Happiness as a word or as a concept is or must be a subject that belongs to the domain of philosophy, and specifically and pertinently to the warm, expensive and expansive room of moral theory. This may be a controversial remark to begin with. But it is a correct one. And there should be no dispute here that should be disputed or argued over.
My title suggests that I am not denying that our country as things are today is a country of citizens, a country of compatriots, who are far from knowing or experiencing happiness that is real happiness. If anyone is happy in present day Nigeria that person belongs to the exclusive circle of the presidencynologists of happy oppressors, happy exploiters and happy dictators and tyrants.
The military service chiefs also belong to the circle and possibility of the happy ones called and defined as happy tyrants who happily, allegedly so, betray our country’s trust and faith and confidence in them in all places and everywhere, especially in the north east of a cruelly prolonged war crushing our country treacherously. And I wonder endlessly why our outstanding war folks don’t or pretend not to know that their acts and actions have besmirched the good name of our country’s army and the fair image and good name of our number one whose best possible happiness is not any longer being widely thought and perceived to be straight but appear to be straight. And allowing the service chiefs to keep on enjoying the perks of their posts say nothing tangibly fair and fair about their commander-in-chief who seemingly pretends to enjoy what is villainously going on everywhere in our troubled country.
After viewing what we have seen, and knowing what we have known so far about his unfulfilled promises, expectations and obligations to our country, do we have the opportunities to create and increase our happiness through our moral actions and dreams? In our current circumstances what virtues – cultural, economic, political, religious, and educational – can we dream of or capitalize on to enhance ours and our country’s happiness? As a matter of fact, we must ask: Have the immoral examples of our leaders at all levels of our country’s governance not turned several compatriots into persons and people, into different kinds of beings who have been deprived of happiness because of their lack of satisfaction with their lives of hunger and joblessness and sickness there is no money to tackle?
We all are no more strangers to what is currently going on in our Nigeria Delta Development Commission (NDDC). That Commission meant to bring succour to a deprived people is turning out to be the severest source of a people’s really painful pain, a people whose hope for happiness can no longer be appeased and enhanced in the foreseeable future. The nastiness and treachery of the runners of the Commission as witnessed so far in the revelations oozing out of/from the ongoing investigations of the place by our central parliament upset all of us, to put it mildly. The drawbacks there are drawbacks deliberately created to deny the people of the Niger Delta their grip of permanent succour. What this simply means is that the people’s happiness has forever been impaired by immoral men who have acted allegedly immorally in every conceivable way.
Those who appointed them into the Commission as this and that and as that and this or as these and those and as those and these and all what-not are no less immoral people who have equally acted immorally. Maybe this is a controversial remark. Or maybe it is an exaggeration. But whatever it is, one thing is clear: Their short-term gains which we are recognizing as acts of immorality will never fetch them happiness – “because immoral actions will lead at least to social disapproval, if not a jail term,” to quote a scholar of philosophy. No matter what those of us not in parliament say or do not say, no matter what we do or do not do, the killers and murderers of our country’s happiness will escape justice in the end.
A compelling excuse will be fabricated for each offender at the end of the day. And our state of hopeless happiness will never cease to be. The same thing we must state in respect of false accusers who usually are left off the hook of punitive and corrective justice. With such false accusers who are never cashiered our country can never know happiness that is happiness.
My experiences over the years have taught me not to curse those who circumstances have compelled to deny us happiness. The act and path of morality are not at all rosy. Pain and misery are the lot of the steadfastly straight person in our country. A man who tells the truth is usually branded, labelled, plotted against, lied against, fired or hit badly or tragically. A parliamentarian who bluntly declines to compromise and positively refuses to act against conscience may never be re-voted to parliament and power.
The same thing applies to governors as witnessed not long ago in Lagos when ex-governor Ambode was blatantly refused to continue as governor of that state of states. In every instance the “individual’s happiness is lost as a result of adhering to moral standards.” This is our lot in our country of the present day. Of course, our national destiny ever since we became a nation is not unfamiliar with this familiar trait in us. How thus can we get everlasting happiness in a country such as ours?
Only psychologists, moral theorists, philosophers, virtuous political scientists, priests, rational poets and journalists of absolute truth can answer this question for us. But whatever each one’s answer maybe, we always shall define our country’s happiness by our actions. This must be my own realistic answer to the question that I have posed. After all said here, the majority of us in our country, it must be underlined, are victims of hopeless and hapless happiness which is not happiness.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.