Saturday, January 21, 2012

How did we get to this stage?

This post is a bit disjointed. I wasn’t thinking straight while writing it, I just had to write something. Please bear with me.

For the first time, I had trouble sleeping... For the first time, I had nightmares... For the first time, I was worried.... For the second time, I truly cried......all these for my country, all these for a country I’ve always been proud to associate with irrespective of its many ‘stigmas’. Those who know me very well know I’m a diehard patriotic Nigerian, I love this country to a fault. I’ll see Nigeria’s so many flaws and still refuse to admit them; that’s just me. I remember introducing myself on air sometime ago as Ádenike Nigerian Adewuyi’; yes, it’s that serious.

I had just posted a silly tweet about ‘Okafor’s Law’ and right after my tweet ‘was successfully posted’, I saw tweets about explosions rocking Kano, and before I could come to terms with those tweets, I saw another tweet about a Channels TV reporter who had also been killed in the blasts. I cringed immediately. Then I saw the report about the suicide bomber driving into a class of police wives who were in a sewing class; then I begun to cry.... then my battery drained out. Then I asked myself, how did we get here? Where and when did things go wrong? When exactly did things go this awry? What were we doing when things got this bad? I know these are rhetorical questions by the way. January is almost out of our way and there hasn’t been one piece of good news since the year started.
I immediately picked up my other phone to call my old friend who’s a security operative up north to ask if he was safe and he replied in the affirmative, I was actually crying while speaking to him. Then afterwards, I slept off. I woke up at 0148hrs and I realized power was back so I picked up my pen and a loose sheet of paper and started penning down the following questions as they came into my head. Some have answers which I happen to know, some are rhetorical questions,some are plain trivial and some I honestly don’t have answers to.
• What and who started Boko Haram? They sure are against Western values, culture and education, right?
• Their leader, Mohammed Yusuf was killed sometime in 2009 by the police (extra judicial killing). Why exactly was he killed?
• What were their activities like during Yusuf's lifetime?
• Who were their targets then? Civilians? Security operatives (Police/Military)
• What exactly were their demands then?
• Immediately after the extra judicial killing of Yusuf, were they still this visible?
• During the late President Umaru Musa Yaradua’s tenure, can we remember what their modus operandi was like? Were they more visible?
• After President Yaradua’s death, were they still operating?
• Build up to the April elections, politicians were making statements and the one that will stick to my memory for a very long time still remains former Vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s statement about making Nigeria ungovernable for President Jonathan if he eventually becomes president. Correct me if I'm wrong, isn't that supposed to be a treasonable statement. Was Atiku ‘invited’ for interrogation?
• Was or is the CPC in any way linked to these terrorists?
• They are now more ferocious; what could have triggered it?
• If it is truly about opposing Western values, why kill Northerners? Why kill their people? They also use Western medium to pass their messages across. They ride ‘Western’ cars while going to bomb targets. They use phones to send threats etc
• Is it political? I’ve heard this a million and one times and I’m yet to understand why a sane politician or group of politicians will actually be popping champagne to all these. Is it possible?
• Well, if it is political; what is the aim of the politician(s)? To even out?
• We know we’ve got one of the most embarrassing and porous borders in Africa (if not in the world) but the arms and ammunition these terrorists have is quite alarming. Are we sure our security operatives are not involved? I don’t trust them one bit.

For the umpteenth time, our security operatives have failed us. They have failed us woefully, in fact they are a bunch of let downs. But can we blame them? The average policeman is perpetually looking hungry. They are ill equipped; financially and professionally, they are not motivated in any shape or form. They can’t combat lesser crimes let alone a crime as huge as terrorism, they just can’t. Or those policemen that stop you on 3rd Mainland bridge can fight Boko Haram? Flash back please and tell me a big, fat NO!

Now, let us look at this present government of the day. Do I pity President Goodluck Jonathan? No I don’t. For the fact that he still sleeps at night, is enough reason for me not to pity him. For the fact that IGP Hafeez Ringim still gets paid is enough reason for me not to pity him. For the mere fact that General Azazi still has a job is enough reason for me not to pity him. It is no longer news that this government of the day has wasted too much time on frivolities, highly unnecessary matters. Immediately GEJ got on board, the first thing he worked on was tenure elongation. Was that in his manifesto? No! January 1st 2012 came in with fuel subsidy; how insensitive can this government be? January 1st in this part of the world is a day that is highly revered. We don’t joke with the first day of the year in this part of the world, it’s sacred. For you to announce untold hardship to your people on such a day shows how inconsiderate, insensitive and callous this present administration is.

Now back to the Kano bombings. Boko Haram claimed responsibility while the explosions were still rocking Kano; does that say anything? To me, that was a little bit suspicious. They should be busy coordinating right? But what do I know? Also, Boko Haram’s silence during the fuel subsidy protests worries me also. Something is not right about the whole thing.

In conclusion, let us flashback to the time when we used to say no sane Nigerian can ever strap a bomb to himself. When we used to think Nigerians loved life too much to do that,when Abdul Muttalab looked like an alien on the TV to us. Well, that was then. We now have real suicide bombers amongst us. What is the way out?

This is no longer a joke, this is for real, it is no movie my people and all these aren't happening in Afghanistan or in Pakistan;they are happening in Nigeria. Where do we go from here? I said on air sometime ago that it is quite easy for a southerner or an easterner to read about these bombings in the newspapers, flip to the next page and move on with the thought ‘after all it’s up north’. I interviewed some Oyo state indigenes who fled the north (Yobe state to be precise) and they sure didn’t have great stories to tell. These are people who fled Yobe with the outfits they had on, with no money; nothing.They said their streets looked like a war zone. And these are people who had lived in that state for 25 years. They’ve seen Boko Haram in action and they know they can never be underestimated.

Can you, with a straight face say you are safe where you are?

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.
(To the family of Enenche Akogwu of Channels TV; may God console you)

3 comments:

  1. In the hours after the 9/11 attack on th US, Ex-President Bush made clear and categorically statement about the terrorist thus "We shall hunt them, fish them out and deal with them" if I may paraphrase. Our President GED after the Madalla attack said "Boko Haram is a threat we have to live with till it fizzle out!! I share your heartache more so after a friend translated the statement(in Hausa language) issued by Boko Haram after the Kano attack. Oh dear I became even more afraid when I saw a clip of their training on AlJazeera. I can only wonder as well how GEJ sleeps at night and still no statement till now!!

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  2. we are not safe...but dere's is nothing we can do than to call on God..we are not putting God first in Nigeria..who'd av tot dat we'd av suicide bombers in Nigeria..who'd av tot dat we'd get to this unbearable stage..If God wud allow Nigeria to unravel like,am very sure He'd take care of us in the aftermath which undoubtedly wud be a major storm...but we all just av to be very prayerful...

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  3. Its serious o.. I went through something similar last night as well.I shouted and ranted then I went to sleep. Boko haram didn't start out as a terrorist group. they were forced into violence by the govt. I had the chance to speak with one of then in the north a while ago. its a very long story. I'll blog about the encounter on of these days but they started out like the Adedibu dynasty in Oyo state. Until Alimodu Sheriff,who used to be one of them until he became governor, had their leader killed in police custody and went to Abuja to label them terrorists. Long story but like i told the guy, nothing justifies the killing of innocent people. NOTHING!.. lets just keep praying. Hopefully, someday, God will answer our prayers. But the question i have been asking myself is this; is there anything we the citizens can do, seeing as the government has failed us yet again, to curb this menace? pls let me know if anything occurs to you..

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