The Neutrality of Excellence. Lessons of COVID-19 
The value of people and things are sometimes measured in crisis situations. The value people have for you and your relationship with them could be determined much better with crisis.
As I said in the Economic Lessons from COVID-19 that as very important as religious organisations and activities are, recent events during the pandemic showed people and governments in several nations that public religious gatherings were replaceable by religious gatherings at home. Online broadcast of church services even turned out to have greater reach than the ones we did with only our members within the confines of our church buildings.
I found out during the invasion of Iraq by the United States, there was an instruction by international organisations that bombs should not be dropped in the Ur of the Chaldeans; that is Abraham’s city. It is one of the oldest and continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is an international treasure.
Nelson Mandela was an international treasure. You can have new presidents of South Africa; yes they are very important people when they are in office, but they are not Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was a phenomenon, a reference point, and a standard. You can not replace him.
Fidel Castro was such a phenomenon, at least, to the Cubans and to many—of us—Africans. You can have new Cuban presidents, but you can never replace Fidel Castro. He was a phenomenon, a national treasure, and a global icon.
Che Guevara is another symbolic person for every revolutionary in South America and in the African struggle for independence. You can not replace or replicate him.
I saw a video of the former president of Ghana controlling traffic in a city in Ghana, and people gathered to watch him exhibit the spirit of leadership. You could see the admiration displayed by the people. They called him Papa J. There was no security entourage or sirens. J. J. Rawlings is irreplaceable. I heard one of the young boys say, “We honour you”, and I wept, even as I am doing now. That’s what I want to be said of me while I’m still alive.
Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso is another irreplaceable person, not only for his nation, but in the hearts of young Africans. We saw a model and a ray of hope in him until he was betrayed and killed by his friends.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti is another irreplaceable icon. Fela was a global sensation. I don’t care about his excesses because I understand that geniuses suffer from borderline insanity sometimes. If you listen to his music, they are still as relevant today, as if today was then. Fela had a prophetic spirit on him when he sang. His words have come to pass very accurately.
Archbishop Benson Idahosa is another irreplaceable icon. In several spheres of life, he was extraordinary. He became a reference point in several aspects of life. People are still asking what would Papa Idahosa have done in this calamity that has befallen the church in Nigeria.
Read previous Lessons From COVID-19 here.
In a previous post, there was the video of a Nigerian colorectal surgeon, Professor Ogunbiyi, in the Royal Free Hospital, UK, who was discharged from hospital after spending weeks in the ICU. The best hands were mobilised to attend to him when he was sick because they said he was irreplaceable. He was a medical treasure to the UK Health services. I wrote about the Neutrality of Nature, but there is also the neutrality of excellence. People from all colours and creeds came out to celebrate his recovery. I wept again.
When I see excellence, I shed tears. I still can’t explain the reason why I weep. Maybe I see myself in them and I wish I could excel like them. I always imagine myself or my children being celebrated by humanity for being a blessing to the human race, irrespective of race and creed. I hope the remaining part of my life will bring joy to people.
Nobody can replace Jomo Kenyatta or Haile Selassie. There cannot be another Edson Arantes do Nascimento aka Pele. Mary Slessor is irreplaceable in the history of Nigeria. There can never be another Martin Luther King Jr. in the hearts of Africans and those who strive for social justice.
Don’t just be another person, be an important person. Don’t just be an important person; be a relevant person. But above that, be an irreplaceable person.
God Bless You.
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