By HME Ojochogu
The eagle has the longest life-span amongst its species. It can live up to 70 years. But to reach this age, the eagle must make a hard decision.
In its 40th year, the eagle’s long and flexible talons will no longer be able to grab preys which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent. Its thick and heavy feathers become stuck to its chest making it difficult to fly.
The eagle is then left with only two options: to just wait for death or go through a painful process of change which lasts 150 days. This change process requires that the eagle fly to a mountaintop and sit on its nest.
There the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. After plucking it out, the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back and then it will pluck out its talons. When its new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its old and aged feathers. And after five months, the eagle is ready to take its famous flight of rebirth and live for another 30 years.
Lessons from The Eagle’s Rebirth
The eagle had to decide to undergo the rebirth process or die at that stage of it’s life. Let me make something clear here, the decision was a hard one to make because it knew what it would take to complete it’s rebirth. But it made the decision anyway because it was the best decision it could make at that point of it’s life.
After taking this hard decision then comes the follow up action plan. The truth is that when you decide to carry out something, the negative things that might come from following through on that decision can cause you to second guess yourself. Hence it takes determination to make your decision a tangible one. Like in the rebirth story of the eagle, it followed through on the decision to undergo the rebirth process because it was determined to live a little longer.
The eagle had to leave everyone and everything it knew and flew to the mountain top. This it did, not because it wanted to but because it had to avoid seemingly empathetic platitudes which would have derailed him from his goals.
Realise that it will get worse before it gets better
One thing I know as a rule of the thumb is that things get worse before it gets better. This can be called the trying time in someone’s life. Think of the natural gold which has to go through fire before it becomes a fine, shiny and attractive finished product that people will spend thousands to acquire.
The eagle had to endure excruciating pain as it underwent the rebirth for the greater good. Imagine how it felt to pluck out the talons, feathers or even breaking out the old and bent beak.
That’s life! It’s never fair. But once you have this rooted in your mind that it will get worse before it finally gets better, then you will always be hopeful no matter the predicament you find yourself.
Change is a Constant Phenomenon
Change is constant! this is now a cliché but I will not stop saying it. Why? because change indeed is constant. Change can be anticipated or unexpected. As in the case of a decision taken towards achieving a particular goal, change is anticipated. You planned for the change and so, a prepared mind is what change meets. Change on the other hand is unexpected when one does not think or plan for change to occur. May I mention that inasmuch as it’s unexpected, it could turn out to be a positive change though might not be fully utilized as it was not expected from the onset.
The eagle after five months of undergoing excruciating pain finally takes its famous rebirth flight. That was the change that occurred after 150 days.
We learn that change is something we should not grow weary of in life because it will continue to occur while we are living. Yes! change stops when you are dead.
Kogi East is at that critical stage of the Eagle rebirth and just like the Eagle at 40, the time for regional rebirth has come and whether we are ready or not, whether we like it or not. We have to take this hard decision no matter the cost and irrespective of the shenanigans of our political leaders, godfathers or Mentors (if any) who have collectively and woefully failed us.
I must commend the front-line political enlightenment drive by some of our socio-cultural groups and individuals. However, Igala land still has great work to do because even after the participation and the attendant contributions of the youths of Kogi East, majority of the comments I get as feedback personally and on my Facebook page is all about “hiding my voters card in the bank vault, shrines and some other laughable and juvenile options awaiting 2019. But it does not start there neither does it end there.
I was privileged to have attended incognito the Kogi East political summit and must commend our erudite Senior Advocate of Nigeria, J.S. Okutepa who was the lead speaker. His presentation, though digressional and off the cuff, was spot on. Some of the questions he asked us viz-a-vis “oma’ede syndrome, rent-a-crowd, thuggery etc are still begging for answers.
He advised an ideological and attitudinal change, everyday I look around hoping against hope that we take this message to the social media and to our sociocultural group gatherings at home and abroad preaching it and leading by example. In vain I hope.
The Ojuju Agbadufu-led Great Igala Conversation (GIC) which had a very impressive build up has come and gone. it was a huge gathering indeed with all the who-is-who in the political, traditional, entrepreneurial and leadership class present.
I was there too, listened intently and like the cerebral ostrich, we hid our ineptitude, thinking no one will see it while we talked away the failures of others and the reason why we lost our privileged position to the other side.
We conveniently forgot that after the heart-breaking death of the winner of the gubernatorial election, it was declared inconclusive. In the follow up election, Dekina LG alone delivered massively for ‘Enemune’ even with their own on the ballot paper needing just a few votes for Igala to clinch it. Yet there was a great outcry when a misguided om’Ayegba said ‘enemuneme’!
From my vintage position and with the privilege of drinking from the branded GIC water bottle I pondered on the question posed by Dr Victor Adoji – “uja’ache, ya ja che?
Then again Dr Armstrong Idachaba (my most admired historian) with his sonorous voice which has a way of making Igala history so real and wondrous to me raised the pertinent questions in his lead paper presentation – the issue of mentor/mentored.
I follow the school of thought that supports taking over Lugard’s house as a major first step but it does not start there. We need to follow up closely the processes for selection of candidates vying for political positions from councillorship, LG Chairmen through to State/NASS and governorship. We need to know their pedigree, penchant, antecedents and capabilities to deliver on the electoral mandate when entrusted with our votes.
My main worry is that our best eleven (11) do not always make it to the ballot papers majorly because the first question an aspirant with a heart of service who offers himself is asked is… “elé tugbo abogij mèé? Êne k’abogijo chi onwu alebo ó” (have you gone to the Elders? It is who the Elders choose that we follow) ….and of course the Elders will not support a candidate that will challenge or outshine them with infrastructural development and diminish their stranglehold on our collective patrimony when he gets to office.
They prefer a mediocre who will do their bidding – that is the burden of politics we carry in Kogi East and until we remove this burden off our shoulder, the circle of banal, ineptitude and poor political class/governance will continue whether we get back Lugard’s house or not.
Why is change needed? Many times, in order to survive we have to start a change process. We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. We need to get rid of old habits and past traditions that do not unite us. It is only when we are freed from our past burdens, failures, ineptitude, mistakes and mediocrity that we can take advantage of the present pain to take that hard decision for regional rebirth.
The philosophical message behind the eagle rebirth story – that we often need to undergo a painful and prolonged process of change in our lives in order to arise, grow and move forward. Uja’ache aja che if we allow ourselves to undergo that intellectual, political and ideological rebirth.
God bless you!
HME2, a political analyst, writes from Ega, Idah.