Thomas Jefferson was a role model of many. He was third American president (1801-1809), highly revered statesman and politician, a farmer, one of the leaders of the 19th century American Revolution, a founding father of the western modern democracy, and a pioneer scholar of his time who advocated for change in the western civilization. He did this by reawakening an existing principle, Democracy.
   At the time, the world was ignorant of this concept. Empires and kingdoms were more prominent and only a few nations existed. It was not that the principle of democracy had not been previously practised. In fact, the Greeks were the first to practise it. Afterwards, the Islamic nation at its climax had developed its own distinct principle of democracy. Jefferson merely brought it into limelight once more by advocating an inalienable principle, equality alongside democracy.



   His approach, however, is more than alluring for a treatise. He postulated the fact that “all men are created equal”. This statement of his was made in his ‘Declaration of independence’ adopted on 4th July, 1776. After that, a wide array of politicians and reckonable figures utilised the statement in speeches. People had equal rights to do and otherwise. Everyone had a free will or may be freedom whether as a citizen or a member of the high-class society. In other words, he advocated humanism- the leadership of humans by humans and for humans. All divine elements were ejected with utmost promptness giving room for secularist humanism.

     Sadly, it was difficult for people to get the message in the statement. Or, they simply created an understanding of it that suited them. Jefferson did not expatiate what he meant beyond stating it in the Declaration. The predominant challenge of the American state at that time as regards the citizenry was slavery and it needed amendment. The other which the Americans did not see as a problem was racism. They realised this only years afterwards. The heavy statement and the ugly trends aged unutilised with the same people. It started from Jefferson himself.

The gaffer was not in any way a direct epitome of his stance. This made him fish food to his critics. Though he hated slavery, he had one of the largest slave possessions in America at that time. He was regarded as a ‘father of slaves’ due to his extreme kindness to them. However, as a man within capacity to change things, he did not do away with slavery, though, slavery with kindness is not in any way comparable to freedom in poverty. People became more confused as his position grew more unclear. Some regarded him a hypocrite while others thought him a blabbermouth. Now, this ‘hero’ would never get a chance to prove his sincerity


   However, people like Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln ensured that the principle further developed, though, like Jefferson, their own conceptions were not satisfactory. Lincoln restricted the scope of the concept, narrowing it down to class. His view of equality was that “all men are created equal”- as regards an inalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness alone. This implied that there were other circumstances such as economy and politics, where people had unequal rights. Or, as people grew up, the strength of their respective claims to equality should narrow down to what is available to their social class.
As for Franklin, he explained the concept further and created an unprecedented dimension of it. He stood for equality in all ramifications and circumstances for all of mankind. He was an epitome of his stand too. However, the fact that his society remained a sharp contrast questions his uncompassionate and unrealistic methodology. Even if he was helpless regarding the situation, he could still have propagated the concept in a way not inconsistent with reality. Those who were clearly enlightened at the time would have entertained countless questions as regards the essence of such unrealistic propagation.

    Subsequently, the world saw equality as a right which only accrues to a person when he competes with his contemporary or equal (in status). When up against a superior, no equality exists. Automatically, our leaders owe us no accountability, though they may be discreet about it. Perhaps, this was what prompted George Orwell in his famous work, ‘Animal Farm’ to say that- “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”.
Nigeria practices this to a fault. ‘Our’ so-called Constitution (even though neither masses nor their legitimate representatives enacted it) provided for immunity of certain political office holders. Perhaps, this circumstance is rooted in and inalienable from a comparison with the existence of a superior five nations in the U.N as regards ‘veto power’. The five nations can have effective influence on decisions and activities of all so-called sovereign member nations. What a deception?
If three extremes of a concept had been pervaded by distinguished and legendary personalities, and their recommendations still seem to have solved little or no problems, an insight into a middle course should be considered worthy of consideration, for a lifelong solution.

     Therefore, Equality should be viewed as a situation where all citizens have the right to be treated fairly in all matters, except those situations which are against their nature. We sure cannot give a woman’s right to a man. It should be on the basis of constructive unity and solidarity. A sincere sense of camaraderie would never breed unhealthy competition among a set of people for such insincerity in competitions leads to inequality.
       The future presents various benefits for humanity if equality is perceived this way. Equality should exist as regards all aspects. The only difference should be relative circumstances accruing to each individual. Status, sex, religion and so on should not be a window for inequality. Afterwards, benefits of good balance in legislations could be reaped. No immunity clause or prerogative should be present in any sincere system which advocates equality. Equality should also not be restricted to the social aspects. There should be equality in welfare, economy and justice.


Lawyer Usamah  Adenowo Esq

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Pursuit of Happiness by Mujidah Sakibu

P.S: The article reflects the writer’s thoughts

     Waiting, wishing, working…like it or not, we all are looking for that state of bliss. Where our smiles are genuine, our head is clean and our thoughts worry-free. Me included. I won’t be writing about how to be happy, no. I’d rather write about my hunt for it. With my final exams completed by the end of October, November and December were meant to be those awesome months for me before I had to settle for a job maybe in January. Nothing went according to plan. Absolutely nothing. The travels, the conferences, the internships, none of it. I spent the whole of November in school because of my project work and well, this is December.



