Untitled painting by Jacob Onoja (PhD), Jos, Nigeria.
By Masara Kim,

I have tried to figure out a perfect theme for this art work but it appears the more I engage my nerves in unnecessary thinking, the more I get lost.

Thus, I have only attempted analyzing the piece based on what I see and believe to be true of the artist’s state of mind when he painted it.

Basically, the work is an acrylic painting on canvas, 61 x 91 Cm size. It was released on Friday 28th/07/17. The artist, Jacob Onoja (PhD), simply tagged it “Today's experimentation” on his social media platform.

Although he solicited an appropriate title and critique, from my perspective, the caption he assigned the work is just perfect. Not perfect because it adequately describes the work but because it is symbolic of the hustle and bustle as well as the frenzied razzmatazz characteristic of today’s world.

I wrote an article some years ago titled ‘too fast’, describing how man has evolved several innovations just to make life easier for him. From fast cars, to fast dreams, fast foods, fast wealth, fast influence and even fast or premature death.

In Nigeria today, even the most humble of all citizens wants to be the first to be identified with something. It could be a friend, a breaking story, an idea, a cloth, furniture, dream, influence or anything else.

The craziest of such quests is the wanton desire to make it economically and politically. No one wants to wait for his turn. Everyone wants to be the first even if he or she hasn’t been destined for such. As a result, we brush one another in the vivacious competitions, push one another, trample on one another, hit one another and even kill ourselves in the process.

The insatiable quest for power in Nigeria is so overwhelming that some people have sworn to spill blood if they don’t win elective offices. Right now, there is a vigorous struggle for influence and control of the topmost seat of power in Nigeria. Those who have attained it want to accumulate more. Those who haven’t want to pull down those who are there just to get there.

Those who neither want to be there nor are already there won’t just stop talking about the aggressive nature of the drama up there with some of them even killing themselves in the name of political or ideological loyalty.

This work describes a number of key things that are so synonymous with present day Nigeria and I hereby highlight them as follows:

·         Impatience

·         Competition

·         Conquest

·         Struggle

·         Intransigence

·         Fight

·         Selfishness

·         Do-or-die

·         Die another day

·         Die hard

The artist simple summarized the entire Nigerian system in one canvas. And I can see him pulling our thoughts towards something – the fierceness of the power tussle awaiting us in 2019 during the general elections which is likely to still remain a struggle of the north, based on the gentleman’s agreement of a zoned political system in the country.