Two True Stories From Pakistan

Adeola Aderounmu

There was once a liberal governor in Pakistan in the state of Punjab.

He wanted peace to reign in his domain and he wanted to promote the spirit of tolerance. He wanted to promote the right of children and women. He did his best.

One day a woman was sentenced to death, charged with speaking blasphemy against the holy prophet of Islam. But before she would be killed the governor decided to do a private investigation into the allegation and the judicial process.

He discovered that the woman was falsely accused. She is a Christian and one of the 2% of the followers of Christ who are scattered among 180m people.

The governor went on air to make a statement that he has found out that the woman was falsely accused and that the case against her may be dropped.

In addition he also said that he will be looking into either adjusting the law that allows people to be sentenced to death for blasphemy or have it removed altogether.

In the midst of this religious imbroglio the governor made a visit outside of his territory. He went to Islamabad. Then as he was about to enter his car to return to his hotel room he was shot 29 times by one of his personal security aides. He died.

The man who shot him was charged to court. As the trial was about to begin, thousands of Pakistani made their way to the court yard to praise the murderer. They throw roses and beautiful flowers at him.

They praised him for killing the governor of Punjab. Many of them mentioned that they would have done the same if they had the opportunity to kill anyone speaking blasphemy against Islam and its prophets.

There was also a young girl who was not born a Christian. Somehow she met with the Christian faith, became a Christian and decided to attend a bible college. She was very shy but studious and for two years she studied the scriptures and became versed.

One day she travelled back to her roots to help people who have been displaced by flood. As she helped them she spoke about The Christ.

People asked her many questions and she provided answers to all of their questions.

Some men did not like what the young woman was up to so they threatened her. They would kill her if she continues to spread the word about Christ.

She called her bible teacher who told her to leave the zone and report back to the district where she has attended bible school. She obeyed.

However as she rode on the back seat of a bicycle to the train station, unknown to her, an ambush has been laid. She was shot at; she sustained injuries on her legs but was lucky to have escaped the murder attempt.

In pain she got to Lahore and was treated. She is alive to tell the story.

She didn’t want her bible teacher to visit the remote place in the south of Pakistan where she has worked as a volunteer and shot. The man of God wanted to make a police report and to see if they can start a judicial process to seek justice.

In the words of the young woman “I have forgiven those who tried to kill me because they don’t know what they are doing”.

These stories touch my heart and they remind me of the recurrent killings in parts of Nigeria especially in the Northern Province. Some of the religious and or tribal killings do not make the news. When they do, they are no longer headlines. In short they have become part of our existence.

We now accept that it is “ok” that innocent people be murdered in certain parts of Nigeria. Life has become meaningless and lawlessness is now an acceptable pattern to us. Or how many perpetrators have been arrested in Jos, Bauchi and Borno?

Just to let sleeping dogs lie, I try to refrain from discussing or writing about religious matters either in Nigeria or elsewhere. It’s too sensitive. People get stirred up when religion is debated or reported in a certain way. It’s puzzling because of rigid opinions.

Yet it is so unbelievable how evil has spread in the minds of people representing all the religious groups around the world.

Around 1992/93 I wrote an essay for an English course at the University of Lagos. It was titled Religion and Morality. I argued that religion from a moral point of view has helped to shape the world. That argument probably belongs to the dustbin now.

No doubts I can now add that religion has also changed the world order forever. Intolerance based on religion (along with social injustice) has come to stay as a parameter that has ensured that the world is totally unsafe for all.

Religion has ensured that peace is elusive to humanity.

Acknowledgement
I wrote down these stories after listening to a preacher from Pakistan. The stories are real.

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War Brewing in West Africa

By Adeola Aderounmu

Abidjan
In Ivory Coast war is brewing. The two presidents are not yielding grounds. There have been reports of violence, attacks and deaths in Ivory Coast.

I am not an expert on Ivory Coast but I’m not impressed with the experiment that the International community will be carrying out in Ivory Coast if a war breaks out. They will be selling weapons to both sides of the conflicts and my brothers and sisters will be killing one another.

Africa, I beg you. Learn from your past mistakes, lay down your arms and talk some sense.

