A few enfant terribles can successfully disturb the peaceful sleep of a majority of docile individuals. When such enfant terribles include persons such as the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti, champions of #BringBackOurGirls, Gani Fawehinmi, Japhet Omojuwa and a host of their likes, who have always disturbed the peaceful sleep of docile others, it is interesting to note how these persons are quickly tagged negatively, limbs thrown out almost hitting their faces and then, the precious slumber is resumed without a thought to what these ‘enfant terribles’ are calling our attention to.
If at all Nigerians are moved to fight what has become obvious to be injustice, corruption and so on, if at all, they quickly reconcile with their inner peace, “Who cares?”, “Will the fight or protest put food on my table?”, quickly, like a mother holds a cane at the back of your yansh, they resume the slumber, the “suffering and smiling”, the “no-break-no-jam-on-the-streets-of-Lagos-and-now-elsewhere”.
More like obeying a spiritual order (from no-one-knows-where), many have grown, and are growing, hard hide to ward off worry, concern and the need to ask ‘Why?’ Who cares anyway? This is what the immediate past generation passed on to the current generation; this generation, I’m afraid, is preparing to pass down, or is already passing down, a worse legacy to the younger generations.
Human models that were the conscience of the nation became subjects of ridicule, injustice and victims of subtle assassination in the hands of our common enemies, against whom the former had dedicated themselves. While they were treated as lesser humans for their insistence to improve our humanity, we slept, while all they needed was our voice, however silent, however loud. None came except the croaking snores.
Unknown soldiers once invaded Fela Anikulapo’s abode, where he housed as many homeless youth as they wanted to, turning the place upside down, molesting the residents, without sparing the women of the house, and throwing the aged mother of Fela, who was also a Nigerian icon, down a tall storey. All of these, because he spoke on our behalf; what was our reaction? We came out to look at the intriguing sight and went back inside to continue our sleep.
Wole Soyinka, like Fela, was chased by all shades and shapes of heads of state, who at every opportunity would have him thrown in and out of prison. WS, in particular, was made to be perpetually in transit for the sake of millions of Nigerians, who’ll prefer to snore away than gaze at the news portals. Don’t even bother talk about fight for their rights or for the others’.
Gani Fawehinmi was obviously a solitary voice in his legal corner of the wilderness. In and out of prison, and in spite of condemnations from persons, and families of persons, some of whom he was fighting on behalf, he must have acquired a strange lung cancer, which would later kill a man that was almost invincible to angry bullets, straying machetes and the magical potions of juju men.
I believe that in line with our culture of over-sleeping, many must have forgotten this incident, but it will serve well to be reminded of it. Following the Nigerian Immigration Service test that was conducted for many desperate and unemployed Nigerian youth and the anomalies that trailed it, especially the death of many of the participants, certain heads of young Nigerians took to social media and vented their dissatisfaction. Some, including Japhet Omojuwa, additionally took to the streets parading themselves around the government house in Abuja demanding that the right things are done. They were arrested and later released. What did we do at the time? Well, let’s say it was convenient at least for some of the youth, lounging in their cooled rooms and cars, to type away their protest statements onto social platforms. Kudos! What about million others, who never cared?
What have we really done about the different Governments that have consistently devised means of expressing their insensitivities and or corrupt tendencies at the expense of the electorates they are meant to serve?
In retrospect, what was difficult, in spite of many lives, properties and much time spent, for the Biafran people to achieve is what Boko Haram seems to be achieving with far less loses in their rank. The sect has practically dislodged the military from, Gwoza in Borno State (the recent public statement of the Defence Headquarters on some Nigerian soldiers captured on video running away from Boko Haram’s shooting spree as carrying out a ‘tactical maneuver’ is a funny condescension to put it mildly) and subsequently declared the creation of an Islamic Caliphate; promising to extend the caliphate’s territorial borders to named states. What an affront! This is also a direct exposure of the weakness of the Government of Nigeria.
The sect must have done their homework well to have realized, not that it wasn’t common-knowledge though, that the government rather than invest massively in the military, fund education adequately in order to effectively improve know-how and knowledge applicability and support every citizen of the country however insignificant, embezzles or misappropriates whatever treasure they find in the coffers of the state (whatever you imagine cannot be an exaggeration).
As a corollary, and together with known and unknown other factors, the sect amasses weapons, more sophisticated than the military’s, recruits off the dusty streets frustrated almajiris (what their government would never think of doing) and uses the almajiris, handling the amassed weaponry to attack institutions that the government has never really cared about in its true sense, including education, the military, the free market and so on.
Soon, one would think, the already desecrated government houses, from where individuals in government steal loads of money, and these individuals will necessarily be the next targets of the sect. If that was the case, the mind of the people would have been spoken. But what do we have? Indiscriminately, churches, mosques, shrines, schools, media houses, civilian residents, public motor parks, filling stations, most belonging to already victimized persons have constituted the main targets of the sect. And what is the accustomed reaction of affected and unaffected but living individuals? We receive the news with momentary shock and then resume our slumber.
In recent times, more shocking news have been thrown up, almost unbelievable, and this is not about the babyish Chibok girls that were abducted several months ago and who have become ladies, capable of being turned into suicide bombers. It is rather about the throw up of names of sponsors of Boko Haram by Stephen Davis, the Australian hostage and crisis negotiator and a self-proclaimed ex-member of the sect. The mentioning of the names is an indictment on our sensibility, as this is the umpteenth time such names would be associated with crimes against humanity in the annals of this country; and every time we disregarded it as blatant lies, conspiracy theories and all-what-nots.
The people of this country have been limited to a point where we find it hard to believe the answers to questions we have always asked whenever they come. When the answer to the question, ‘Who killed Bola Ige?’ came, did we believe and do we believe the answer? How about “Who killed Dele Giwa, Alfred Rewane, Kudirat Abiola, Gani Fawehinmi and a host of others?”. Now, some credible sources are offering us answers to the question, “Who are the sponsors of Boko Haram?” Do we believe them? Are we not the ones who say they must be hallucinating? What then do we want to lead us to the resolution of our many problems if not genuine answers, which only needs further probing for confirmation, to the questions we raise? There are many of such answers out there, and yet, no one cares. We prefer our slumber like the dream state is the ideal state we all crave.
While Boko Haram, and sister recently-encouraged-terrorist organisations, continue to destroy our lives and properties, let us note that the change we require will never come until we change and apply such changes to change our community and the people therein.