News

Nigeria And Nigerians Are Apart

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

Yau da shi ya sa allura ginin rijiya (Hausa axiom) 

literally means doing a thing little by little made it possible for the needle to dig a well.

During the week, this was one of the many sad headlines; Boko Haram seizes Shiroro, Rafi LGs in Niger. The story had the following riders…• Troops kill over 50 ISWAP fighters in reprisal for General’s death • Zulum postpones projects inauguration to honour fallen soldiers • Bandits ready to drop arms says Gumi • EFCC accuses NPOs of supporting terrorism • Tiv, other Benue groups, LG bosses pledge to back security agencies.

The opening paragraph states “Boko Haram terrorists have taken over five communities in Rafi and Shiroro local councils of Niger State, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ahmed Matane, has disclosed.”

The SSG explained that the terrorists were fully in charge in Hanawanka and Madaka in Rafi as well as Kurebe, Gussau and Farina Kuka in Shiroro, forcing the rural dwellers to migrate to safer grounds. According to the SSG, the terrorists move freely in the affected areas, wielding sophisticated and menacing weapons.

He added that the state has already notified security agencies for proper urgent security measures.

Let us reflect on this, and I start in this manner; A man is wearing black, black shoes, socks, trousers, lumper gloves. He is walking down a black street with all the street lamps off. A black car is coming towards him, its lights off but somehow manages to stop in time. How did the driver see the man?

Nigeria often than not reminds of this fable; In a forest, a pregnant deer is about to give birth. She finds a remote grass field near a strong-flowing river. This seemed like a safe place. Suddenly labour pains begin.

At the same moment, dark clouds gather around above & lightning starts a forest fire. She looks to her left and sees a hunter with his bow extended pointing at her. To her right, she spots a hungry lion approaching her.

What can the pregnant deer do?

She is in labour!

What will happen?

Will the deer survive?

Will she give birth to a fawn?

Will the fawn survive?

Or will everything be burnt by the forest fire?

Will she perish to the hunters’ arrow?

Will she die a horrible death at the hands of the hungry male lion approaching her?

She is constrained by the fire on the one side and the flowing river on the other and boxed in by her natural predators.

What does she do? She focuses on giving birth to a new life. It’s not just bad or worse–Her case is ‘worsetest’

As she goes ahead to birth, the sequence of events that follows are:

– Lightning strikes and blinds the hunter.

– He releases the arrow which zips past the deer & strikes the hungry lion.

– It starts to rain heavily, & the forest fire is slowly doused by the rain.

– The deer gives birth to a healthy fawn.

Do we see Nigeria in the story, a nation that is at a different trajectory with her people, leaders and the led towing different tracks, with loads so wrong with her, and her realities with negative ends and yet plenty possibilities.

Maybe we can learn from the deer. The priority of the deer, in that given moment, was simply to give birth to a baby. The rest was not in her hands and any action or reaction that changed her focus would have likely resulted in death or disaster. What is our focus?

We have to roll up our sleeves and move on to a focus. The problem we have is not about any union. It is about the IRRESPONSIBILITY, THE VISIONLESS-NESS, THE GREED, THE MENTAL ILLNESS, THE COWARDICE of the few who had and still have the opportunity, even me and you…but we fight Christians, fight Muslims, fight Idomas, Nupes, Beroms, and what not while terrorists and all form of ills fight us.

I may not agree with you but will not deny you the right to that opinion. We certainly have a right to be wrong; but for how long, if we want change. It will come like the needle, very slowly, but do we want change and what are our priorities?

They said, “Mockingbird, you are accused of insulting the king.” It asked when would it have time to insult the king, seeing that it must sing two hundred songs in the morning, two hundred in the afternoon, and two hundred at night, mixing it all up with some frolicsome notes?

Some people have criticized me for repeating the same story over again, that may be true but certainly I have no apologies because the truth is that if we were what we ought to be then I probably would have resorted to doing something else. We refuse to listen, so I repeat the message, I change the tempo, I change the direction, I vary the stand but the message remains largely the same that we have a problem and we need to solve our problems.

In Greek myth the legend Cassandra, I recall, was condemned to know the future but to be disbelieved when she foretold it. Hence the agony of foreknowledge combined with the impotence to do anything about it. So the pain that we know our problems but seem condemned to an existence of being incapable of solving them.

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit but we in Nigeria have no limits, every single hour we endure a life that is best described as foolish.

A man was working when his boss started shouting at him. It made him feel weak and useless. The man went home and immediately shouted at his wife accusing her of spending too much money. It made her feel small and helpless. So the wife shouted at their son for breaking a plate. It made the child feel clumsy and stupid.

So the child shouted at the dog and kicked it, the dog felt hurt and threatened. So the dog ran out and bit a woman on the street. The woman was shocked and in pain. She went to the hospital to treat the bite and shouted at the doctor because the treatment hurt. The doctor felt frustrated and unappreciated.

So the doctor went home and shouted at his mother for not having dinner ready.

The mother stayed calm, she stroked his hair and said, “Tomorrow I cook your favorite meal, you work so hard and you’re very tired, I’ll go put fresh sheets on your bed, so you can have a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel better in the morning.”

She kissed on the cheek and left him alone to rest, and so the circle of anger was broken, patience, forgiveness and love.

I would end with these words on marble by the now late Nurudeen Lemu, “Every ethnic group is an oppressed minority somewhere. Every group is a religious and ethnic minority somewhere. Every majority or settler is an indigene somewhere. In one way, we are all settlers; we just don’t remember where we came from or why we came. But ultimately, we are all visitors to this planet, from God we come and to Him we return.”

The man driving a black car in my earlier analogy, who avoided killing the man wearing black, was able to see despite all the darkness because there was light. When will Nigerians see the light of our precarious state—only time would tell.

Contact the writer: pcdbooks@gmail.com

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