Column News

Does Nigeria Deserve Us?

Prince Charles Dickson PhD

“When the deaf man beats a drum for you to dance, just dance…” AbdulChukwudi

According to online news outlet PREMIUM TIMES—Gunmen, believed to be bandits, killed at least 43 people including 30 soldiers and seven mobile police personnel in an attack on a mining site in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, local sources have said.

The Niger State Government, while confirming the attack, however, said the number of casualties is yet to be ascertained.

Residents said a search party found 37 bodies of soldiers and policemen in a bush near the mining site Thursday morning.

Six other corpses of civilians were also recovered from the bush.

The residents said many Chinese nationals and Nigerians were also abducted during the attack on the site.

Yusuf Kokki, the co-convener, Concerned Shiroro Youths, in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES, said residents witnessed the attack on the site by several heavily armed assailants.

“The deaths from the Ajata – Aboki massacre have risen astronomically as, at present, almost thirty soldiers have been discovered in the bush and confirmed dead,” Mr Kokki said.

In relation to the above—Aisha Yusuf, fiancee of one of the soldiers killed in the Shiroro attack in Niger took to Facebook to pay tributes to her fiance, lamenting that Nigeria didn’t deserve him.

In the emotional post titled ‘My heart is pained’, on her Facebook handle, Yusuf revealed that the pain was unbearable and didn’t know how to recover from the sorrowful event.

“I lost the love of my life on Wednesday in Shiroro, Niger State. My friend, my lover… My heartbeat, my fiancée…the man who changed my strong view on inter-cultural marriage. I still can’t believe that my baby is gone. Where do I start from? Where do I pick up from?

“People said I should take it easy that God has a plan but I can’t even understand why God allowed such to happen. He was diligent. He was honest and hardworking. He was a good man, A God-fearing man who loved his family and his country. He gave his life for that cause,” she wrote.

Yusuf noted that even in the midst of the turmoil, she was hopeful that the country would rise again.

She added, “Nigeria didn’t deserve you baby. Now I know how other wives who lost their husbands to terrorists feel. It’s a pain that is unbearable…cannot be described. Please the family and I need your prayers…This is difficult for all of us but we believe God has a reason.

“In the midst of all these killings, Nigeria will rise again. My baby’s death will not be for nothing…. Rest well Obim…I love you and I’d always love you.”

Aisha indeed in lamenting stated Nigeria didn’t deserve her fiancée. The truth is we don’t deserve Nigeria, the feeling is mutual. We have moved ahead like nothing happened, and really, I dare ask, did anything happen, yesterday it was in Taraba where soldiers were killed, and a day before it was the Owo massacre, a night later it was the Kuje Prisons attack, one of many such attacks.

A people with a short fuse memory, preferring to largely forget very quickly from a point of learning slowly, we either never remember or we choose to totally forget. There will be no justice of any form…Our case like the, “Mocking bird, 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?

We pray to a Christian God at the beginning of a function, and close the same with a prayer to a Muslim AILah and then in the same function discuss how to steal because really it is what we deserve.

It’s not just leadership problems that worry Nigeria. No, it’s the problem of you, me and us. Our name Nigeria has left a sour taste in the mouth, more so in recent times time, we have become fanatical, we cannot change our mind, we cannot change the subject, so we are still grappling with the same problems, only the styles that change and new terminologies developed but the ideology be it corruption or ethnicity it remains largely the same. So, our culture has been shaped by the Nigerian factor, one that we have been forced to develop for lack of direction, for lack of a beginning. So as a nation we have continued with a culture of indifference.

Do we appreciate Nigeria, if we do not, we do not deserve it, we want the Nigeria of our dreams, with this and that, with leadership made in heaven but we have refused to go back and ask patiently does Nigeria deserve us? Today it is all talk about transformation, yet we forget that these are not new; no one catches a fish in anger.

We are plagued by our lack of simple ethics. We are willing to offer a bribe even when not asked, because often than not we are guilty until presumed innocent. So, we blame our ineptitude on every other person but us. Until we start to treat Nigeria as our business, and not some prodigal orphan, that we don’t deserve Nigeria, neither does Nigeria deserve us, we will keep going round in circles; as it is, we are just a people with some personal interests.

Let me end with this riddle; a man is wearing black, black shoes, socks, trousers, and 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? He saw the man because it was daytime, when will it be the day for Nigeria, her leaders, and people to see through all our dramas and face the issues head on—only time would tell. 

Contact the writer: pcdbooks@gmail.com

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