It doesn’t make sense for two brothers to go to war while a foreigner doubles as both the umpire and the coach.

Wake up Ivory Coast. Where is Drogba and the boys. Go to Ivory Coast now and stop the war. You can do this by negotiation and intervention. Do it anyway you like.

Jos: War can become full blown..!

The recent images of Jos that I saw show that the state may be on the brink of a full scale religious war.

The people of Jos do not trust one another anymore and the situation has seriously deteriorated. Nigerian media houses are not doing enough to report the current situation and the nature of the problems-the complex religious-political volatile mix.

The war is almost certainly going to continue because of the elections coming up this year.

I don’t see how the governor of Plateau state-one clown called Jang-can prevent the forthcoming devastations.

It is a known fact that the military men that are supposed to see to the peace of Jos have been involved in the killing of the citizens of Jos.

Instead of dealing with the war that can eventually destroy the entity called Nigeria, the useless PDP in Nigeria is busy holding primary convention in Abuja.

On several occasions I have mentioned that Jonathan needs to go to Jos and spend 2 weeks or more to dwell among the people of Jos. The solution must be found and for all time.

The war in Jos is still on a small scale. The governor has failed and the Nigerian authorities are treating the war like violence or uprisings. This is a very serious mistake.

A wise man holds the fish by the head.

Terrorism in Nigeria May Lead to Disintegration

By Adeola Aderounmu

On December 26 2009 I wrote on my blog page that Nigerians are not terrorists. That statement is no longer valid.

Nigeria is now among the league of growing terrorist nations.

On Christmas day in 2009 one over-pampered kid Abdul Mudallab put Nigeria’s name on the global map. He is the famous underpants bomber.

One year later at the end of 2010 there has been series of blasts in Nigeria. From Abuja to Maiduguri to Jos and back to Abuja.

Terror now has its grip on the Nigerian nation.

At about 1730 Nigerian time on the last day of the year 2010 there was a deadly bomb in a busy area in Abuja. Thirty people may have lost their lives with several others injured.

As usual the Nigerian government is quick to point accusing fingers. The blame has been shifted to Boko Haram, a group whose mission is not really clear to the rest of us.

It is cheap and easy to blame Boko Haram because of their attack on the police and civilian populations in Northern parts of Nigeria. People have been killed in Jos in violence related to both religious and political conflicts.

There are insinuations that MEND could also be responsible for the Abuja attacks.

Nigerian security forces need to step up and try to stay ahead of these terrorists whether they are MEND or Boko Haram. Otherwise there will be no solution to the oncoming onslaught of violence and devastations that will hit the rest of the country.

The current pattern indicates a clear motive to disrupt the fragile peace in Nigeria. We know we have political problems and we are aware of the massive corruption and unimaginable social injustices in Nigeria: it is therefore easy for a group or groups with selfish ambitions to penetrate jobless extremists and use them to achieve a sort of destabilization that will usher in the final demise of Nigeria.

That in my opinion is the goal of consecutive bomb blasts and terror attacks. The aim will be to fulfil the predictions that Nigeria will disintegrate before 2015. I thought there are better approaches. When this country becomes ungovernable I look forward to negotiations that will usher in the separations of its parts. The consequences of war we are all familiar with. The Biafran experience should not be an option.

Whichever way, there are going to be many questions from now on. How did we get to this point in Nigeria? Are these attacks preventable? Are these attacks related to bad government and corruption across all the tiers of government in Nigeria? Are these attacks premeditated to make Nigerian ungovernable for a man from the Niger Delta?

There are multitudes of questions. There will not be simple answers. Even in the Scandinavian countries where it seems that the government is almost perfect terrorism is beginning to take firm roots.

The government of Nigeria is now finding itself in a dilemma. So many things and issues have been neglected since 1960 that it will be impossible for us to fathom the reasons for these attacks and the nature of things to come.

Just as recent as October 2010, we wasted over N20b celebrating a useless anniversary. We made the biggest cake in the history of man. There are over 100m Nigerians who are poor and impoverished. They have no hope and no option to a life of poverty. Yet we wasted so much money for nothing! Stupid people making useless decisions!

