Good for the People, Good for Everybody

I remember in the mid to late 70s, Sacro Ogban, a very cool but sociable and trendy guy I used to know (he was about 12 years older than me) used always to make a toast at some stage when drinking with his buddies, which was very regularly. And the toast was almost always the same, “that which is good for the people is good for everybody” or sometimes “what is good for the people is good for everybody“; he used the latter version more often. The meaning or context of the phrase was never challenged by his buddies even though it did not make much sense to me at the time, but it was catchy. In 1978 he left Orerokpe where both our parents lived and went overseas for studies.

I did not see Sacro again till Christmas 1989 if I remember well when he returned to Orerokpe for his father’s funeral. He recognised as the little London Boy (now a young man), and just after exchanging a few pleasantries with him, I asked him for the meaning of his favourite toast phrase back in the day. His answer was simple; the correct sentence was “that which is good for the people that matter is good for everybody“; the people that mattered were the bourgeoisie, and everybody was the proletariat, respectively. He went on to say when the correct phrase for the toast sometimes did offend some till he dropped the “that matter” from it. Finally, he said he was amazed. I took so much interest in such a trivial phrase after such a long time. I was 11 years old when I last heard him make the toast.
When I met him again years later, he surprised me by saying the toast to me; it was probably the quote he would most be remembered for because after our one-off meeting in 1989 he observed that most of his old friends would bring it up in conversation again and again. He was a real bourgeois by then “a man that mattered” but true to his word he quickly built a reputation for being a generous, approachable and just man.
How melodramatic!


Grimot Nane
P.S. Today, despite the well-debated quest for and histrionic championing of progress, human progress, the people that matter have proliferated and prospered while everybody has never been treated with such denial and contempt. And everybody is now accused of “entitlement” when they seek the good the people enjoy.

3 responses

  1. @Bala- please exclude black Africa from your observation. Our people have become so accustomed to all kinds of suffering that they cannot wake up from it. It is not a situation I am happy with. What can we do about it?


  2. Observing the wave of Middle East protests and the disenchantment with the free market status quo all over the globe, I do agree that ”that which is good for the people is good for everybody”. People are waking up to that reality, even if belatedly.


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