January 1, 2021

When good men do nothing

By Sunny Ikhioya

I DID not read Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah’s “A nation in search of vindication” until after the indirect response of the Federal Government, through the minister of information and that of a group that called itself ” APC Youth Forum”. We are really in denial in this nation, but, fortunately, some chosen ones among us have decided to stand out and not to join the bandwagon of “siddon look”.

If we are truly a people of conscience, we would be in our respective homes and worship places, in sober reflection of the message the Bishop just delivered to the nation.

It calls for a deep understanding and reflection, that should serve as a thrust to project the nation rightly. But no, people will see it out of context, those that want to dance to the tunes of their pay masters, that will put the nation’s interest at the bottom, while theirs will be at the top.

Kukah’s piece is a bold narrative of the situation of the country as it currently stands. We know where we were in 2015 and we know where we now stand at the end of 2020; “at least there was food to eat and people could go to the toilet without fear”. Where are we today, after all the flavoured promises? There is no way that we can make progress, if we do not accept the true situation of the country.

It is when we agree that there is a problem that we can begin to probe causes and diagnosis. But, we cannot do that in fear, because fear expunges our sense of logical reasoning and that is the situation that this country has found itself. Edmund Burke (1770) wrote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing…when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

The good ones among us have collectively gone silent and as a result, things have progressively deteriorated in this country. Our politicians played the do or die politics, we all kept quiet, then they resorted to ethnicity and religion, the whole nation kept quiet and now, collectively, the whole nation is in decline. This is what Kukah meant when he said “each and everyone of us has contributed to the darkness of our nation.”

It is too glaring to see but, because we are deeply entrenched in our rot of corruption and greediness, no one is ready to take the bull by the horn, the consequences have now dawned on all of us and darkness is staring us in the face.

What are the realities of today’s Nigeria? According to Kukah; endless bloodletting, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and community violence,  kidnappings, armed robberies and “the pursuit of this self defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion.”

If we want to be honest with ourselves, this is the basic truth and to him; “in a way, the choices we make will help us decide whether this (coming) year is our annus mirabilis (year of joy) or our annus horribilis (year of sadness )”, it is our choice to make. Sometimes, each of us has to take the initiative, even if it is a little embarrassing, to prevent something even more embarrassing or even more dangerous. For most of us, our default is to keep quiet and try not to make any waves.

ALSO READ: Anambra Court grants interlocutory injunction on 102 years land dispute

Someone once noted that “it is easier to do nothing in a difficult time but that is not what we are created for…God looks for people who will take the initiative, speak truth in hard places, say the least painful two per cent that needs to be said and cut off tragedy at the pass.” That is why we must give kudos to Bishop Kukah, it takes a lot of courage to come out this way, with personal risks to life and property, in the heart of the caliphate.

But he is a man of God, following in the holy doctrine that “if you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited. Rescue those being taken off to death and save those stumbling towards slaughter.”

We have lots of people in this country, feeling same way as the venerable Bishop, whether they are APC or PDP or others. They are all feeling the drift of a once prosperous and cohesive nation but, courage has failed them, they prefer to whimper in whispers. Even among those in government, it is not a matter for the president alone, that is why Kukah said that we are all to blame.

The Nigerian situation has become a very complex course of study for students of contemporary politics. This is so because we cannot all agree on the causes of our present predicament, whether to put the blame on the president or his team of ministers and advisers. It is also being asked on the roles of states and local governments. If the states have done better in the management of the grassroots, maybe, situations would have been better.

Some are of the view that the President is clean and full of good intentions for the nation but, those he has entrusted with the task of running the government with him are the problem. It has become a broken record, Buhari is a good man but the rest are not helping him, is that supposed to be the answer to our problems?

We just witnessed how he responded to a recent attack by the bandits, by saying that he has given the military all that is required for them to prosecute their assignments successfully.

The question is: if that fails, what is the next thing to do? When someone you have appointed to oversee key functions in your government fails, what is to be done? The truth is that, even the President’s men are not facing him with the realities of situations on ground and until we face these realities, we will continue to remain in same situation. As the very momentous year 2020 is coming to a close, we must begin to examine our position ,and, like Bishop Kukah face the realities of our situation and begin to make amends.

If we desire a progressive nation state, we must run an inclusive government of all ethnic groups and religion, but if we desire not to take heed, then we must be ready for the restructuring that will surely come.

Ikhioya wrote 

Vanguard News Nigeria