By Benjamin Bala
In this article, “reggae” is a metaphor for “war” (apologies to reggae music lovers) and “blues” for “peace”. Venom has been released into our national space, threatening our peace and unity. The reggae drumming is so loud that only the dance is remaining. If the youths do not stop this reggae drumming and the dance ever starts, we will all sweat blood.
Tension is high across religious, ethnic and regional divides as if they were the problem. But our problem is leadership failure from a chain of some dishonest cabals called politicians and elites, who squander our common wealth and keep us perpetually impoverished. They throw crumbs from their loots to few youths pretending to love them whereas their main motive is to enforce their political base.
Whenever we are heading towards discovering their antics and demanding accountability, they employ dubious diversionary tactics to cause confusion among us using our religious, ethnic and regional differences. Intoxicated by their crumbs, the youths fall for their tactics. This is their game for years and we seem not to get it despite our level of education.
But should the reggae dance begin, who will be at the receiving end? Surely, the same youths-victims of the cabals whose families are in the safety of Europe and America. If the reggae dance begins, and human blood starts spilling, and heads rolling, the cabals escape to join their families. And make no mistake, they will return with their children to continue their domination over our remnant.
Dear Nigerian youths, similar reggae drums preceded the 1967-1970 reggae dance which brought untold hardship and the death of innocent people including women and children. Why repeat an ugly avoidable history? No sane person hits his leg twice on the same stone. The path we are trading will only lead to anguish, pain and sorrow. Therefore, in the spirit of our common humanity, let’s stop the reggae and start playing the blues.
Listen to the voice of reason. Try this one action with resolve and determination and see if things will not change. Stop eying the looters’ crumbs. Nigerian youths have the numerical advantage, the education, agility, and professional advantage. All we need is synergy to form one united body that will peacefully and most respectfully but resolutely and uncompromisingly face the nation’s common enemies. Nigerian youths, it is time to take your destiny into your hands.
Our 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression (chapter 4, Sections 39 & 40). Imagine the compelling impact of a peaceful and orderly rally to mount pressure on government; Federal or State? Remember the “Enough is Enough” 6th February, 2017 rallies across few cities to which Acting President Yemi Osinbajo reacted, “We have heard you loud and clear” (Vanguard 06.02.2017). Those rallies are believed to have propelled the Federal Government to launch the “Economic Recovery plan” afterwards. Nigerian Youths have a huge capacity to recover their stolen destiny from the cabals raping this country.
United, we can collectively, challenge those constitutional clauses that enforce their power to oppress us, like the ages for contesting elective positions. This kind of unity can make it easy to recall elected officials who reasonably perform below expectations, pressure government on issues as payment of salaries and pensions, the economy, employment, good roads, light, Water and other amenities. With these done fairly, who will cry of marginalization anymore?
Nigerian youths, “stop the reggae, play the blues”. Let there be peace and unity. Even if the country will eventually break up some day, let it happen peacefully in the same manner our independence was gotten because we will still need each other. We have continued to interact peacefully with the British people because the break was peaceful. By the way, Nigerians are living in other parts of the world peacefully. Nigerian Christians are living in many Islamic countries just as Nigerian Muslims are living in some Christian dominated countries and carrying out their lawful businesses. Why then can’t we live peacefully with one another? Note that one may know how war begins but never knows how it will end.
Rev. Fr. Benjamin Bala is a Catholic Priest