March 3, 2023

Lessons we must learn from our past 

May Day amid strike fevers

AGAINST the backdrop of our past experiences, it is important for us, both as individuals and as a country, to look back, down the road we have travelled and take stocks. As a country, we are bleeding on all fronts. Our history is stained with blood, strewn with the debris of our mistakes and regrets. Unfortunately, life, for many of us, has been short and brutish, just like in the Hobbesian state of nature. We have lived our lives in fear for our safety. We have for a long time lived in trepidation of what tomorrow may bring.

But now, we must be brutally honest with ourselves. We must tell ourselves the truth – that bloodshed brings reproach, both to the individual and to a nation. By now, Nigerians ought to have learned from experience that no matter what we do to ourselves, we must never resort to killing fellow human beings, especially innocent persons, for whatever reason. Clearly, our history has shown that bloodshed is the bane of our existence.  

From the events that led to the civil war, to the needless bloodbath which the war in itself was, down to the reign of terror in the last eight years, those who rule over the affairs of our lives should have learnt important lessons and steered the country away from further bloodshed. But unfortunately, that has not been the case.

For instance, December last year, there were attacks on communities in Kaduna State where 37 people were killed and seven Chinese nationals abducted. The Chinese were later rescued by security agencies, because they are Chinese. There was also the gruesome killing of Mr. Ejike Egwu, Chukwuemeka Ajah and many others in Amaeze community of Ishiagu, Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Before those killings there had been political assassinations accompanying the run-up to the 2023 general elections. The Labour Party Women Leader in Kaura, Kaduna State, Victoria Chintex, was on Monday November 28, 2022 shot dead by assassins. On December 16, the Labour Party House of Assembly candidate for Onu Imo State constituency, Mr. Christopher Elehu, was also assassinated by gunmen, who also burnt his house. Capping these was the killing of a lawyer, Omobolanle Raheem, by a policeman in Lagos.    

And since the beginning of the new year 2023, Nigerians have witnessed many fresh killings. These orgies of killings forced the House of Representatives at a plenary session last December to declare that these killings have been going on without proactive measures initiated by government to avert them.

Governments, all over the world, exist to protect the life and property of citizens. When government serially fails in this most important duty, the inevitable consequences are anarchy and war. History is replete with wars ignited by assassinations.  

 The Federal Government must show sincerity in using our security agencies to prevent the killing of innocent citizens, and whenever it unavoidably occurs, the culprits must be arrested and brought to book. This is the only way we can have peace and survive as one country.