I watched the terror attack at the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and was really sad, like many the world over, that 50 persons, and many other innocent people had to pay the price for the harebrained attitude of a man who refused to increase his swathe of humanity. But I was consoled at the fact that the people in that country including top government officials rallied round the Muslim community in grief to console and reassure them that they were all in the despicable act together. I was impressed by the attitude of the country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
You could see the care and concern on the faces of New Zealanders; there was no going through the motion for its sake.
Almost on a daily basis, I see deaths in Nigeria shown on television and watch the faces of government officials when they visit family members, and you can see lack of care on their faces. Many go through the motion for its sake, you hardly can notice somberness.
In New Zealand, the people understood the importance of rallying support from every corner and bend unmindful of race, colour and religious orientation and they got it right.
Multiculturalism is the answer to Nigeria’s problem, but we have elected to sit and talk about sad things. We are very relaxed, in no hurry for development and it seems so natural to governments most of which are future-blind.
In New Zealand, it appears that the country is not the oyster of some only (Christians) but to all (Muslims) and loyalty is not to selves and religion but to New Zealand.
This is Nigeria’s Achilles heel. Loyalty is to self, religion, regions and not to country.
Until Nigerians imbibe the principle of service above selves, we may continue to find ourselves in this developmental rigmarole.
I deciphered from the attitudes of the people of New Zealand that their flame for habitual humanity never diminished. The prime minister had to cover her hair in solidarity with the Muslim community when she visited them and had a town hall meeting with them outlining future steps on security and gun control.
I was impressed with the police, they got to the scene minutes after they were alerted and it didn’t take them forever as might have been the case in my country where officers might have complained of the lack of fuel in their vehicles. I wish Nigeria can be as proactive as some of these countries in the fight against terror. People die every day in horrendous ways and all we get are political statements which further destroy the social fabric that binds Nigerians together.
Is there a free society in deed? One which allows citizens to procure semi-automatic weapons which are only supposed to be in the hands of trained military men? New Zealand just like the United States needs to change its gun laws. Nigeria needs to police its porous borders and prevent punks from importing dangerous weapons used in killing people in-country; she also needs to go after benefactors of malevolence who dare the state and walk about without restraint.
But for Nigeria’s political faux pas in the past and present, who knows where we would have been classed in the comity of nations.
As stated elsewhere, “Diversity and inclusion appear to be concepts that are hard to grasp. Nigerians are habituated to X-raying fellow countrymen narrowly by judging people from where they are from, their beliefs, social status etc, instead of looking at other people’s uniqueness because of different cultures and perspectives that they bring to the national table. The moral cosmos is relativists.”
I hear a lot and see so much that make me fear for the future of my children in this country: recently, around UTC in Abuja at Area 10 on the road to the Cultural Centre leading to the shopping mall, a fan of a religious cleric was booming a preacher’s message on a cassette player. Here is what I picked in another man’s language, “What do you have to do with those people, their women are so dirty and don’t do the required customs after delivering their children or after using the rest- room. Their men are always perspiring even in loose outfits because of the sins they commit daily. What do we have to do with people like these? Why bother about people like these?” This was in Abuja. You can imagine what happens elsewhere. How can you teach people who misleadingly assume that they are more superior to you?
Inside vehicles, some preach without being bothered about the feelings of others who may have different beliefs. Turn to HIM or you will go to Hell. We are the favoured children of HIM. Others aren’t favoured. These attitudes have long been responsible for the level of terrorism that the nation suffers from but who can stop it. No one, our country’s political players aren’t like the ones I saw on television in New Zealand trying not to repeat the mistakes of history.
It isn’t hard to see how societies are destroyed by the allowing of too much freedom without restriction.
Abah writes from Abuja.