I have seen images of the recent mayhem in Jos. Children were slaughtered like goats. Women were pierced and chopped into pieces. Men and their families were massacred without mercy. I don’t know the animals that carried out the massacres but those slaughtered were Christians. It’s easy to infer that they were killed by irate Muslim mobs.
Nigerians and the world at large are now used to these scenarios of religious riots and counter-riots especially in Northern Nigeria. Jos is the capital of Plateau State in the middle belt region of Nigeria. But it is a little bit tilted to the north.
The riots that took place over the weekend of 6-7th march is definitely not going to be the last of it. There are reports of tension and likely retaliation from the affected group. Let us not forget that the Christians defended themselves the last time they were attacked early this year. As a matter of fact their assailants were shocked by the defense mechanisms that the Christians put up, even in holy places of worship.
This would explain the nature of the recent attack which came as a surprise and the Christians were defenseless. But how long will this mice and cats games continue? How long? What is the origin of these crises? What has the governor of Plateau state done to end the crises? What is he doing on short and long term bases?
Some of us have argued that Nigeria is a failed country. We have been labeled as unpatriotic. But how does one reconcile the killing of innocent children and women in Jos with the pretension that Nigeria is not a failed country? It’s hard, isn’t it?
Nigeria is a complex country. The recent madness in Jos has heightened the call for the segregation of the country. But we must not forget that our country is not only complex but interwoven. There will not be any easy way out of the dilemma that was imposed on us by the British amalgamation of 1914 when Northern Nigeria was merged with Southern Nigeria. There will not be any easy way out of the message brought by the missionaries from the south and the jihadist from the north. Nigeria is a melting point for political, cultural, religious, and social disorientation and disasters. How we manage to survive together for so long is an additional mystery.
Nigeria may never know peace as a united country. It will be difficult to find political solutions to the country falsely called Nigeria. Nevertheless these aberrations do by any means not justify the stupidity and madness that has been displayed in Nigerian political and public spaces.
Nigerian politicians ranked among the worst in the world. They are corrupt, wicked and clothed in absurdities. They almost have no sense and no direction in their thinking. The significant thing with being a Nigerian politician is to be cunning and crafty with looting of public funds, and to be a genius with falsification of contract sums and other things they allow them to rip the national treasury one way or the other. This has been going on for 50 years, unabated!
Hence the country went on a free fall. Nigerian went from being the best place to live in Africa to one of the worst places in the world. In Nigeria today electricity generation is nearly 0%. Is there a worse place on earth? I am still trying to figure out if there is any where on earth where electricity generation is nearly 0%. If there is none, then Nigeria is probably the worst place to live in, Somalia apart. I mean what is life without the uninterrupted supply of electricity?
If I was the president or acting president of Nigeria, I will move my office to Jos for at least one week. I will take over the position of the governor, literarily. I will make consultations with the people and be among them. I will try to find out the root cause of the Jos riots. I will never set up any useless committee or delegation or fact finding committees. I will be on the field and find out the nature of the problems. In fact I will ask the people, how can we help you, how can we solve these problems? I believe that anything short of this approach will not solve the problem. Many more lives will be lost and the country will sink deeper into man-made depressions.
But in Nigeria the acting or whatever president will be busy with contracts, oil rigs, future election manipulations and self preservation. Nigerian politicians acts in senseless manners and they have no idea what public service entails. Sometimes I wonder if their brains sublimed the moment they get into office by their violent and dubious acts.
I’m trying to love Nigeria but I’m perplexed and honestly speaking I’m also confused. We give an impression to the world that we are uncivilized whereas we are not. In Nigeria and abroad we have millions of Nigerians who are brainers, geniuses and trailblazers in different fields and endeavors of life. Across the world we continue to mentor people, children and even in some cases there are Nigerians mentoring a whole community of people.
But the question is, where is this pool of intelligence where and when it is most needed? Why is the quality of our lives in Nigeria below acceptable international standards? From Nigeria, why is our image that of corruption, massacres, barbaric acts, poverty, no electricity, no economic prowess, no employment and all types of vices you can think of including armed robbery and kidnapping? I am a frustrated Nigerian. I don’t like how the events in Nigeria are affecting the way people are looking at me and my compatriots on foreign lands. Sometimes you can see in their looks-why don’t these “fools” go home and fix their country?
The point is there are millions of Nigerians living in Nigeria who know what to do about the problems in Nigeria. But like the rest of us, they have allowed the violent and ruthless people to take over governance. Sometimes several people with good intentions get into government and they soon join the bandwagon of looters. They suddenly forget the sons and daughters of whom they are and they begin to acquire wealth illegally! They forget their roots and add to the loads of problems. It is called the Nigerian mentality.
So where and what is our hope. Will there come a time when good people will show good traits in public service? Will this country by salvaged? By who? A messiah? Will Nigeria ever know peace, progress and true development? Will there come a time when rulers will be replaced by leaders with visions? What is the way out of the Nigerian dilemma?