By Denrele Animasaun
“You can fool some of the people all of the time,and all of the people some of the time,but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”-Abraham Lincoln
We live in trying times and the coming year will test the resolve of most Nigerians. The choice would not be anyone’s liking but the situation is strongly driven by politicians and other stakeholders. The only constitutional obligation is vote with one’s conscience. Last week’s primaries set the tempo for the political landscape of next year’s election.
The dust has hardly settled and people are pitching their tents to their favourite and choosing camps of whom they think should head Nigeria. So which way for ordinary Nigerians? What do people want if they put aside tribal, religious and political affiliations? What will become of our country and would we put nationhood first or revert to kinship and religion? If anyone dare think they can call it then they are more deluded than thought. Only time will tell and I do hope that people will show restraint and not create mayhem.
Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath as the Boat of restraint has sailed a long time ago especially when it comes to common sense and decency. The emotions, pride and dogged single mindedness has stopped people from making rational choices. For those with emperor complex only their way will do or not at all. Their delusion of grandeur has got in the way of compassion for fellow Nigerians.
Somehow for the love of our nationhood, I sincerely hope majority of people will show restraint. Only time will tell. We have neglected to build and are so hell bent on destroying what makes Nigeria unique: its diversity. I do understand the fear and trepidation that people have about the future. The choice of GEJ or GMB is terrifying. Soyinka this week sounded cautious and I do believe he is alluding to the fact that GMB was a military man and a Muslim. He vehemently does not endorse his candidacy.
Wole Soyinka said of the APC choice as “This is no time to go back to the military mafia and go back to our vomit” For those old enough to know, life under the military was driven and dictated by the Military. We had order but we’re restricted when it came to freedom of speech and expression. So far as we know, this is a different time and a different situation. He is of the opinion that with GMB it is a step back in the wrong direction and he goes as far pitch his support with GEJ. Would there be unrest or we are going to return to the bad old days? Soyinka thinks so.
He argues that: “the scroll of faith becomes indistinguishable from the roll call of death and he warns that even moderate religious leaders may be “vicariously liable” for sectarian violence in case they fail unequivocally to condemn it. He makes a lot sense to heed his observations that “the conflict between humanists and religionists had always been one between the touch of enlightenment and chains of enslavement”
The invisible line has been crossed many times over the years by many. We have witnessed how it has turned our people against each other and they have become detached as wickedness ensues. We see this up and down the country. People try to justify their brand of cruelty and barbarity and no matter what, even when they hide behind be it religion, tribe or political party, these people are psychopaths and beastly. Terror has no religion or tribe. They have crossed the lines and they are no longer rational and reasonable human beings.
This sadly, is what is faced daily in Nigeria. If people tolerate violence regardless whether it was done to them or others, it is not acceptable and it should be repudiated strongly. People have tolerated such pernicious behaviours and crimes that they have become desensitised and the daily horrors no longer shock people, they simply shrug it off. Soyinka is right when he said of the terror “the chains are not merely visible, but cruelly palpable. All too often they lead directly to the gallows, beheadings, to death under a hail of stones”.
It is happening regularly and many more murdered, kidnapped, maimed and displaced by the madness called Boko Haram. Since 2009 they have blighted some part of the country, left terror and mayhem in their wake. They have killed over 9000 people and countless others are displaced becoming refugees in the country of their birth. Many in the country feel that BH is a northern problem and that has been the problem, the lack lustre attitude in responding robustly and ill equipping the army has ensured the audaciousness of these beastly creatures.
So what’s this got to do with presidency? Everything. Whoever leads Nigeria come 2015, will and should deal decisively with the dismantling of these murderous psychopaths. Sunday gone it was reported that the BH stormed a remote village in North-eastern Nigeria, killing at least 33 people and kidnapping at least over 100 men, women and children close to Chibok . It took days for the news to emerge as the mobile communications was destroyed from last raid by the BH.
There comes a time when condolences and commiserations is not enough and this is the time to act. The world shook and took notice when over 200 girls were abducted by BH. The #BringBackourGirls campaign raised the profile world wide of the tragedy that took place in Chibok. Up on till now, the girls remain missing in spite of the government promising their safe return. The military has not been able to offer any protection, despite the deployment of soldiers supported by the air force. It is apparently clear that our army are underfunded and ill equipped to take on BH.
On Wednesday a Nigerian court martial handed down death sentences to 54 soldiers who had refused to take part in an operation like as to August to recapture three towns overrun by BH. The soldiers have complained that they did not have the weapons needed to take on BH. This despite the fact that the government said that money has been pumped in to tackle the terrorists. Regardless, this present government has been slow to act and had refused to acknowledge their failure and then refused outside help.
This year alone over 2000 people have been killed by BH. While the world looks on in horror, the government repeatedly failed the people and in a country like ours that is so divisive some leaders don’t see this as a problem. This comes in the wake of the massacre in Pakistan killing over 145 school children. The reaction in Pakistan was that of solidarity and the steely determination to work together to destroy the terrorists. It will take a very determined leader of conviction to get rid of BH.
No one person can clean up the mess that took decades.It will be a collective effort but with a a capable,conscious and committed leaders that we can eradicate the menace that is BH.
I pray that peace and comfort to those who have suffered in the hands of these meanace and that security and compassion return to our land.