The Nigerian politicians continue to steal and loot across all levels. The presidency, the executive arm, the National Assembly, the state government and all places where politicians reign across Nigeria it has been stealing, looting and enrichments as usual.

Our legislators earn the most money in the world. We complained that they should review their salaries to what civil servants take home, all in vain.

In Nigeria there is no electricity. Where I live in Nigeria we have 4 generators and run 24-7 on them. There is no public power supply. We don’t have water from the government. Our roads are bad and we drive at average speed of 30km/ hr or less.

Public Schools are becoming historic. We pay high fees to keep our children in schools. Education is now a luxury. Foods are expensive, quality and standard of living are terrible and unacceptable!

Pensioners are suffering and people get laid off indiscriminately. NITEL staffs were dismissed without the benefits of continuous pensions. What a wicked government! So silly!

Nigerian politicians keep their families abroad while they suffer us at home.

When you add all of these woes together you get a failed country. Nigeria is a failed country. Therefore it appears as a golden opportunity for those who believe in violence. It doesn’t even matter if the stimulating or sponsoring agents are within or outside Nigeria. The fact is that they have found cracks in the wall and it is therefore too easy to penetrate and destabilize the country and the government.

The government of Nigeria will be at a dilemma and crossroad for sometime to come. How do you begin to know the elements or characters that are so angry they only resolved to kill innocent people? The Nigerian politicians have a way to protect themselves and their families. The victims of the attacks in Jos, Maiduguri and Abuja are people or individuals like me. We have no means to protect ourselves and the security provided by the Nigerian government is almost non-existence. Usually troops lined the streets after the evil has been done. Sometimes this fans the violence and lead to more deaths.

Who will save our souls? Evil is on the rise. The government has failed the people. For fifty years, public servants and politicians stole and stole. They are still in Nigeria. Nothing has been done to them. They ruined our lives. They stole our future and they took our hopes away. Until this day the story is the same.

The new found love of terrorism in Nigeria is an additional plague that we will now have to live with. It has taken 50 years to destroy this country. It will take more than 100 years to fix it.

Nevertheless we must start to build this country now. This is a country with vast potentials. The task of reclaiming the glory of Nigeria is before all of us. It should not really matter who becomes the president if we established a sound foundation for our democracy. What matters is that the likes of Atiku, IBB and even Jonathan should be sent to face trials for the mis-governance they have participated in. I see no hope in the present crop of looters and thieves that are in Aso Rock then and now.

If Nigerians think that they have democracy now, they really need to wake up from that nightmare. Democratic structures run on institutions and not individuals. Democracy runs on the rule of law which no one is above. In Nigeria, several people are above the laws of the land. This has made it possible for impunity to reign supreme. Our political parties are so useless they have no clear cut goals and objectives. Their dream is to capture power and loot the treasuries nationwide.

We really need to sit down in this country and think. We can’t afford to get it wrong this time.

The first ingredient for our future attempt at progress and development will be to find a genuine democratic process.

When we do, we must begin to address the issues relating to the rule of law and the promotion of social justice and state welfare. There is a need to form political parties based on ideology and good governance. We need to promote literate participation with the attempt to eliminate thuggery and insanity from our politics.

The people must know that they have government and governance that works.

The Judiciary must be independent and have the possibility to work with the police to wipe corruption once and for all.

Nigerians must start to probe the sources of wealth. People are stealing in government and private businesses. The nation is sinking because of the actions of a few men and women.

We must rebuild all public institutions, not physically but mentally. Nigeria must now tap deep into the cognitivity of its intellectuals with a view to promoting merit over national character. There is an urgent need to revive nationalistic movements that will carry everyone along. A massive re-orientation along the line of nation building is urgent. The goal will be to save this sinking nation.

The other option is to allow it to continue with the status quo and pretend that all is well while the nation sinks. Such pretentions will allow terrorism to take a firm root and grip on Nigeria. One day a new group will declare once and for all “to your tent O’ Isreal!”

At that point, the prediction of the disintegration of Nigeria would come to pass. Our lives are in our hands.

Jos, Crises Without End

Adeola Aderounmu

When I heard about the recent uprisings in Jos, I didn’t show any interest in blogging about it.

