Throwback to the Past.. The Nigerian story

David Mark, do you remember him? His last potilical position was the Senate President, that David, the one that was marked be watched.

David Mark probably might have come from a humble background who possibly may not be born with a golden spoon in his mouth but he rose to stardom at the early stage of his military career. I may not fully know much about his family background as an adolescent at his Idoma country home in Benue State but I know he came to limelight as a young Lt Col in the army who was among the few youngest army officers that were appointed as military governors during the Buhari/Idiagbon regime in 1984.

I remember also that he was the military governor of Niger State, a post that introduced him to political governance from where his star soared to national stardom. I cannot vividly recollect too wether it was the Daily Times or the defunct National Concord that in 1985 wrote on David Mark in one of its editorial columns captioned “mark this Mark” foretelling how Mark could cause mayhem for Buhari if he was not curtailed. Not quite long after this prophetic publication that the government of Buhari was toppled by the Judas in the house, Ibrahim Babangida assisted by Col. Sambo Dasuki and Col. David Mark who was said to be marked. Can you see that our journalists could be prophetic at times. True to type, the spirit of David in Mark eventually came to play on August 27, 1985. The man IBB became the rave of the moment while some appointees were sent packed with the toppled government, David Mark was compensated over the ‘David kill Goliath’ role he played in what I termed an infamous, inglorious and unfortunate palace coup.

He rose from being a military governor to a Federal minister in charge of communication and seeing himself at a vantage position which ordinarily his level of education and political experience wouldn’t have taken him, he therefore became so shoulder padded and swollen headed which revealed the true ‘David and Goliath’ in him at a function in Lagos when intercepted by journalists who asked him about the unaffordable rising price of telephone and what he was doing as a minister to make sure that the cost is made affordable for the common man in the street, in his response; Mark said “Telephone is not for the poor and common man. Telephone is for the rich and the elite, so there is no question of reduction because the rich who could afford it are not complaining” That was David Mark for you. Telephone not for the poor? You may ask who are the poor and the common man that David was even referring to? You and I of course.

Today, I wonder what will be going on in the mind of David Mark seeing the poor, common man, market women, teenagers, toddlers, even beggars and physically challenged using telephones that are even better than the one he has, all over the street. No thanks to Obasanjo the visionary leader, and shame to David who did not see beyond his nose. Today, Telephone is not only for the poor, it is even owned by the plebeians right in Mark’s life time. Who knows tomorrow ? The same poor people David sought their votes yesterday to become a senator today. Life is not static, it revolves and the only permanent thing on earth is change.

David’s experience is similar to the story of the only man who had television set in our street in the 80s. Late in the evening, this man will be busy chasing us out of his window because we gathered to watch his archaic wooden black and white TV set that the picture was not even clear enough. Is it not amazing today that his then television that has since gone to the archive has given way and now every Tom, Dick and Harry can afford to watch the world as the news is breaking through cable TV or on the Internet. Who says you can’t make it? Who says you can not be better than what you are now? Who says you are finished? And who says the man you are chasing away today will not make it and surpass you to an extent that you could need his endorsement to make it tomorrow.

Yesterday I used slate, chalk, pencil and eraser in my primary school days but today my children are going about with computer, iPad and smartphones. What a life! The best house in your street today will turn to a shadow of itself tomorrow just wait and see. You will one day become history too based on what you do today but what kind of history would you want people to remember you with? Are you a boss at work, HOD in a department, a governor of a state, a military commander in the army, a minister in a nation, a president of a country. The question is: What legacy and footprints are you leaving? Legacy of ‘I and no others?’ Today you are but tomorrow you are no more, history will remember you without fear. Beware of the position you occupy today that it is a test of life and it is ephemeral, if you hold it well you pass and if you allow it to get to your head, you fail; but mind you Nothing lasts for ever. As David Mark is seeing the poor using telephone today so will you be mocked if you are at the wrong side of history tomorrow. Do good and be nice to those you meet on your way up today, tomorrow you might need them on your way down the ladder of stardom. Either right or wrong, good or bad, history will mark you. Will you be marked for good? Just as the editorial column marked Mark in 1985 and David is seeing from the eye of “telephone is not for the poor”‘OBJ will be remembered from the eye of “telephone is for the masses” you also will be marked in years to come. Mark a good footprint on the shore of providence so you are not marked for destruction between today and tomorrow, the talking drum warns.

-article contributed by ‘The Talking Drum’

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