Rose Ejembi, Makurdi Benue’s three main sociocultural organisations – Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’Igede – have warned leaders of cattle breeders collective Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) to stop using the state’s anti-open grazing law as an excuse to commit acts of terror against farmers and the general public. The tribal…
I don’t know Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, I didn’t care to Google and find out if he is alive or dead, but I love him for his words for humanity. He said: “The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty and truth kick fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty and lies are full of passionate conviction.” We sideline or kill our true heroes. The trend has left us with what revolutionaries call passive conspiratorial alliance. We do not like a development or situation, yet, we do not feel a compulsion to rise and resist.
We fear to say the truth because he who does is most hated. Like Sheen observed, truth tellers are often the first casualties of any wicked reaction in our society, and because of this our problems keep re-occurring as if they were built into our fate. The truth that stares us on the face is that we must begin to tell ourselves the truth if we are to solve the challenges that face us as a country. We have problems quite alright but 80 percent of them are the result of the deliberate acts of men and women and I want to make a very painful observation, the North by this I mean the successive leadership has not been fair to our country in the way it has acted since independence.
The North, for instance, never gets tired of propagating national unity; they do so at the slightest of opportunity but I must state that they have been the most reckless in management of our diversity. The North has always acted with impunity and careless of the feelings of the other component parts. Minus the first military coup, most other acts that have taken us to the brink had emanated from the north. Few days ago, the wife of late General John Shagaya told us it was the pleadings of her husband to President Babangida that led to the creation of Kogi State and not long ago Chief Tom Ikimi also said it was because of him two local governments were created in Edo State. The era was controlled by northern elements and one of the challenges tearing us apart is the distortion to our political administrative architecture, you can then draw your own deductions. One can talk of quota system, federal character, differential admission cut off marks and under age voting controversy.
North have always used death as political strategy, many Nigerians have been victims, murdered in the most gruesome manner and perpetuators let off the hook in the most provocative manner. I won’t waste time giving recent examples even though it is my wish to add little pep to this discourse by letting Nigerians know am still waiting to hear that those who killed the wife of Deeper Life Pastor in Kano and the female Pastor of Redeemed Church in Abuja have been fished out and are meticulously being prosecuted. I must state that no level of prosecution can mitigate deliberate acts of savagery. Bloody reactions ought not to happen at all.
Herdsmen or hired militia menace is another “gift” from the north. Terrible one at that. These barbarians it would seem were trained somewhere and brought into our country to cause pains and dislocations as part of an expansionist agenda. My take, they were brought in and set across for 2015 elections. If Jonathan had not played the coward and quickly beat a retreat, we would have had the Sudan scenario with us. It would been a case of guns and shooting everywhere, blood would have flowed like a river. Are we not surprised the population of herdsmen grew so phenomenally that they are found across every part in very large numbers. These modern herdsmen move into innermost recesses of remote communities where they occupy space setting up homes.
They are a unique kind. How many of us have asked why herdsmen would herd their animals into schools, local government secretariats, airport and market place? Just trying to figure out how modern grazing works. The abolition of history and more recently religious studies from school curriculum certainly did not just come by accident. Who are the prime movers? Who began proposing Grazing Bill in National Assembly, as if issues of cow management was the county’s main problem? When that failed we saw barbarians let loose to maim, dislodge, kill, and suddenly we began to hear that Ranching and Cattle Colonies are the remedies. Hmmm. Call it whims and caprices of a….. fill in the missing gap and you won’t be wrong.
Boko Haram is there, till today I ask what they want? Am yet to get an answer, let alone a satisfying one. We are on it spending huge sums and people are dying daily from preventable hunger and diseases and of course acts of misplaced aggression provoked by this obviously sectional agenda. Last week the Sultan of Sokoto requested for amnesty for them and the army announced it has enlisted some of them into the national army. See the headship of political and security set ups and tell me if such an arrangement could have been allowed to last if a President of Igbo or South-South extraction had done similar thing. Jonathan only altered the rotation sequence and every northerner took turns to publicly abuse hell out of him. He was ridiculed at each turn, so much I could fight for him if he realized what he was up against and chose to release guns. He did not know what he was up against or chose to ignore it. The choice was his, I concede.
I was inspired to pen this when I read that the authorities of University of Maiduguri say they will go back to Lake Chad to continue search for crude oil. That expedition is costing us huge sums in foreign exchange and is being executed at a time we say there is no money, at a time salaries and pension are not paid regularly. What is the driving force? Why are we proposing a refinery in our border with Niger Republic and train service into that nation when citizens like me can’t ride a train to my village because no rail line exists along the entire area? Now we have been talking of hate speech, suddenly what was no issue has grown to become a national concern. Who started hate speech? Now a Northern senator has introduced a bill which prescribes death as punishment for hate speech. It is a terrible idea. It runs on the concept that there is nothing the others can do. I bet there is something they can do. Read history which some people banned in our schools and you will find the answer very easily. History has it that Ghana and Mali empires failed when their kings made them fight on many fronts at the same time. Martin Luther King teaches us another when he said and I quote, “The struggle for freedom by oppressed people develops slowly and never ends suddenly. Privileged groups rarely give up their privileges without strong resistance. But when the oppressed rise up against oppression there is no stopping point short of full freedom. Our nation can work if only the leadership would rise to the challenge of upholding pure motives at all times.