Saturday, 5 July 2014

THE MIDDLE EAST IS NOT OUR CONCERN




The long standing feud between Israel and Palestine has been raising feathers in some Nigerian quarters. Now, this fight has been going on for years and years on end; Palestine will attack Israel because they feel that Israel is occupying their land, Israel would carry out reprisal attacks to ensure that Palestine pays for daring to touch them.....blah blah blah! Anyone who has been following the news knows that these two countries are bitter enemies; an enmity started because Abraham had two nations and loved one more. So it was no surprise that when three Israeli teenagers were killed by

Palestinian forces, Israel sprung into action and retaliated (and are still retaliating).

What is worrisome is not the fact that as usual, most of the Arab nations are hating on Israel and crying blue murder. No....that is not it! What is annoying is that some Nigerians are so quick to point out how evil Israel is. My worry is, why wasn't any alarm raised when Palestine held those boys captive? Israel's present onslaught could have been averted if those boys were returned to Israel instead of killed. But no! No Arab nation demanded that the boys be returned home. Like their Arab counterparts, many Nigerians also did not raise a voice against Palestine's inhumanity. 


This sparks a reminder of what is happening here in Nigeria. When churches were burnt and Christians killed by the dreaded militant sect in the north, many clerics did not openly condemn the act. It seemed okay to fold hands and say nothing as long as Muslims were not harmed in the cross fire between Boko Haram and Christians. The moment Muslims started dying, there was a shift in the atmosphere in the country. Clerics couldn't wait to get on the radio, TVs, blogs, newspapers and social media to decry the death of 'Nigerians'. Were Christians then not Nigerians? Or was their life useless just because they didn't share the same faith? I know some fanatics are nodding in the affirmative about Christian life meaning nothing but then, the insurgents share your view. They believe that ALL life means nothing!


Why am I even bothered about this? Simple! Any fight where Israel is seen as the aggressor always translates to a fight against Muslims in general and with the way many Muslims are agitating on social media, that fight may be translated to the Christians who are the closest to a Jew that some fanatics are ever going to have. This might then translate into more religious crisis which the nation definitely doesn't need right now. 


Rather than getting agitated over what is happening all the way in Israel and the border they share with Palestine, why don't we get worried about our own country's woes?! Why don't we worry about the fact that we are too picky about fights that are not ours?


First of all, Nigeria is at war!! That cannot be overemphasized! Bombs are going off from Maiduguri to Osun, making stop overs at Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe (reportedly), Kaduna, Kano and Abuja. Most people wonder what will happen to them in that busy marketplace, that crowded motor park, that congested traffic or that busy shopping mall. People from Maiduguri go out ready to die! They make peace with their family members, loved ones and friends and most especially with God. They know that a bomb can rip their insides as they step out. They don't even bother to make long term plans. Is that a way to live? 

As if that is not enough, we see our military playing with our intelligence about how they are supposedly tackling Boko Haram, when all we see is an escalation of the insurgency. We have 219 girls waiting to be rescued from the hands of the abductors/rapists because let us be real, those girls cannot be in the midst of all those men without being raped! We are waiting on a security that shouldn't let Stockholm Syndrome set in, though it probably set in at day 21. We should be worried that our security forces are going on rampages, burning BRT buses in Lagos, attacking their General Commanding Officers and telling the nation they have locations of the kidnapped girls when they obviously don't!


And everyone who says the Boko Haram insurgency is a northern issue must have been shocked when a bomb went off in Osun or the ones that didn't go off in Enugu because they were caught just in time. Even if that is in no way related to Boko Haram, what about the insurgency seen via kidnapping and ritual killings? Wouldn't that be considered insurgency too? One thing makes Edo, Port Harcout, Warri, Cross Rivers and now Kogi similar; kidnappings. Prominent citizens as well as the everyday Joe suffer at the hand of kidnapping kingpins and where they are not kidnapped, they are used as body part donors for ritualism. Oh! It is not secluded to these places... We have Lagos, Oyo and most recently, Kwara. You hear of human parts been found in ritualists dens all over the country. If the north has her issues, the south, east, west and south-south also does! 


