A Finer World Is Possible – With a Little Imagination
Late Beatles iconic songster, Mr. John Lennon, came up with his transcendental composition, Imagine, in 1971 when the world appeared to be highly charged and polarized between the two competing superpowers, the USA and Soviet Union. Vietnam War was still raging and Nigeria just pulled out of a 30-month genocidal mayhem perpetrated against the ethnic nationalities of its Eastern Region, particularly the Igbo, after premature demise of estimated 2-3 million lives who perished from starvation, disease and hostile firepower. At the time, most of African continent was still under colonial rule by former European empires. In a reflective mood, the writer of “Imagine” deployed his star power to contemplate a world in which all well-known causes of strife and conflicts have been mitigated. The Beatles’ lead singer was realistic enough to suspect that rest of the world would dismiss most of his wishful imaginations as a mere dream. He, however, still hoped that even the worst skeptics would, when all things are considered, join in his dream so as to hopefully make the world to be one.
Forty-six years later, Saint Obi of Nollywood fame revisited John Lennon’s “Imagine” from the perspective of a Nigerian who perceives himself to be entrapped in a country crippled by chronic perturbations like Boko Haram terrorism, lack of electricity, mass poverty in a land of plenty, human trafficking, religious bigotry, injustice predicated on double standards, quota system etc. Imitating the Beatles’ original, Saint Obi imagined aloud what it would look like to see Nigeria have uninterrupted electric power supply 24/7 without having to bemoan National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) for all its razzmatazz. He also went as far as to imagine Nigeria’s central government signing a peace treaty with the Boko Haram whose sole quest is to take over Nigeria and turn it into a Shari’ah-abiding Islamic state.
He went far afield to imagine Israelis and Palestinians sharing the Eternal City, Jerusalem, in peace; rapprochement between ISIS and the Western democracies, Ukraine and Russia as well as between Americans and Talibans. The Igbo songster imagined the world in which all religions worshiped together in peace. He imagined a scenario where there are no refugees, racism, guns and weapons of war. The complex and difficult part has, of course, always been to convert the artiste’s dream into reality.
The musical arrangement, which features a blend of wind and string instruments, is quite imaginative. Saint Obi’s dreams, just like those of late John Lennon, are shared widely by the overwhelming majority of Nigerians as well as men and women and goodwill worldwide. If only we can imagine it, we can actualize it.