Month: June 2012

Superheroes: A case of ‘maybe we do need them’.

What would our world be if we had Superheroes? I ask myself that question quite a lot.
As a kid growing up in a somewhat sheltered environment, my parents never really exposed me to the harsh realities of this world soon enough, it was more of a ‘stay in doors all day’ kind of life in our 3 bedroom flat back then.
Soon enough, Dad started coming home with books and comics for me to immerse myself in; DC comics were the rage back then and I seemed to never get enough of them.
I was introduced to the fictional world of superheroes, spandex wearing men and women who could perform superhuman feats, saving the world was a day’s job and they barely broke a sweat.

In a lot of ways I admired and wished I could be like them; leaping over tall buildings, lift massive objects and shooting beams from my hands and eyes. it didn’t end there, their characters and personalities was always something to aspire to. Men and Women, who, mostly by coincidence came to be entrusted with great abilities that could better their lives as well as those of their loved ones, they chose instead to dedicate themselves to fighting injustice and evil. I wanted to be that person, the guy who always realised that with great power comes great responsibility, the alien being who after growing up on earth was compelled to save it from forces within and beyond determined to subject humans to servitude and destruction.

Coolest thing ever.

At the end of the day I had to accept that Superheroes didn’t exist, that they were a creation of people’s imagination.

Many years on, after being further assimilated into the real human society of today, especially one like Nigeria, I wonder why we really don’t have superheroes.
Why men & women with such selflessness do not actually walk amongst us. Forget the ridiculous costumes or the poor disguises.
Who wouldn’t be glad to see a man in a red cape flying across the sky, heeding the distress calls of a hapless pilot flying a plane with several people on board.
Or some sort of masked vigilante taking on daredevil bank robbers having a field day in some under policed south western state in broad daylight.

Considering the effectiveness of the authorities and their attempts to govern us as a people, I’m looking back to those days when I actually wished for the existence of Superheroes. Its inexplicable, yet its more than far fetched.

Government has all but stated that they are incapable of handling Nigeria’s multi- layered problems.

You wonder what led these great artists and story tellers to create these characters and imaginary universes that have gone on to span so much commercial success and feverish followership. Well, I think its the realisation that one has to believe in something bigger than himself/herself. The knowledge that a desire to be rich, famous or powerful is but a spec of dust in the grand scheme of things. A very selfish idea that, at the end of the day leaves only you high above ground. But is that a worthy motive? Is it honourable? It is far from the qualities of a Superhero.

Nigeria needs superheroes, well, at least men who think like superheroes or the creators of superhero stories. Men and women who see and do things not for their own ambition or self actualisation, but rather for the greater good of the people around them.

We all need that paradigm shift.

I can proudly say that Nigeria could do far better with one Bruce Wayne than we’ve ever done with 10 Adeboyes, Oyedepos and Chris Oyakilohmes.

Some readers might feel offended, but hear me out. These are special men of God who despite their many festivals, seminars, retreats & Holy Ghost festivals have not been able to put a dent in the mentality of their vast followership. The people who look up to these men for guidance and spiritual growth have become stagnated and self centred. Their growth, if there is any, does not extend beyond their homes and churches. The continued growth of these churches does not directly impact positively on society.

I point this out because, our spiritual leaders in my estimation are supposed to be the closest thing we have to Superheroes. In my opinion, they speak for the greatest and realest Superhero that ever existed; Jesus Christ. A man who sought no personal wealth or glory, but gave his life on the cross for the world and on the 3rd day, rose up from the dead, I mean this dude walked on water, rose people from the dead, healed the sick and even knew how to fly (I mean he ascended into heaven). He had 12 disciples who taking a cue from him and after furthermore being possessed by the holy spirit, performed great wonders and miracles. Yes, real superheroes. They had to hide sometimes, meaning in some instances, they probably had to take on secret identities.
Yet, this tradition, this way of standing up for the people has not entirely being passed down to present day leaders. No more Superheroes.

Not that I ask that these men of God create armies of superheroes, but, rather, that they inspire men and women in their churches to stand up for greater values.
The idea is not just to stop at obeying the 10 commandments alone.

“Love your neighbour as thy self” has never being so ignored as it has been in this century and age. That in itself is the biggest problem I have with these men of God.

Well, not all hope is lost entirely. There still exist a few Heroes. Men and Women, who by mere application of skill and drive desire to make the world better or at least come to the aid of people in distressed areas. Men and women who volunteer in the red cross and red crimson or the doctors who apply their skills while working with the world group ‘Doctors without borders’. They are real heroes. Not fighting anybody’s war or doing anybody’s bidding. Just a simple desire to help society back on its feet.

I might have not gotten across to some of you, but the few I have reached might understand me. We don’t have to be able to leap to great heights to change the world, neither do we have to believe in a superhuman being to. We simply need each other.

The idea is to be less about our own gains and more about society’s gain.

But here we are, existing at a near zombie like state. Raising our voices only when we desire to blame our leaders for our repeated misfortunes.

I dare you all to ask yourself; Do I think like a Superhero? Do I believe in aspiring to something greater than me?

If your answer is no, then I only have one thing to say to you; You’re one step closer to becoming a villain.