Do you see the things I see and hear the things I hear? Gory images, frightful tales, mostly made-up to chill the spine or raise the bile of hate.
Yes, Nigeria is in a terrible mess right now. But should we be looking for exit or getting more mired in this putrid muddle?
Fear mongers have seized the airwaves, broadcasting falsehood or hyping half-truths and making the hearts of the weak go faint. I hear the drumbeats of war and see the overhang of ominous gathering clouds, reddened by angry tears of blood of the innocent, baying for vengeance. Soon, very soon, it will come raining on us like a deluge. Any wonder then a brood of conferring vultures are lazing around in the sky in anticipation of their sumptuous party.
What do we make of the rumoured herdsmen invasion of Lagos – Ibadan Expressway or Ore – Benin Expressway or Ogun communities by killer herdsmen, who slaughtered many on the ever busy roads unchallenged? What do we make of the simulated wailing of distraught victims, lamenting slaughters that never were? How did we come to this point that sadistic inclination titillates? When did we lose our exchange our hearts of flesh for stone? There are many such woeful tales!
Truly, weak leadership brought us to this sad end. This is what we get when leadership prevaricates when decisiveness is needed; when leadership slumbers while the nation is on fire; when leadership is rudderless and strapped in confusion; when leadership is duck-limbed, clandestine and clannish, playing the ostrich by burying its head in the sand.
But are we not all leaders where we are in our own little corners? Can’t we ignore the stretching leadership and be masters in our own communes and cumulatively vote for the good of our destinies? When we get to our hamlets, what message do we take to our kin? When we mount the pulpit on Sunday and at Jummah prayers on Friday, what messages do we pass to our congregation? What tales do we tell our offspring at moonlight or dinner tables, to love or to hate?
We are busy fanning the dormant wild fires, which do not know boundaries once ignited. This message is for the killers and their sponsors as much as it is for the fear mongers. We are approaching a dangerous bend and fast skidding to the next likely bus stop, called Kigali.
Before you say God forbid, was this not exactly how Rwanda got burnt. Instead of wine, people toasted with the blood of compatriots until the modicum of reason left a people without a soul and the failed nation eventually caved in, leaving mangled bones and scorched suffering generations. If we continue like this, the 1967 debacle would be a child’s play. Then Nigeria ganged up against the Igbo. But now, the impending war will be amoebic, shapeless and directionless; just a scattered all-consuming gale sweeping everything and everyone into the Niger River after which it is named.
What joy do we have in spreading bad tales? The bible recorded that even the death of Saul, who was after David’s life was forbidden news. The talebearer came gleefully, thinking David would rejoice and reward him for bringing him the ‘good news’ but it cost him his life, as David lamented instead: “Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph” (2 Samuel 1:20).
Today, we invent and publish falsehoods. Even if the tale we bear is true, can’t we exercise discretion? Can’t we imagine its wider implications? Sons and daughters of the uncircumcised truly rejoice over our calamity, lurking in the wings to sell their weapons of war. Must they triumph as well and turn us into veritable market for their evil merchandise?
But truly, come to think of it, why must some people relish the stench of blood? Some of those gory pictures obviously show that we have crossed the Rubicon of humanity into a hybrid of man and brute. Animal kingdom is saintly compared to our squalid state. Are the perpetrators of these heinous acts truly human? What god do they call upon?
But what truly what do we hope to see when we get to Kigali? We will discover much to our shock that we are all victims. We will see hopes burnt and destinies twisted. We will see AK47 rifles everywhere but no man to pull the trigger. We will see cattle colonies or whatever called with cattle but none to herd them. We will see lush grass but no man to claim the land. We will see failed leaders of today but having nobody to lead tomorrow. We will see castles reduced to dust and mighty men to minions. What a forlorn earth of sorrow and grief that Kigali will be.
At the heart of the trouble is a skewed system that robs Peter to pay Paul. That is why there has been cry for restructuring of the country and a revisit of the 2014 recommendations of the national conference. One hopes that the El-Rufai support of recommendation is not mere smoke to mask hidden agenda for 2019 because our problems will remain and multiply if the needful is not done.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has released statistics of registered voters so far and it’s all laughable… Because we see infants lined up to be registered in some areas of the country by the same INEC while security operatives don’t bat an eye at the obvious violation of the law. So, for me, it makes little meaning to urge people to obtain permanent voters cards, PVC, for an election that is already compromised. Of course, I have got my PVC and advise others to do likewise but I can’t help wondering at what use is the card when my vote will not count or rendered nugatory before the poll?
Methinks we should end this with few words from Peter Tosh, the late legendary reggae musician:
Everyone is crying out for peace. Yes!
None is crying out for justice
I don’t want no peace
I need equal rights and justice
Got to get it, equal rights and justice.
Yes, no peace without justice; a word is enough for the wise!