nigerians can enjoy the real dividends of Democracy like the Western World. President Buhari boldly said, "I will defeat Boko Haram in six months. I will bring back the Chibok Girls. I will make the value of the Naira equal with American Dollar. I will pay unemployed Nigerians N5,000 each monthly. I will not Islamize the country", etc. After almost four years in power none of the 'I wills' has been fulfilled. Boko Haram has not been defeated till today. Instead the Fulani Herdsmen terrorists have come up with ethnic cleansing. Innocent Nigerians are being killed here and there like fowls. The President so far has not done anything tangible to stop the bloodletting. All the Chibok Girls are not yet back. Rather the Dapchi Girls were dramatically also kidnapped. Later, all of them were dramatically brought back except Leah Sharibu, a Christian among them. She is still being held because she refused to renounce her Faith. The Naira has been devalued more than before. More Nigerians are jobless. There appears to be Islamization agenda in the making. Presidential appointments are lopsided. Nepotism is on a higher scale. Separation of Power in the 3 Arms of Government is in jeopardy. There is little or no respect for the Rule of Law. In fact the country is more divided now than ever. There is hunger and anger in the land. Indeed we are living in a hopeless situation.

The 2019 General Elections are fast approaching. Some political alignments and re-alignments are in progress. So many politicians are defecting from the APC to PDP and to other parties in order to achieve their ambitions in 2019. The APC woefully failed in their 'I wills.' It is another time for the 'I will'. You can deceive some of the people some of the times, but you cannot deceive all the people all the times. Therefore Nigerians must shine their eyes well this time. It is safer to use 'I may' than 'I will'.

There is palpable fear in the country concerning the 2019 Elections. What happened in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti state is not worth writing home about. It has sent jittery in the nerves of Nigerians. The election was adjudged to be peaceful. But it was marred by illegality, rigging, ballot box snatching and buying of voters. The state was over policed on that day. Soldiers and other Security men were also in great number. There was fear of apprehension which scared some voters. Due to the hunger and joblessness in the country, many voters sold their consciences. The highest bidder was announced to have won.

Morally speaking, anyone who sells his or her vote sells his or her conscience. Such offence is treasonable. The politician who wins by buying of voters' conscience has no moral justification to ascend to power. He or she should be sent to the Reformatory. The vote buyer should find his way to the bazaar arena, where the highest bidder buys the advertised products.

In 2019, we need a president who will not only be saying but doing. Actions speak louder than words. We need a president that would unite the country and be fair to the ethnic groups that make up Nigeria. He should be a God-fearing president. He must respect the Federal Character in appointments as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended. He must be one who knows that Nigeria is a multi-religious country. Hence, no religion should be assumed to be state religion, implicitly or explicitly. The President should have the welfare of all Nigerians at heart irrespective of religion or tribe. His body language ought to be active and coactive. Tacit silence in the face of evils can no more be tolerated.

Leadership is a service and not autocracy. The electorate should choose their leaders freely and not out of compulsion. Of recent, our hard earned Democracy is turning into Dictatorship. The Cabals around President Buhari are holding him and the Nation to ransom. Jesus Christ as an exemplary Leader came to serve and not to be served. He laid down his life to save his subjects. Thus a good leader should have the welfare of his subjects at heart. Let's pray and watch out for the unfolding of events in the polity as time ticks. In God we trust!


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