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The time is now by Kemi Austine

Some years ago, there was a strong debate about Jesus being black! If true, then one can infer that God is black, since Jesus is God (The Trinitarian Logic). Haha, would God being black make any difference in the world today? I think that if the postulation of Egypt being the cradle of scholarship has exterminated the myth of Greece being the birthplace of education, then the thought of God being black would change a whole lot of things.

I love being black. Africa has been blessed beyond measure in many facets of life; blessed with human resources in abundance, natural resources are copious and a galore of intellectual juggernauts whose dexterity hold me spellbound. All these resources were given by God to be harnessed, explored and used for the sole purpose of sustaining His creation. Our forebears did try their best in the maintenance of these gifts, everything went on smoothly, and they were at ease with the beauty of nature which they admired with great devotion.

Suddenly, there arrived men whose colour contradicted theirs, whose language they understood not, whose clothing differed and whose God was Supreme. Africans due to their nature of hospitality, embraced these strangers with a welcome kiss. Many persons today think of that kiss as being “crazy”.

The sincere kiss from Africans was turned to the betrayal kiss like that of Judas, a kiss that became even more painful than the stab of Caesar by his boon companion, Brutus. These men in a trice, sapped the vigour of our youths in enslavement, the gifts given by God to be harnessed were exploited, we had no say over our acreages, our rulers became vassals, our queens became maids, the altars of our forebears were desecrated and our fate was doom.

However, when I sit back and reflect, I do bless God for the gifts of intellect which He has lavished on Africans. I also thank our heroes who fought for our independence. Indeed, they taught us that the coinage of Edward Bulwer-Lytton “The pen is mightier than the sword” is not only idealistic but could be realistic.

Today, we rule our world. Indeed, we are “free”, but enslaved; enslaved by greed, enslaved by clannishness, enslaved by corruption and above all, our youths, our future, our hope for tomorrow, are enslaved by “trivialities.” With these evidence, one is tempted to give a strong credence to the writing of Jean Jacque Rousseau “man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.”

A good chunk of my academic pursuit has been in Africa (Nigeria). During the course of my study, I discovered that Africans have “excellent brains.” My contact with some South Africans and Ghanaians in the nursery, a good rapport with some Cameroonian and Equatorial Guinean students in the Secondary and the excellent relationship which I still relish with some of them has proven without reasonable doubt that these guys are really talented! My Nigerian brothers/sisters were and are still exceptional.

Blacks today produce excellent personalities, the likes of Obama, Ben Carson, Philip Emeagwali, etc. But a great majority of us are doomed to ill augury; the future is indeed bleak. Yet, I have a strong conviction that all hope is not lost.Recently, I read about a ten year old Nigerian in Diaspora by name Esther Okade, who has been described as “a marvellous mathematical mind.” She sat for her first math GSCE exam, a British high school qualification, at Ounsdale High School in Wolverhampton at the age of six, where she received a C–grade, she tried again the next year and got an A- grade. She also attempted an A-level math exam at the age of nine and bagged a B-grade. This is just one out of many Africans who are immensely blessed.

From my daily encounter, I have come in contact with very smart and intelligent African youths. But, one thing I have discovered is that about 70% of our youths have misplaced their values, and one of the significant values displaced is time. Time, said William Penn, is what we want most, but what we use worst. A writer once advised that everyone should know the value of time; snatch, seize and enjoy every moment of it.

No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination and most significantly, we should never put off till tomorrow what we can do today. But the heart rending questions remain – How much time do our youths put into study? How much time do we allot to the Author of time? How much time do we dedicate to our places of work? How much time do we give to our environs and our neighbours? The answers, my friends, are blowing in the wind.

Every important event you attend today, the

“African time syndrome” echoes time and again, but you can never hear that syndrome when it comes to trifles. The church is bedevilled with this syndrome, the schools are plagued by it, hospitals are discombobulated and offices are the leading lights of this syndrome. Every day we produce new versions of this syndrome, we live this syndrome daily and a few even “succeed” with this syndrome.

But, how many times have our youths applied this African time to football matches? How many times have they lived out this syndrome when it comes to their weekend football bets and gambling? How many times has this syndrome been applied to immoral behaviours like sexual immorality, cultism, drug abuse, exam malpractices and the likes? The answer once again, is blowing in the wind!

Time makes the differences between us. While some use time, many abuse it and others misuse it. Not to be at the receiving end of time, you must always use time so as not to abuse it. One unfortunate thing about time is that you cannot make up for lost time, the clock never stops ticking but all you can do is to better the future. Yeah, time flies, but you are the pilot!

In the end, you will have no pangs of conscience for not having passed one more trial, not winning one more time over someone, or closing one more treaty. “Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present” – Roger Babson

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