First, Apologize for this column’s intermittent appearance, and then later disappearing for weeks. Some persons have even sent messages or phone calls to check on me, and I salute them. I will ever cherish the phone call from Chief P. A. Dunkwu, the Odogwu Abi of Okpanam who turned 92 recently.
He said he had to phone me because “na anusiman onui” as we say in the Anioma Delta North variant of the Igbo language meaning “I have not heard from you”. Yes, he was the Principal of St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku, my secondary school, and I have written about both the school and himself here.
There I was in bed, set upon by shoulder and neck pains; truly tormented, afflicted, stricken, and only propped up in the world of sanity by serious pain-killers. I went through two types of neck braces, soft and hard, and none could really do.
To eat was pure “wahala”, to brush the teeth was palaver, but what I hated the most was the ring of the phone for even to speak brought real shudders of pain Even to drink water or answer the phone was a gruesome ordeal. Then, the healing began when I agreed to lie back and rest.
As I gradually returned to the internet discussion groups, chanced upon an article that trended recently in the internet discussion groups, That article provided the operative word for today’s article’s article: “idiot”; an address which Mr. Austin Okere delivered in July last year at Bridge House College, Ikoyi, Lagos, titled “OF LEADERS, THE IDIOTS, TRIBESMEN, AND CITIZENS”.
Okere said, the “idiots” as viewed in ancient Greece are “not necessarily mentally deficient, but rather one who is a totally private person, a totally selfish person and a totally self-centered person.
The idiot is always out for his personal gain and his personal interest, he does not have a public philosophy, he has no character, no knowledge, and no skills to live and to be able to contribute in a flourishing society or community.
He is all out for his personal pleasures and his personal treasures. The Greeks said the idiot is just an upgraded barbarian – you see them every day at the toll gate. They will form tadpole queues and drive against traffic. They toss litter freely out of their cars – the IDIOTS!”
Tadpole queues? Very enchanting! And enchanting is its message for Nigeria.
The world learned democracy from the Greeks who learned it from the City-State of Athens. Athenian democracy rested on the Ekklesia (male citizens) or the sovereign Assembly, the real governing body.
Those eligible to attend the Ekklesia but refused to do so were labeled as ‘idiotai’ (which meant ‘private citizen’), from which the word ‘idiot’ is derived. The Athenians must have viewed the idiotai with scorn for the word to have acquired its present meaning.
And I do not expect the upscale Abuja Grand Square Supermarket and Stores, to view the idiots under its roof favorably too. Grand Square stated this online: “The company leverages its expertise in importation and knowledge of the Nigerian market to fulfill (sic) the needs of the consumers”.
Trusting in this promise, I purchased a phone there recently. As one its dual sim card slots were faulty, I reported it at the store and expected quick handling of that obviously little problem as the phone came with a two-year warranty.
But as the seller which obviously did his business under the Grand Square roof, because its receipt was not Grand Square’s, kept finding reasons to keep away from me. Last week Saturday when I meet him, after having left the phone for him, he explained that the Abuja Infinix Service station does not open on Saturdays.
He insisted I should leave the phone with him for a week and I refused. When I asked for the address of the Infinix Service Centre, he said he did not know it; I got it from the SPAR supermarket at the CEIDI Centre.
When I asked for the Grand Square management office to report the matter, a fair-complexioned woman who claimed to be a Customer Relations person, refused to show me the office, saying she would solve the problem. And she demanded that I should leave the phone with the seller and return in a day or two.
When I told her the seller had contacted a private fellow named Peter at Wuse Two phone repair hub should repair it, instead of an authorized Infinix Service Centre, to fix the phone, she uttered the most idiotic thing I have heard: “that should not matter to you; all you want is for the phone to be fixed”.
The Grand Square has been an upscale shopping center in Abuja since the year 2000. It should not allow idiots to spoil its name and it should ensure that those who set up shop under its roof should operate according to the best marketing standards.
I have heard that a company owned by the late Ide Ahaba, Chief Sunny Odogwu, operates the Grand Square. If so, management should guarantee that no idiots are allowed to savage the high standards for which the man stood for; he had class!
Why would the seller of a phone under a two-year warranty refuse for days to give a buyer the address of an authorized company repair shop? Why would he insist on taking that phone to his friend and private phone repairer?
And why would a company customer affairs “Madam” see nothing wrong in that? Sorry, the pain is returning and I must take a rest. See you next week, by HIS GRACE.