And before we forget, most polytechics and colleges of education have been on strike for over one year. Millions of citizens of the country sitting at home because the state says they must pass through an education to have a job. The number of young people becoming redundant in the society is alarming and should worry us. They cannot go to school and they cannot get jobs. Oh! The drama!


And the one that takes it home; corruption! Our elected and appointed leaders are busy milking the country

dry while wringing the necks of the poor man. We have serving ministers disbursing public fund for personal use, acquiring luxury that shows how easy it is to spend money 'earned' illicitly. All this while the poor man grows in his resentment of his status quo and the greener grass on the other side that mocks his poverty. The cross carpetting of politicians from parties they hailed as the holy grail to parties they rained all manner of libel against is not something that can be easily forgotten! Who in in the hell would have thought the old fool called Femi Fani Kayode would be singing the government's tune? Who would have thought the new emir of Kano would withdraw his suit against the Federal Government after all the drama they played? And all so he can hold his emirate seat, with reports that he may visit the president soon? Who would have thought that Shekarau would be a serving minister under President Goodluck Jonathan or that we will have to invite the US of A to come help us in our security issues? What is worse is that this corruption is seen in all spheres of national activity; from the new born baby who somehow understands the power that comes with money, to the preschooler whose adept lies confound adults, to kids who cheat in exams and tests, and even to the SUG president who does bogus projects so he can buy a car in school and yet to the government worker who does absolutely nothing in the office and still steals to top off his salary.

These problems do not stop there. There is the deep seated hatred between Nigerians; first on tribal grounds, then to religious grounds. The Fulani man (as long as he is perceived as a herdsman) is hated by almost all tribes in the north....if not the entire country! The Tiv man hates the Idoma man and his feeling is reciprocated with the same fervor. Even among the Idomas, the man from Otukpo doesn't care much for the man from Otukpa. The Igbira man cannot tolerate the Igala man even though they live in the same state. People from Southern Kaduna loathe people from Northern Kaduna and they have mirror image reflection of their emotions by the man from Northern Kaduna. But no matter the tribal difference, the major dividing factor always is religion. Muslims and Christians in Nigeria hate themselves, though they put on a facade of peaceful coexistence. If you want to have a taste of how deeply ingrained the hatred is, go to any of the social media religious group pages and see how hatred is spread. If a man talks about the bible in a way that is disrespectful to a Muslim, be sure that there will be violence. And if a group of Christians are supposedly attacked by people they deem as 'Muslims', the reprisal attacks from Christian corners makes you wonder if they ever opened their bibles beyond the cover page.


While it was easy to go on and on about the many problems of Nigeria, it is also prudent to note that we have too much drama going on in this nation to be worrying about whether Israel is going beyond bounds in their reprisal attacks. Don't get me wrong. I care that those three boys were taken, probably dehumanized and viciously killed, that the parents of those boys will live half-baked lives till they die. I also care that Palestinians are been killed in the recordinated attacks wrought by the Israelis but truth is, I'm more worried about the state of Nigeria and where we are heading. Label me selfish but Nigeria is the only nation I've got. I don't have no double citizenship and all that drama. If Nigeria goes to war (like she is want to do), it is people like me and the average Joe who will suffer it. I don't want us fueling our hatred with what is happening in other countries that do not give one rat's poop what happens to us. 


More young people need to worry about the nation and us. I remember drawing my life plan when I was nine. If this nation deteriorates, I won't get to live my plans. Heck, my life now is far from what I drew up, but at least, it is on track. It will stop being on track if this nation doesn't exist. I don't want to achieve my dreams in Malta (though I have read that it is a beautiful country) or France (though it is the world center of chocolate and good cuisine). I want to do all I can in Nigeria, for Nigeria is my only home!


So...what is happening in the middle east is not our concern. It never was, it never will be!


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