I recall with nostalgia the rowdy class sessions I had in Philosophy both in undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Typical of philosophy students, every idea calls for argument and on this very day in University of Ibadan, it was on the existence of Witches and Wizards, and their operations. While I hid myself at the back of the class to avoid the raging argumentative missiles that flew across two camps; those who argued that witches exist and those who argued that its a mere superstition. I enjoyed every bit of that intellectual inferno.
As expected, those who argued for the existence of witches appealed to the common traditional belief that should a child dies mysteriously in his sleep, there is need to probe whether the witches cried nearby at night. In other words, the cry of witches at night and the death of child in the morning is a “Cause and Effect” relation.
Anyway, that is an aperitif in view of what I intend to say in this piece. The numerous tragedies that have taken place in Nigeria do not fit into the above witch analogy. Reason being that, at least in the witch controversy, no one sees the witch when it attack, otherwise it would have been nabbed or stopped from causing death of innnocent children.
Would history not bear witness that we saw the Nigerian Civil War coming but failed to stop it (it was encouraged?) The Ogoni and Zakibiam invasion by heartless soldiers, did we not see it coming and what was our effort to stop it? Did we not see Abacha about to rip off the heart of Ken-Saro Wiwa and who dared to stop it? When the witches of Boko Haram were converging in every branch of North Eastern trees, did some people not encourage it to strike?
Now, the witches are converging again under the auspices of “Movement for Fulani Herdsmen terrorists” and we are growing spineless in the face of such threat. Villages are being razed down and inhabitants are slaughtered daily from Benue, to Edo, to Osun, to Oyo, to Delta and recently to Enugu. That ethnic stupidity of ours that has been responsible for the tragedies of the past is alive and kicking in our national psyche again. It never allowed us think straight.
Anyone who dares to decry government ‘s inefficiency is sure to be called ethnic bigot, sore-loser, misguided opposition, traitor, etc. I guess it could also be dismissed as misguided opposition the opinion that terrorists could have found escape and new route to carry out more deadly attacks in other parts of the country under the guise of Fulani Herdsmen.
A teenage cattle rearer who goes about with AK-47 and other dangerous weapons slitting the throats of villagers and torching their huts could be said to be going about his business. Right?
It is legal to graze cattles in a poor man’s farm from which he survives with his family and to beat him up and cut off his head if he objects to the grazing in his farm. Right?
It is absolutely ideal to for government to be more concerned with pacifying Fulani Herdsmen who have threatened their hosts with gory death than saving the lives of villagers they attack. Isn’t it? A country where the lives of cows have become more valuable than human lives is a country on the path of progress. Am I not right?
Let me say it for the umpteenth time that the undoing of Nigerian leaders is to contemplate building lunar Paradise and Nirvana when the basic existential issues that anchor a society are ignored. We seem to live in some kind “Babylon-Tower- Syndrom” where no one understands truly the other. Hence, one expects that he be applauded for his move to build nuclear power when the lives of ordinary Nigerians are lived daily in destitution of basic aids of life and primary security.
This is no armchair criticism. It is the submission from a heart that is troubled. Perhaps because as a philosopher, I see things from an uncommon point of view.
If you want to build a nation, you need good dose of philosophy to see beyond prejudices to see humanity not tribes and to make distinction between “being and having”. What does it matter which party stays in power and which ethnic group stay in power when in the end it all amount to endless cycle of political decomposition?