Of course, you already know that I have appropriated the title of Michael Jackson’s famous song. So, who is the man in the mirror? Well, that man is You. There are probably a few exceptions but when we look in the mirror, we see what we want to see. We delude ourselves that we’re the best thing on this side of the earth. The mirror, in a sense, is an object of self deception. That is in absolute agreement with the fact that some mirrors distort the reflected image. This, perhaps, is the reason why it is one of man’s most famous inventions. I picked up a line from a book sometime ago: ‘We are blind to our blindness’. Such powerful words. Let me try to paraphrase that: We are ignorant and unaware that we are. That’s why the Yoruba’s often say: ‘ Ipako onipako laari, aaki ri tara eni’. It is easy to point out another’s flaws.
The man in the mirror,sometimes, makes gargantuan mistakes yet chooses to wriggle his way out instead of going the path of an unreserved apology. The revered Bishop Oyedepo once read a newspaper article upside down. His mistake started the moment he referred to the author of the article as ‘one Tunji Dare’. Anybody who understands English can tell that ‘one’ as used here suggests that Tunji Dare is little known, maybe obscure, in fact. Error one. Tunji Dare is a both a professor and a famed satirist who has been in the game for over thirty years. So, the article talked about the fact that Buhari has been cloned and that a Sudanese is the one at the helm of affairs. The author went on to provide ‘proof’ to substantiate his claims. The Bishop misinterpreted the article and told his mammoth congregation that the man in Aso Rock is Jubril al Sudan and not Buhari. He shored up his claims with ‘ facts’ from Professor Dare’s article. Error two. Bishop Oyedepo encouraged his congregation to pray against modern day slavery and they prayed hard. He missed the satiric bent of the piece.
If our knowledge of a particular field is limited, it behoves us to find out from those who know. The Bishop certainly didn’t. His media and editorial board chairman, Professor Folarin came hard in his defence. He claimed the Bishop knew the piece was a satire. Now, this is the error of errors. Which is easier? To tell a blatant lie or tell the truth. Why deify the man and give folks the impression he is incapable of making mistakes? Let’s be honest, it is easier to lie. It is divine, however, to tell the truth and admit we had goofed. There is an Oyedepo in all of us. The man in the mirror rarely admits publicly that he’s wrong. It is instructive to note that the idea that Buhari is dead and has been replaced by Jubril originated from Nnamdi Kanu’s twisted mind. Sadly, many people still believe Buhari is dead and that the whole world, including America’s king of rants Donald Trump, is enmeshed in a conspiracy of silence.
The man in the mirror is incredibly selfish. Oscar Wilde has provided a sound definition of selfishness: ‘ Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.’ Nigerian politics is a study in selfishness. When Governor Ambode’s rift with his god father became public knowledge and the former realised the governorship was slipping away, he quickly called a press conference where he thoroughly slandered Sanwo-olu his opponent at the primaries. He claimed the man was once arrested for spending fake dollars in America. He also told us his opponent was mentally unfit to govern because he had been a patient at the Gbagada General Hospital. In the characteristic manner of politicians, he added:’ We don’t want to talk about all the things we know’. The question is, what’s there to talk about again? Whether we agree or not, there is an Ambode in all of us. The degree to which he manifests, however, varies.
The man in the mirror is often deceptive. When we were still in the north, one of my friends had a girlfriend whom he loved immensely. I remember on one occasion, he collected his meagre allowance of N9,500 and sent it straight to the girl. My friend was so sure they would end up together. After all, they met in the university and both were members of the same fellowship. Both were committed; both blazed amazing spiritual fire. My friend was posted to serve in Kebbi. She was sent to Kano. I have often maintained that service year is the litmus test of all relationships. Any relationship that survives it may last a life time. Long story short, all the while that my friend was sending money to the girl, she was warming the bosom of another another Christian brother. Perhaps to a lesser degree, we’re mostly like this lady. When we stand before the mirror we know who we are but that’s not what we see. We are blind to our faults but can easily pinpoint other people’s infelicities.
The man in the mirror must change. By now, it is probably apparent to all Nigerians that the present government is just as clueless as a man in a strange land. It is an overstated fact that we must be the change we want to see in the world. It is possible for the earth to be Heaven’s anteroom if we all strive to be a little better than we were the previous day. Just think about it, the man in the mirror must exhibit God’s nature; not his own wicked propensities.