In Turkish Writer, Elif Shakaf’s well revered view, passing information today is no big deal. If you don’t have it, you can google it.
But passing knowledge is not as routine a task as passing information.
“Knowledge”, however imperfect, requires depth and focus and a capacity for introspective sobriety. Knowledge also comes with wisdom and “Wisdom” she argues, embodies not only knowledge but also empathy and emotional intelligence.
That’s why, in life, you might come across very smart people but with very low emotional intelligence. Wisdom is difficult to demonstrate because it requires cognitive flexibility. It also demands that one steps outside identity politics and echo chambers.
In listening to Garba Shehu in recent days, he has for a while, either to satisfy a growing desperation for master-servant overboard theatrics, or for reasons inexplicable to moral fortitude held on to a pernicious code of reprehensible conduct that’s fast eroding his possible legacy, if any, in advance.
The opposite of kindness in Elif Shakaf’s position, is not necessarily hatred and war. It is lack of sensitivity to the plight of others and in this case, to the sorrow and agony of citizens losing loved ones to bloodshed. Love transcends ethnic, racial or political boundaries. You must blink with pain to see people die or university students being slaughtered. To go on TV spewing base arguments of why “it’s not the first time people are dying” is the opposite of love which is numbness. It amounts to cold-hearted indifference.
Same goes for those on emotional overdrive in newfound love and clamor for war. While the current situation we grapple with remain unbelievably insane, we need to sit back and think out of the box before rushing into campaign to take up arms. If war breaks out in Nigeria today, those who will carry arms and fight may not be more than one million of our whole population. But because they hold the gun and have control of an Armoury of death strange to our existence as a nation, the old, the young, the pregnant and the innocent toddlers will not escape. All hell would be let loose and the Jackals amongst us will take optimal advantage of the lawlessness war comes with to plunder, rape, maim and destroy. No one will be spared. Love does not preach war, it seeks solutions.
What’s happening at our borders currently? How are these sophisticated firearms coming in? When will the President ensure heads roll within the segment where our security has been breached owing to possible sabotage and corruption at the nation’s points of entry? Who in leadership is going round right now to assuage communities feelings? And beyond the rhetoric, what pragmatic steps are being taken to secure our schools? Are Politicians rolling up their sleeves to combat this critical moment or they are still busy with the delusion of 2023 power permutations? Are they really going to be here to rule over carcasses in vultures control come 2023? How many of them riding about in Bulletproof automobiles would be able to rescue their cousins and relatives?
It is this conversation we should be having right now! And the demonstration of leadership should come from the very top. Unfortunately, in Garba Shehu’s combative deliveries, there has been a reversal of commonsense that leaves us confounded with his limited capacity to pass mere information down without the accompanying knowledge consistent with age or ideal professional solemnity.
To be candid, the task of Presidential spokespersons at the stage of engagement Shehu occupies, especially in times of national crisis of this magnitude ought to have been scaled up beyond juvenile delinquency.
- Akin Fadeyi is the Founder/Executive Director of Akin Fadeyi Foundation.
- You can follow him @AppFlagit.