Hawwah Gambo Abdullahi
In the late 1980s – early 1990s, we heard stories of countries besieged by war and insurgency. I remember listening to our parents talk and lament about them, and saying alittle prayer in the process.
Because these countries seem so far away from us, we felt there wasno way such situations would ever happen in Nigeria. After all, we arethe most religious people in the world!
Back then, Nigeria was not a democracy. It was under what developedcountries would call a ‘military dictatorship’. But we were safe, andwe felt safe. Every insurgency and militancy was crushed to themarrows in an instant.
It was during the military regime that the Maitatsine cult was finally crushed and deleted from the pages of our country. Although many postulate that the Boko Haram insurgency is the debris of the Maitatsine cult that regrouped, the fact stillremains that if Nigeria were not a democracy, they would never haveseen the light of the day talk less of garnering so much guts andaudacity.
Now, let us analyse this situation very carefully, using a typical extended family of a polygamous father of four wives and many children. A set of his children from one of his wives is being subjugated and sentenced to untold hardship and persecution by one of his neighbours. Meanwhile, all entreaties by their mother for the man to stop the abuse fell on deaf ears. He keeps saying everything is under control, yet the abuse continues.
Do you suppose these children will just sit by and allow themselves tocontinue to be abused? Not likely. They will eventually rise up and defend themselves.
That is what Nigerians ought to have done a long time ago. At least, it had been over 24 months since it became evident that this government is either not ready or capable to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency. A big indicator of nonchalance is that while all this is happening, President Goodluck Jonathan is busy being decorated by theGuild of Nigerian Actors as the ‘greatest loser in all of Africa’. And guess what? He took the plaque grinning. It was then, that he madehis worst blunder in 2014, when he stated that ‘Nollywood is better than the Nigerian media’.
Yet again, the Presidential Spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe, chose to slam Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state for stating the obvious – that the Boko Haram is better armed and motivated than the Nigerian military. Not only is this an insult, but also adding salt to injury.
The least the Presidency could have done to the Borno state governor was to pacify him, while giving assurances. But nay!What other evidence of cluelessness and unseriousness do Nigerians need before we take to the streets to protest this impunity andinhumanity or to resolve to become civilian JTFs?
As an online friend of mine said, ‘The youth of Nigeria have failedus. We occupied Nigeria because of removal of fuel subsidy, the APC threatened to stagnate the passage of the budget because of Joseph Mbu, yet people are being slaughtered in their houses like sheep in Borno, villages razed and young girls carted away yet we arestill sleeping in our houses. How do we sleep at night?’
At best, we lie on our beds and occupy the social media. Do we reallybelieve we can change anything safe within the confines of ourbedrooms posting on social media networks? Or do we in our twisted little minds think we can change anything by just praying and doing nothing; while on the other hand cheating our neighbours, telling lies, stealing, backbiting, back stabbing, indulging in corruption, hating one another, maligning one another (I could go on and on)? God will not answer our prayers while we do nothing to deserve what we are asking him for.
Some Nigerians think this epidemic is ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’. I was appalled by the comments of some Nigerians in the South-south, South-west and South-east on social networking sites. They think the North is responsible for its predicament, while that they are ‘on safer grounds’.
Fellow Nigerians, there is no safe region in this world. Evil spreads fast like wildfire, many times faster than any goodwill. About two decades ago, when we only heard of such mayhem in countries millions of kilometers away from us; we thought we were ‘on safer grounds’.
Today it is our turn in Nigeria. It really is a small world. How long do you suppose it will take the wild fire to get to your ‘safer ground’? Therefore, it is either we stick together as brothers, orperish together as fools.