    I honestly thought I was going to be okay with things not going according to my plan. Honest. I did. And I was almost okay, well almost. Now before you give me whatever mantra about going with the flow you are thinking of, trust me. I’ve heard it before. And I still wasn’t okay. All my life, I’ve been different, not just because people tell me so, but there’s this bone deep awareness of just how ‘not like everyone else’ I was. And I always thought my life was destined for a whole lot of adventures and excitement. And with whatever freedom my parents were willing to allow me, while they still can, I wanted to find it. But waking up each day, going to school for a whole month, watching other people going after the things they want with themselves, it literarily murdered me each time. I told myself a whole lot of things, different pace for different people, my project was important, I can still do better things with myself, etc…the list went on. But none of it helped. I continuously talked myself into how much of a disappointment I was, I kept thinking of the things I could do better, I kept thinking of the places I could be and the things that could have gone right for once in my life. I was simply tired of things not going the way I wanted them. It almost broke me. Almost.

     But that was my November. My December met me in Lagos. Including my birthday. And it was…I’d get to that. It’s almost Christmas as I write this. And I’ve still got nothing going on for me. These days I’m afraid of dreaming, planning, hoping or imagining anything of any kind. And if I’ve learnt anything from experience, its that the things that I want most never go my way.  So in this season. I live a very simple and very mundane life. I’ve done it for 2 weeks and this would be my third. I currently stay in my mum’s shop as an attendant. I don’t do much except sit and watch the main road, listen to radio, chat with my few friends, watch Teen Wolf and sell when a customer drops by. I’m tired of it already. I want my next adventure. I want my next excitement. Then a friend asked me to guest-post on his blog. It threw me in a loop. I wanted to write about a lot of things and nothing. How sad and unsatisfied I was, but I was too self conscious  to that knowing my friends would be reading. Or rather write about love and heartbreak and stuff, but then I realise I have expired raw materials to do that. Or maybe write a poem? It was too limiting, it wouldn’t contain my thoughts. So I decided to do this. Hoping it would give me perspective. No. November had it perks. I know it sounds so mundane, but I learnt a lot about myself and my friends in that period. And I got a glimpse of what the future could hold for us. I learnt from my friends fears and uncertainty, and I got to be part of a reason for them not to give up already. We would gather at sees room and laugh about exams and results and lecturers. Or maybe the jobs some of us already got. And amidst the laughing and the jesting that happened around me, there was this underlying feeling that this, might be the last time. For many reasons, it was sad. It still is. But like it or not, I think of that month as my chance to say a proper goodbye, remind my friends that I’ll always be there for them, no matter what underlying issues we might have. I got to spend time with myself, amidst the dizzying thoughts of my self- acclaimed failure, I also got to have a long talk with me. Productive or not, I’m not sure, but I needed the hibernation, I needed the time alone, I craved the seclusion because I wanted to heal. From all of the things that put me down in my 5 years in school I wanted to make peace with them and learn to live with all of them all. So each night as I got back from school, mostly to a dark house with no NEPA, the quiet was loud. But it was the right kind of volume I needed. December rolled around with my birthday on 4th. Lol, I woke up tired, broke and very hungry. As usual, nothing went my way. But thanks to a particular sweetheart who refused to let me be sad. I’m grateful, you should know that.


     And then I came home, to the mundane life I described earlier. But then my grandma came back and I still can’t decide if that drives me nuts as much as it makes me happy, but I don’t want to. I like the conflict. And then there’s her maid, the teenager who needs some serious attitude adjustment, but who makes me laugh simply by being her naïve and silly self. To being able to take care of my mum. Not just hearing about her day over the phone, but being there at the end of the day with food to eat and a laid bed to sleep, with clean laundry the following morning, with a special pack for her for lunch. To my little brother, annoying but still someone I want to keep and hope he never grows up. To counting down to the rest of my brother’s arrival and knowing that they fill up a part of me that all the travelling in the world can’t fill. And finally to watching the sunset in the evenings, it doesn’t have much colour around here, but it’s still just as beautiful as only a sunset can ever be.


And I’m slowly coming to think that I am happy. Not because things aren’t going the way I want, but because Allah is giving me time to do everything I have craved to do in the last 6 months, a daughter to my parents and a big sister to my brothers. And even now, with no solid plans whatsoever yet and no certainty, I still allow myself to think that I am happy. I haven’t giving up on the many things I want to do. I’m not sure I would be okay if I don’t get to do them, but I’m trying to prepare myself in case none of it happens. That’s my new struggle now. Acceptance. So while I still try to pursue the things I want, I’d try to be okay with my little victories and happiness. And until then…I’m thinking I’d still keep chasing happiness. Still, for now, I think I’m happy.


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