I may not be able to clearly explain my claim but I have come to realize as a public commentator and analyst that words whether written or spoken, generally have a considerable impact on human beings thus whenever I am given the opportunity to publicly speak, I do not take the opportunity lightly.
The title of this publisher’s desk; ‘Face-me-I-face-you or Face-to-face’, is likely to resonate more with Nigerians as it is a term for a specific type of residential tenement in Nigeria, where a group of one or two-room apartments have their entrances facing each other along a walkway or passage which leads to the main entrance of the building. “Face-me-I-face-you” buildings are a very common architectural design in major urban settlements in Nigeria; the flats are low rent and are commonly rented to low-income residents because of their affordability.
In this type of architecture, the toilet(s), bathroom(s) and kitchen spaces are usually shared among tenants in a yard (a term for a single block or row of apartments). The shared bathrooms and kitchens are referred to as “general bathroom/toilet”. I was privileged to have lived in a ‘face-me-I-face-you’, apartment while growing up, so I consider it expedient to state here that it was not or bad there were several critical life lessons that we learnt leaving in those apartments that have clearly positively impacted our lives.
One thing that we obviously learned was how to live together circumstantially or coexist. As stated above we shared almost everything with our neighbours thus privacy was a rare thing, there was no place to hide and one could rarely hide anything from other neighbours since, in the true sense of the word we lived in each other’s face, my neighbour was in my face as much as I was in his or her face. It was truly a face to face situation. Therefore, to survive, we just needed to learn how to peacefully live together.
I guess this is why I find it easy to look beyond the general parochial bias of ethnicity, religiosity, and tribalism in my relationship with others. Although it might sound immodest of me the truth is I didn’t grow up recognizing the religion or tribes of our neighbours, these didn’t matter to me then they can’t matter now. I have always believed that nobody is perfect thus my life mantra is; ‘live and let live, I know I must tolerate the opinions and behaviours of others so that they will in turn tolerate my own. As it is popularly said there is unity in diversity, we just need to try and we will see that there can be harmony and unity between dissimilar individuals or groups. We all are different, originating from different cultural, social, religious, political, ideological and/or psychological backgrounds which are essentially meant to enrich our interactions and not divide us or cause a crisis. My point simply is GOO created us living and non-living things to live together on planet earth sharing a lot of things in common, we all need to realize that globally, we are all neighbours living in a bigger ‘face-me-I-face-you’ and the earlier we learn how to peacefully coexist the better it will be for all of us.
In the cover story of this edition of IWA, we are beaming our searchlight on how President Ahmed Abiy of Ethiopia who got the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for ending a long-standing territorial dispute with neighbouring Eritrea, has since last year November continued to fuel a full-fledged war between the country’s central government which he leads as president and the Tigrayans from the northern part of the same country. You, our readers are our king, you are the reason why we are still in business. I honestly wish we were completely out of the Covid-19 crisis but we obviously are not so as we all prepare to celebrate Christmas I plead with you to please protect yourself and be safety-conscious. Till I come back to your face next year, I wish you a very prosperous and fruitful 2022 in advance. Have a very pleasurable reading experience