Over the Years I have looked up to men from my lowly position of boy but from that stead another looked with me and his name Nnamdi Ehirim Opeyemi .
He is a friend , brother and most importantly a compatriot. I have searched for words to express my distaste and disdain for the events that have occurred in Nigeria of late.
He Nnamdi on the other hand could muster a verse or two and this is what he has to say :
“On the 14th of April, in the early hours of the day, a suicide bomber took a piss on our nation, Nigeria – our peace, our unity, our freedom and everything we have worth standing for. Over 70 lives were lost, over a hundred were injured. I did not hear of it till about twelve hours later, I had two exams that day and had cut off myself from all sorts of social media – which was pretty much the whole world, and when I did hear if it, It was a fleeting trickle of a tweet amidst hundred s of others on sex, football and the banalities of Nigerian youth. I put in more deliberate effort into sourcing for information, results yielded from the Associated Press, Foreign News outlets and the occasional concerned Nigeria cursing the inefficiencies of the government. And I wondered, what was the cost of a Nigerian life? Not to the foreign press, not to the Islamist radicals, not to Niger Delta militants, but to each and every one of us Nigerians. Does the life of our brothers and sisters have any value to us?
I hate bad news, it gets me in the worst mood, and I could not afford to be in the worst mood simply because I had two more exams the next day. So I said a prayer on the deaths, put on my headphones and indulged in some feel good music – Otis Redding, the King of Soul. The first song on my Otis catalogue was Try a little tenderness, the song mixed and sampled by Kanye West and Jay-Z into the Grammy award winning Otis. But instead of soothing, the words haunted my spirit and my negligence of value of the Nigerian life.
Oh, (she) may be weary
(Young girls) they do get weary
Wearing that same old shaggy dress, yeah yeah
But when (she) gets weary
Try a little tenderness, yeah yeah
You know (she’s) waiting
For things that (she’ll) never, never, never, never possess, yeah yeah
But while (she’s) there waiting, without them
Try a little tenderness
It’s not just sentimental, no, no, no
(She) has her grief and care, yeah yeah yeah
But the soft words, they are spoke so gentle, yeah
It makes it easier, easier to bear, yeah
You won’t regret it, no, no
Some (girls) they don’t forget it
Love is their only happiness, yeah
But it’s all so easy
All you gotta do is try, try a little tenderness, yeah
All you gotta do is, man, hold (her) where you want (her)
Squeeze (her), don’t tease (her), never leave (her)
Get to (her), try, try
Just try a little tenderness, ooh yeah yeah yeah
You got to know how to love (her), man, you’ll be surprised, man
You’ve got to squeeze (her), don’t tease (her), never leave
You’ve got to hold (her) and rub (her) softly
Try a little tenderness, ooh yeah yeah yeah
You’ve got to rub (her) gentle man, all you gotta do, no no
You’ve got to love (her), squeeze (her), don’t tease her
Gotta try nah nah nah, try
Try a little tenderness, yeah, watch her groove
You’ve gotta to know what to do, man
Take this advice
The lyrics reads like a love song that it is, but if you substitute the references to the woman muse which are in brackets with “our brothers and sisters in Nothern Nigeria the moral of the story shifts a little and the guilt grows on us, like it did on me.
On the day, the President showed up but appeared as redundant as the very deceased he came to peer over, could he have been a little more pro-active and Tried a little tenderness?
Our Traditional Chieftain of Ibadan celebrated his birthday the next day in lavish style with friends and dignitaries the very next day when the nation was supposed in mourning, could he have been more subtle and Tried a little tenderness?
I go to a Christian Mission university, a customary weekly service was held the next day and not a single formal reference or prayer was made on the issue. The only informal mention were testimonies from people “who thanked God their family who normally passed through the attacked bus stop were spared”. Almost as if that was enough, like the men and women who died were not brothers and sisters in our new Nigeria, like they were not worth mourning, like their Nigerian lives had no value to us. Could we have at least said a prayer and Tried a little tenderness?
We seem content pointing blame fingers just like we did over Biafra, over the Niger Delta and over the thousands of insurgency killings in the north. We seem content watching as our brothers and sisters die with more care for sex, football and the banalities of life and media. But if there is any significant time to show our love to our brothers and sisters in the north and make them believe we are standing with them together as a nation it is now. Could we make a statement of love and unity and just Try a little tenderness?”
Tweet at Nnamdi @MinoEhirim