Sorrows, Tears, And Blood, And Nigeria, By Prince Charles Dickson Ph.D

Curtains Raised…

Girls with skimpy skirts dancing with the mammalians dangling to the rhythm but their faces bore no radiance.

It was vintage Fela…

Eh-ya!

Everybody run run run

Eh-ya!

Everybody scatter scatter

Eh-ya!

Some people lost some bread

Eh-ya!

Someone nearly die

Eh-ya!

Someone just die

Eh-ya!

Police they come, army they come

Eh-ya!

Confusion everywhere

Eh-ya!

Seven minutes later

All don cool down, brother

Police don go away

Army don disappear

Them leave sorrow, tears and blood

Them regular trademark

Them leave sorrow, tears and blood

Them regular trademark

Them regular trademark

Them regular trademark

La la la la

[Verse 1]

My people self they fear too much

We fear for the thing we no see

We fear for the air around us

We fear to fight for freedom

We fear to fight for liberty

We fear to fight for justice

We fear to fight for happiness

We always get reason to fear:

We no wan die

We no wan wound

We no wan quench

We no wan go

I get one child

Mama dey for house

Papa dey for house

I wan build house

I don build house

I no want quench

I want enjoy

I no wan go

Ah!

So policeman go slap your face

You no go talk

Army man go whip your yansh

You go they look like donkey

Rhodesia they do them own

Our leaders they yab for nothing

South Africa they do them own

Them leave sorrow, tears and blood

Them regular trademark

Them regular trademark

Them regular trademark

Them regular trademark

Them regular trademark

Regular trademark

Them regular trademark

That is why;

[Chorus]

Eh-ya!

Everybody run run run

Eh-ya!

Everybody scatter scatter

Eh-ya!

Some people lost some bread

Eh-ya!

Someone nearly die

Eh-ya!

Someone just die

Eh-ya!

Police they come, army they come

Eh-ya!

Confusion everywhere

[Verse 2]

Ah, na so

Time go they go

Time no wait for nobody

Like that: choo, choo, choo, ah

But police go they come, army go they come

With confusion

In style like this:

*Mimics sounds of motor vehicle*

[Chorus]

In 2001 the Jos conflict at its peak had claimed several lives, and zones and divided walls. Christians in their wall, natives stayed put, Igbos in their comfort zone.

So this Hausa man drove into Apata a largely Igbo and by extension Christian enclave. He had firewood in his truck. The Igbos rushes and bought his truck empty.

Not until he was done and about to live did one Igbo man ask him, “how come you had the courage to be here”?

He answered, “I did rather be killed here by you guys than rather be killed by hunger in my own area of Jos.

The Igbos wanted his firewood and he their money…

I will tell us a second story from afar.

Robert E. Lee trusted few men more than Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart, or “Jeb” as he came to be known. Lee and Jeb had been friends for years before the Civil War began, serving together in the US Army in numerous military campaigns through- out the 1850s. Jeb was trustworthy, unflinchingly brave, and an expert in reconnaissance. Despite his peculiar flair for the dramatic (he would often lead his men into battles sporting a red cape, an ostrich plume, and drenched in cologne), Jeb was a serious soldier. General Lee said that Jeb was the only commander he trusted to bring him infallibly reliable intel. Lee called Jeb his “eyes.”

Jeb literally ran circles around the Union’s Army of the Potomac and reported every detail of their movement back to General Lee. Jeb’s intel gave Lee the advantage at Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. By the summer of 1863, momentum in the war was swinging toward the Confederacy.

But in the moment Robert E. Lee needed him most, Jeb didn’t show.

In June of 1863, Lee embarked on an audacious march north into the very heart of the Union. He ordered Jeb to parallel his march in the west, through the Shenandoah Valley. Instead, following a hunch, Jeb went east. He was attempting, against orders, to outflank the Union Army once again. But his decision left General Lee in the dark for eight days. During that time, Lee blindly stumbled across a group of soldiers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, who he assumed were a rag-tag local militia. Because Lee’s “eyes” were off wandering miles away, Lee had no clue that he had just encountered the western tip of the primary Union army.

By the time Jeb’s cavalry arrived in Gettysburg on July 2, he was too late. The battle of Gettysburg was nearly over. Furious, Lee called Jeb into his headquarters. All Lee could say was “General Stuart, where have you been?”

Had Jeb arrived when Lee expected him, historians say the battle of Gettysburg might have gone differently. Instead, Gettysburg marked the turning point in the war. General Lee must have asked himself again and again: “General Stuart, why were you late? Where were you?”

Where were you?

It’s a question we’ve all asked of somebody. Their absence or tardiness left us feeling abandoned, helpless, confused, and angry. If the stakes were high, we wondered if that person actually cared about us at all. Those moments when someone I depended on let me down have left me feeling helpless. When friends forget to call. When a trusted colleague doesn’t deliver. When a teammate doesn’t show up.

We are all crying and wailing about the wanton killings again. All the narratives, and counter narratives. The blame games, from government to individuals, are you part of the solution or we are on the sidon look button. Every crisis you see or hear about, close or far away will one day affect you too, that’s if it hasn’t affected you. There’s need for us to engage like the firewood seller beyond that are we responding or waiting for response…

So what are the security forces doing from local police to the military, who provides intel; why are they reactionary than proactive. The helicopters suddenly doing reconnaissance where were they.

If these killings are truly ebbed in the common narrative of retaliatory attacks, where are those to engender dialogue? For now the conflict merchants are smiling amidst tears, sorrows and blood from Zamfara, to Kaduna, Taraba and Plateau, Akwa Ibom and Adamawa, it’s an endless list of states with sad tales.

I am not prophesying dooms day, I see hope, though as always I remain cautiously optimistic about the Nigerian project, if there is any and what it is in the first place but trust me on this, before the year ends, there will be more killings, yes more killings, and another round of blames, wails, sorrows, and tears and Nigeria; for how long—Only time would tell.

Contact te writer: pcdbooks@gmail.com

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