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Tai Olaniyi: Thinking of Loyalty: to be or not to be?

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By Tai Olaniyi

Great Akokites will never forget a day or two to the greatest o f “Aluta Continua” , the “Ali Must Go” students unrest of April 10 1978 which started at the University of Lagos.

Later romanticised into many institutions of learning in Nigeria and thus created trembles as aftermath when Akintunde Ojo of UNILAG and a number of students of A.B.U were felled down by the bullets of Inspector Lucas led police platoon and the blood thirsty military juntas in Lagos and Zaria respectively.

It was a period which called for a test of “Loyalty” on the part of students to the cause, noble course that the quality of education must and should improve in quality and quantum in Nigeria or remain a degenerate “zombie” as Fela Anikulapo sang the unquestioning loyalty to military authority of General Obasanjo of that era.

Late Professor Jacob F. Ade Ajayi, a world renowned historian and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos and his academic dons invited the students of UNILAG to the sports centre a day to the “Aluta” and enjoined us to ruminate on the golden question, “To Be or Not To Be”, asking us whether or not to embark on the unrest, desist or resist the military might.

We invariably fought a good fight, lost some heroes and now history has though vindicated us by opening our eyes till date to the litmus test in “Loyalty” as events unfold the 3 basic Ps in loyalties such as to, Personalities, Policies and Politics.

In every human congregation the 3 Ps must not only be taken cognisance of but be constantly permutated because whether or not one likes it the personalities, the policies and politics of human congregation must call for one’s loyalties at one point in time or the other.

Loyalty is a very serious human attribute that is encased in spiritual and mundane including the mystical nature of man. God and in vistas of light who had at one time or the other served as harbingers of light in the world of spiritual darkness.
They that have shown us the need for humans to be loyal to God and His Prophets and Messengers.

Human hierarchies full of certain degrees of authority and power expect those in lower strata to be loyal completely and never exhibit any thought, words or actions of betrayal or disloyalty.

Wife and husband at home expect and desire loyalty, our religious beliefs call for it and in institutions and corporate bodies, loyalty is enshrined as policies encased in the vision and mission statements of such an organisation.

In politics, personalities call for party loyalty and at national levels, there is a clarion call for loyalty as enshrined in the national symbols, the National Anthem, the Pledge and the National Constitution.

One thing is equally associated with loyalty, “Conscience” which the Rosicrucians refer to as the “Eye of God in the Heart of Man” . It is the spiritual barometer of man’s loyalty to God, personalities, policies and politics of where one belongs and associates with.

The questions then are, to whom lies your loyalty? How noble or/ ignoble is your loyalty, the cause and politics of your loyalty? As you emplace your loyalty to a fellow man, the cause you believe in and the politics around you, as the Rotarians would ask, is it the Truth, is it Fair?

By the way should one’s loyalty be permanent like the rock of Gibraltar or connotes a few elements of shifting cultivation like the Nigerian politicians camp and decamp with or without reasonable reasons?

Our rulers do expect an unalloyed loyalty but what if by ruling they are ruining and while leading are misleading and going contrary to sanity in policies and politics?
Should one remain perpetually a loyal zombie or be always guided by one’s conscience?

Loyalty to God, man and constituted authorities are normal but sanity in loyalty to personalities, politicians and their politics especially politricks as we find in godfatherism in Nigeria enforces one to go the way of “Conscience”.
As earlier mentioned , Conscience is, “The Eye of God in the Heart of Man” quoting the Rosicrucians , and, according to Uthman B Fudi, ” Conscience is an open wound only Truth can heal it” .

It then behoves on us all to always reflect on loyalty and conscience in our dealings with fellowman, our congregations, associations and finally our beloved nation Nigeria.
God bless Nigeria.