Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

…fresh, factual & uncompromising

2023: The Bliss in Making Every Turn Count

5 min read

– Samuel Ayara

Our indigenous refrain to calamities has remained the agelong “Idiok nkpo aka nsansan”, which is usually followed with the rhetoric “nsansan ideghe agwo edungo?”. We patronize this proclamation, not for our hatred for people who stay distants away, but our insensitivities of thinking we deserve more peace and want things around us to take different turns. Between there and here, life will always never give us what we deserve, but mostly what we work and go out for. After all we may never be free of grief if the things we dread befall our Kith and kin simply because they stayed in places we consider distant in our fears.

Never entering the pool through the stairs and not testing the depth of the river with both legs are timeless life instructions we are expected to imbibe. Though a sharp contrast, where the former emphasizes the need to accept risk as a major aspect of daily living, while the latter gives expression to being careful and cautious of our actions. Whichever one choses, the essence is mutual, we all crave to live well and cannot afford actions that would jeopardize our chances at a good life. In trusting that good seamen emerge from turbulent sea experiences, grabbing a lifejacket would twice guarantee that you live tell the story.

Here nothing is sure, not even the carbondioxide-oxygen balance. Our twists and turns could have made more sense if they bore any inclination to humanity, but how sharply a space can be so divided along religion, political, social and ethnic leaning, with no insulation to tragedies leave more to worry. In our skewed minds people who belong to a different divides really deserve their tragedies. In sports it is nothing when our opponent cries, in politics we can always look the other way if the outcome favours us and in religion nobody deserves a fair deal from the creator if they do not belong to our denomination. Summarily, we only see God in the eyes of our selfish considerations.

Government and people in leadership are unfortunately entrapped in this snare of life’s turn and twist. Nothing they ever do goes without the bile and vile of dissent, sometimes from far less informed perspectives. Whether it is the dog or man that bites, they are never spared the blame in such torrents of furry that spell anguish in all shades; whether they do or do not, there is always an opinion that will never favour their disposition. Even the slightest of human’s carelessness or inadvertent actions must always find a drift that calls the government to questioning. Whether a man dies from electrocution or as a result of power outage, the government and people in leadership must always eat the blame pie.

Done with the yuletide, year 2023 is beginning with recesses from what was once famed as the best year yet in both religious and social circles; good or bad, our space is not in want of events that would make memories of the past year deserving of time and mention. They came in volts of electrifying moments and countless modules of lessons, everyone had a good share of whatever made sense to them. From the nnabor festival in Abak, to the Iboku Uruan cultural festival and the episodes of the Calabar carnival, people had fun while the government and leaders took the blames.

Nnabo Festival in Abak

Like omelettes are never made without breaking eggs, I have always known it is impossible to stage the nnabo display in Abak with no spills. Even the best of command performers cannot escape the minor lets from a play that wields over a thousand machetes and swords, with friends who have not met in month exchanging the blade banters as the drummers stroke hard the popular “a’nkejem o, ajem ikpo nkpo akongho mbang enang” lyrics. For decades we have enjoyed this play, but never has the organizers or government been hailed for a spectacular show, safe the backlash when it goes wrong. God bless Nnabo.

Calabar Carnival

Not longer than the people gathered for the 2022 bikers carnival in Calabar had a vehicle for reasons not yet offered rammed into the crowd killing a yet to be ascertained number of funseekers who thronged that part of the city to witness the return of the Calabar carnival festivities that had for two years been put on hold. With the government roundly abused for not taking adequate measures to stall vehicular movement, one is reminded that there have always been these movements, especially for residents of certain areas, all the ill fated driver owed the harmless crowd was being a bit more careful. Alas, the government in striving to cater to the injured while taking the blames for a citizen’s carelessness, perhaps a non-tax compliant adult, may make very little sense in their efforts at explaining the spill because with the people, the government will always be wrong.

For the Calabar carnival’s grand finale, there has been a number of opinion as to the shift in its appeal and delivery. People think it was not properly planned especially as the carnival routes were poorly illuminated, while the better of the political realities threatened the shine of the event, with some key actors boycotting the street party. Waiting two whole years for its return must have been nostalgic for an average citizen, as they took over the streets to light up the yulettide with family and friends in commemoration of the 2022 carnival, where whatever government did not do mattered so little, if they could find vendors to dispense the happiness they desired.

Ekpe masquerade at Iboku Uruan

With the Ekpe chants and performances taking the better of the Iboku Uruan festival, the people also found yet another alternative to relish the season of goodwill as both initiates and non-initiates beheld what beauty scores of decades ago brought our cultural firmament. What ever was not properly done would be blamed on the organizers, without excusing the fact that they could have genuinely wished for different outcomes. But in the end, a bold statement emerged that nothing truly is impossible even if we all set our minds to achieving the sun on a rainy day.

Not just king Herod’s birthday, Jesus’ birth and death, like every event known to man, came with their consequences and at every turn, the people either take responsibility or trade blames. The former has tirelessly proven a better idea than the latter, which offers fleeting comfort. In all we would have made more informed choices if we were more mindful of the twists in every turn by ensuring the year 2023 meets us more intentional for the bliss, miseries and spills, especially with the elections that is coming on us and the IMF Chief’s prediction that a third of the world would experience a recession this year.

Bliss or misery, as we fast and pray, let us also plan and work make the best of every twist and turn. Whether in working, expecting or waiting, it is on us to make the year, one we would take responsibilities rather than pass the bug; the government and leaders will barely do enough in the face of competing needs, let us enjoy the moments by dealing our fortunes a favourable turn. Happy New Year!

Samuel Ayara writes from Ibong Otoro in Abak LGA.

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