By Muyiwa Adetiba
There was a story in the Bible of two women fighting over a child which came to the attention of King Solomon of Israel who had to adjudicate over the delicate matter. His judgement not only vibrated throughout Israel and its environs but brought awe and reverence to Solomon and established him for all time as, ‘the Wise One’ because of its deep understanding of human nature.
Let’s briefly recap for those, if any, who might be unfamiliar with the story. Two women—prostitutes—gave birth to a son each within three days of each other. Each woman after breast feeding, lay the child besides her to sleep. They all slept on the same bed. This fateful day, one woke up to find that the child by her side was dead.
According to her, she found the child was not hers on closer inspection and concluded that her roommate must have exchanged the children. The other woman vehemently denied saying the living child was indeed hers. There seemed to be no way of ascertaining the true mother of the living child since it was one prostitute’s word against the other.
King Solomon thought the unthinkable and took everyone by surprise when he called for a sword to cut the living child into two for each warring mother to have a half of the child. Suddenly, the accuser, the one who believed the child was truly hers, stayed the king’s hand out of pity for her son. The other woman on her part said, ‘Let him be neither mine nor hers. Divide him.’ The demeanour and utterances of the two women led the king to believe that the living child belonged to the former woman—the accuser—and handed him to her.
Back to our shores. Two people of similar (easy) virtue are fighting for the soul of a child. Neither is backing off even as it is becoming clearer by the day that the child might be divided right through the middle. It could very well be because neither is the legitimate owner of the child. Both ‘mothers’ have been fostered on the child through arbitrary and opaque means and have each sought legitimacy through the courts.
Unfortunately, there is no King Solomon in judgement and our judiciary being what it is at this time, has given each ‘mother’ some claim to legitimacy. There is a lot of grandstanding at the moment with each ‘mother and her supporters’ holding to an arm and a leg’ of the child in contention. Neither is showing genuine interest in the welfare of the child that is being torn apart.
Neither is showing compassion for a child that has not been ‘breast fed’ for a while and is dying of malnutrition. Each is in denial meanwhile, thinking she is fighting to preserve the life of a healthy child who will bring joy and laughter to the home of whomever becomes the preferred mother. Whereas, what they will eventually get is not the soul of a lively child they are fighting over but the likely carcass of a dead child.
Whoever eventually wins the custody of the child might actually become an undertaker. All because nobody is willing to concede in the interest of the child they claim to love so much. This child, already sick and malnourished, will in all probability die and another physically and mentally child would be fathered.
And there is no elder—or a group of elders—who will bring a sense of responsibility and a unity of purpose to the contending factions. It is almost certain that PDP as we know it today will not be the same party in 2019. Or APC the same party in 2019. There would be alliances and counter alliances and another ‘grand national party’ in the so called interest of the people would be born by our politicians who just cannot nurture.
They are simply too selfish and greedy to be a decent mother who will make sacrifices for the growth and development of her child. Just look at the number of parties this country has had in its short political life or the number of parties some so called politicians have been involved with in their career.
Let us now look beyond the infighting of Modu Sheriff and Makarfi for a moment and reflect again on the biblical story cited above. It is believed that a loving mother or someone who genuinely cares deeply for something will take ownership of that thing seriously enough to protect it from harm. Unfortunately, there are many instances in our dear country where I question the genuineness of the love some people claim for their community, their zone and the country at large.
Take the Niger-Delta for example. Would I despoil and degrade my ancestral home to the extent the militants have done to score a political point? Would I declare my home a theatre of war and poverty because of ‘two fighting?’ In other words, is the destruction of land, sea and air and the incapacitation of economic activities of Niger-Delta by Niger-Deltans themselves a show of love for their land and people? And where do we situate the elders of the oil producing communities who have looked the other way because of their greed? Violence always seems the easier option to dialogue; but it is often the one with the greater casualty.
And while still on violence, the incessant, uncontrollable fighting between neighbours in Southern Kaduna gives one cause for concern. This fight to finish; this decision to have it all or destroy it all will lead to no winners at the end of the day. Sadly, there is no King Solomon in the place to show them the folly of their collective actions and test the genuineness of their love for the land they are killing and dying for.
And no elders who can rise above the fray. Also sad is the fact that many of those who have governed the State—military or civilians—are Lilliputians. Small men who can’t think beyond their noses and I don’t necessary mean that literally. The situation in Kaduna is a failure of leadership—State, Zonal, National and religious.
Modu Sheriff and Makarfi need to shelve their swords and embrace dialogue in the interest of the party. Is time for both of them to step down if they truly care about the survival of PDP. When I was young, the term ‘two fighting’ was usually used to refer to kids who fought over something so trivial that they often forgot what it was. It was not a term we used for adults. The leaders of these two factions must therefore stop this ‘two fighting’ and grow up.