Some friends have read tiredness into my recent attitude towards Nigeria. They have asked me not to give up.

I am not giving up. I am writing my book and looking after my family.

For the records there have been series of killings and counter killings in Jos in the past few weeks alone.

I actually have a feeling that people are killed everyday in Jos since the end of the 2007 elections. I have a feeling that there are thousands of unreported killings and extra-judicial killings.

The killings that make the news are the ones that leaked and could not be covered.

More than ever before the government of Nigeria and the Plateau State governor specifically must find a permanent solution to this mayhem.

But what is the solution or what are the solutions?

Since I don’t live in Jos it will be hard for me to proffer a solution especially on the short term basis.

But on the long run there is a lot of work to be done on education of the citizens and massive public enlightenment on the nature of the problem and the need for the citizens to eschew violence and embrace peace.

The politics of Jos has been mixed with its religion. The results continue to be fatal. How do we resolve this particular issue without arousing sentiments in fanatics on both side of the divide? It’s a precarious situation.

But I’m convinced that there are permanent solutions. It may take time but the crises can all be resolved and the people can live together, tolerating one another and enjoying themselves in peace and tranquillity.

Jos today is not a haven for anyone. That is unpalatable.

The people must be involved at the grassroot level as we seek lasting solutions.

Those useless politicians instigating unemployed people and the illiterates must be fished out. They must face prosecution for the crimes they have committed against humanity. The signals will be strong and definite when people are sent to jail.

That’s the hardest part of the Nigerian judicial system. We don’t send guilty and corrupt people to jail for fear or sentiments that are best known to the political or ruling class. We run our states and national issue like we are mafians.

Certain rotten and useless political Codes must be broken if we want peace in Jos and progress in Nigeria.

Now I’m digressing but I want to stay on this Jos crises.

There are ways out and the governor and all the stupid people capitalising on the ignorance of the people know that there are ways out. But because of the benefits that the political / ruling class get from the ignorance of the people, they prefer the status quo no matter how many people have been killed or how many more that will be slaughtered in the days ahead.

Our country is a peculiar one. We live always in one dilemma or another.

If I am the president of Nigeria I would abandon all the owanbe parties that I have planned or been invited to, I will go to Jos and live among the people for a few days, get a feel of the situation and proffer that everlasting solution. This may mean provision of infrastructure in every community, it may mean provision of good roads, good schools and massive employment opportunities.

I believe that there are ways to take peoples’ minds away from violence and religious fanaticism-find them something to do and give them their sense of dignity. Return to them all forms of social justice and ensure that there is something for them to look ahead to, a bright future.

The Genocide In Jos: The Killings Continue!

Adeola Aderounmu

Reports from Nigeria indicate that more christians have been slaughtered last night.

Mad men dressed in military uniform invaded Riyom area and slaughtered their victims. It is not known how many people have been killed. The figures are between 12-50.

At this point, a state of Emergency should be declared in Jos. Dusk to dawn curfew should be imposed.

The governor should probably be impeached or sacked.

I have suggested in a previous post that Jonathan should move his office to Jos temporarily. Right now, he doesn’t seem to understand the nature of the problem.

Setting up committess and setting up panels to investigate bombings and genocide are outdated approaches to problem solving. The one who is a leader must move, he must go to places, see things for himself and show that he has solutions and ideas about what needs to be done.

Nigeria is collapsing and the rate is alarming. If Nigeria continues at this rate, Somalia will be a child’s play.

We have more than 300 nationalities in Nigeria and the current trend of events and extreme lawlessness indicate an imminent disintegration unless something extraordinary is done.

To do nothing but set up committees is the height of foolishness and ignorance.

Why are the mad men who carried out the latest attack dressed in military uniforms? This is an indication that the present war in Jos is a total war. This is a confirmation that some people in Jos are hell bent on killing on the christians in the state. It shows that they are on a mission called-No going back until all the christians are dead.

It is a sad situation but I am convinced that more attacks will follow in the days ahead. It is too obvious to see and too foolish to ignore.

