The world’s most famous set of awards are the Nobel Prizes. Presented for outstanding achievement in literature, peace, economics, medicine and the sciences, they were created a century ago by Alfred B. Nobel (1833-1896), a man who amassed his fortune by producing explosives. Among other things, Nobel invented dynamite.
What motivated this Swedish munitions manufacturer to dedicate his fortune to honoring and rewarding those who benefited humanity?
The creation of the Nobel Prizes came about through a chance event. When Nobel’s brother died, a newspaper ran a long obituary of Alfred Nobel, believing that it was he who had passed away. The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived.
When Alfred read this, he was stunned what people thought about him and did not want to be remembered this way.
He invented the Nobel Prize to encourage outstanding performance in selected fields of study including “peace” . Alfred Nobel rewrote history of himself and today not many remembers Noble as the man who invented the dynamite but more as the man who founded the famous “Noble Prize”.
Our country’s president is currently on a sick leave in the UK. While there, rumours of his death filtered in and many Nigerians reacted differently. I have read many of what should pass as obituaries for president Buhari and they truly did not reflect good about him. If I were in president Buhari’s shoes today, I would be worried. I would do what Alfred Noble did two centuries ago.
President Buhari is one Nigerian too lucky. After ruling Nigeria as a military dictator in 1983, persistence, luck and the the goodwill of Nigerians saw him again as Nigeria’s president after the 2015 elections. He promised to live and rule differently from the way he did in 1983.
True to his words, president Buhari is living differently than he did in 1983. While Nigerians expected the seemingly reserved Buhari to lead a modest lifestyle for which he was revered for, he is swimming in luxury and has several private jets, more cooks and bigger budgets for his upkeeps. This would perhaps be no problem save the fact that while he lavishes in luxury, his countrymen are suffering in abject penury occasioned by his bad leadership and wrong policies. Buhari is ruling Nigeria in the same way he ruled in 1983.
Under Buhari now, the people are living in constant fear. The economy is in shambles, inflation is at its peak and the country is in recession for the first time in history and president Buhari does not seem to care.
Human rights violation is at its peak and his government is the highest offender. There is bias in policies and implementation and nepotism thrives in the seat of power. The country is in a very bad shape in all facets.
There is often this notion that Nigerian presidents are often kept out of touch with the people by a cabal. Should this be the case of Buhari, this occasion of his death rumours should be an eye opener for him and his families to reflect on salient issues about his style of leadership and the people’s view of him.
Can Buhari borrow a leaf from Alfred Nobel’s life? Can Buhari rewrite his obituaries while still alive like Nobel did?
It is never too late to rewrite history!
Comrade Phils writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.