By Tunde Oyasanya
THE news of Boko Harram insurgence in Northern parts of the country filtered to me while I was away in Ado Ekiti from Abuja on official assignment.
Meanwhile, I didnâ€™t get the full gist of the carnage and I became curious. I could not wait till the next day to read from newspapers. I made for my radio transistor which is always my companion on tours in order to listen to BBC London or Voice of America from where I am sure of getting authentic information on the development.
My appetite was satisfied when by 10.pm of the night I got hooked up to BBC for news analysis on Boko Haram incidence in Nigeria. When the analysis was over, I heaved a heavy sigh and relaxed back on the edge of my bed where I sat, eyes closed, hands cross- folded behind my head. My mind started wandering: What is the trouble with this country called Nigeria? I thought of the reason proffered by the dissidents; the destructions and causalties which follow the insinuations as well as the lapses in security permeating the crisis.
All of a sudden there was power outage, I brought out my handset to check time, and it was 11.30pm. I assumed the hotel must have a generator; moments after, I heard the Manager yelling at one of the staff to switch on the generator. After several attempts it came on with a loud noise accompanied with heavy smoke enveloping almost everywhere. I decided to stroll out within the neighbourhood to escape from the noisy atmosphere for a while to have peace and reflect more on the sordid news Iâ€™ve just heard.
I barely walked few minutes away from my hotel when I noticed a beer parlor where some few cars were parked. As I approached, I had an impression that the people within were gentlemen. I was welcomed by the attendant who quickly arranged a chair for me around one of the tables where two people sat down. â€œHello, good evening,â€ I greeted them. â€œThank you, my brother, youâ€™re welcome,â€ one of them replied. The attendant tapped my table and said â€œOga, what do you care for?â€ I told him what I wanted and he brought it.
Having listened to conversation between the guys I sat with, I knew that they are learned people. I had hardly settled down to enjoy my drink when the incident of the Boko Haram Islamic fundamentalist flashed my mind again, then I heard myself unknowingly saying: â€œOh My Godâ€. The guys looked at me as if something must have gone wrong. One of them said to me: â€œSorryâ€. I looked up at them and laughed, as if to confirm their thinking that something was actually wrong.
I thanked the guys for showing concern over my attitude and went straight to the point. But where are we going in this country? I wonder what the problem with us is, I retorted. The guys looked at each other and then looked at me; one of them said: â€œWhat do you mean?â€ I mean the recentÂ Boko Haram incident in the North I replied, it is notÂ worth it. We shouldnâ€™t be killing ourselves and destroying properties of government and individuals for no reason at all.
I had thought I could Â Â Â Â easily be able to engage the guys in a conversation on the Boko Haram killings and perhaps other national problems since it has become my hobby to generate topic of national interest for discussion at every opportunity.
They shifted attention away from me with no reply to my lamentation on the national situation; they merely wipedÂ foam off the beer and had a good kiss from the glass cup. There was relative silence for a while. I felt snubbed that the guys said nothing on the matter. Then, I noticed one of them tapping his legs and occasionally shaking his head.
Unsatisfied with their snobbish attitude, I made another attempt. â€œIs this the way we will continue in this country? For how long are we going to continue like this?â€™ To my surprise, one of them said: â€œMy brother, donâ€™t disturb our peace here. Iâ€™m sorry, why donâ€™t you just enjoy your drink and go to bedâ€. Are you not fed upÂ discussing national problems all the time while situations remain unchanged? More painful is the fact that this habit of discussing national problems is gradually making me a nuisance while the perpetrators are somewhere coasting away in enjoyment with their loots and spoils.
Look at you, is this the firstÂ religious crisis in this country or do you think it will be the last? Where were you during the â€œMaitatsiniâ€ crisis in Kano and other religious crises? Donâ€™t you know there is trouble in Nigeria? Wait a minute, his other friend chipped in, donâ€™t you know there are some fundamental problems in this country and not until we addressed them, we would continue to grope in crisis?
Mr. Oyasanya is a staff of the Federal Ministry of Information & Communication, Abuja.