Christians in Jos should start thinking of where to relocate. The governor cannot guarantte their safety and the president is not visiting to sympathise with them. They are at the mercy of the war criminals.

I,of course, condem the killings of muslims in January. All forms of genocide should be condemned and investigated. But I will really advise the Christians to do something to help themselves.

(To be edited and continued)

The Question is: Where is Mr. Jonathan?

By Adeola Aderounmu

Nigerians are still asking: where is Mr. Yar Adua? Silly question.

Yar Adua belongs to the past. As far as Nigeria is concerned Yar Adua belongs to the history books as one of the several illegal rulers. He was foisted on us by Mr. Obasanjo-the man who means many things to may people. To me, he’s just one of our biggest shames. A thousand years from now, there will probably be nobody in history that would have the same opportunity that life gave this man. He screwed up-big time. I cannot recount here, I’m sick of his shortcomings.

Right now, Nigerians should be asking: where is Mr. Jonathan?

Mr. Jonathan should face the reality or get out of the way!

Nigeria wants a leader. In the short term he has, he cannot afford to concentrate on wealth accumulation and signing contract. He is not even allowed to be pleasing any stupid member of the cabal or pro-Yar Adua organisations.

His task is simple: Make yourself visible and lead.

Go to Jos and show sympathy and empathy with the people of Dogo Na Hauwa. They need consolation. You cannot hide in Aso rock and pretend that you are in control. Actions speak louder than words. Go, be among them and console them. Help them bury their deads and fish out the killers. Put them where they belong.

If they are from Niger or Chad or Sokoto, go after them, sniff them out and bring them to Justice. Now, not later!

Make sure that this never happens again..!

Jonathan, you can’t afford to take it easy. If you do, Nigeria will go up in flames under your carelessness.

Jonathan, get out of your shell and end the useless power game in Abuja. Sack the sackables and step on toes to move Nigeria forward.

You can’t spend one year trying to please everyone. Please the poor masses, give them electricity.

Make their votes counts, give us total electoral reform.

Give us a referedum-it has eluded us for 50 years-let us decide how we want to live in a National Conference. Let us formulate our lives and make collective decisions on the type of lives that we want to live.

Mr. Jonathan, stop acting like a coward. Acting president in word, put it into power and action.

This is one of the rare opportunities for any Nigerian ruler or leader when the majority of the people seem to be on the side of the ruler (we have no leaders). The way you use this moment will define your political future. It will define your roles in the history books.

Corrupt you are, but you have a fine moment to clean up things and redefine yourself. This may be your last chance to make an impact.

You have been idle and the ball is staying too long in your court. Kick it or get knocked out..!

Jos-Nigeria, a lawless state

Adeola Aderounmu

Jos has now become the death valley. Jos the capital of Plateau State in mid-Nigeria is now notorious for religious attacks, counter attacks and revenge.

What a sad situation!

Jos is supposed to be one of the most attractive tourist attraction centres in Nigeria, but see what religion has done to Jos. What a shame!

Jos has a climate that is superb and it’s one of the places I would have loved to visit but I dare not. I am disappointed, not in Jos really, but in Nigeria. The country is a completely failed state. Lacking in democracy and genuine leadership, the problems of the states is actually a reflection of the stupidity of the rulers. Not to fail to mention the absurd resiliency of the masses. These two abnormalities have now melted Nigeria into a jungle country.

The other day we read about, and saw horrible pictures of innocent people murdered and dissected by armed robbers. No greater insanity. Time after time, Jos and other places continue to erupt into violence and “small” wars.

There are problems upon problems in Nigeria but the politicians and conquerors of Nigeria are busy stealing, looting, talking nonsense in the house of assembly, sharing money and allowances across the various arms of government-monies that end up in private account and overseas. This country is a failed country! I’m so convinced.

No credible elections, no electoral reforms, no legal president, useless anticorruption war and all sorts of stupid things going on daily.

The one who is the acting president is still romancing the same people who stole, looted and destroy the country. He is one of them.

The Jos issue is not a local issue. It is a reflection of the lack of democracy and failure of the system. We have no defined system and the country is built on very useless people instead of strong institutions and good principles of governance.

I am not just crying for Jos, I am also crying for Nigeria.