By Rev. Fr. John Segun Odeyemi
I have come to a place where my senses are dulled, and my mind fail to articulate the madness going on in Nigeria. I am flummoxed to see an entire nation floundering and fanning the flames of a war that will do no one any good. Nigeria has become at the very best descriptive terms, at this time, a veritable zoo where lunatics roam free and are at liberty.
Human life no longer has value.
An entire nation has become desensitized to cold-blooded, extra judicial murder, rape, pillage, sacking and kidnapping for ransom. A nation of over 200 million people watch in horror as they realize that what they presume to be a government on a hiatus has become totally helpless in handling national security issues. There are voices across the country singing discordant songs of break ups, break aways, and even forceful subjugation.
How does a nation like Nigeria sink to this level of national madness? How did we move from independence to nationhood, to democracy, and quickly into anarchy and a dystopia? Why did a nation considered a leading light on the continent sink into a depraved primitiveness?
In Nigeria today, demagoguery is the pattern of governance. It will seem that rationality and everything that qualifies the human person to be considered ‘civilized’ is delegitimized. The fundamental assumptions of democracy are no longer existent in our polity and truth, fair play, equality and justice are jettisoned for pure nepotism.
Unbridled solipsism on the part of those who are in power is flaunted without any attempt at obscurantism. In Nigeria, we unashamedly celebrate and give volume to the rantings of lunatics, we celebrate criminals and liars represent the government. They create absurdities one after the other without remorse, perfecting as it were, their ability to prioritize lies over truth, tyranny over justice, prejudice over tolerance, and the imposition of imbeciles over the intelligentsia.
Belatedly, quite a number of people are waking up to the reality of the impending and looming catastrophe. This awakening is perhaps a tad too late. We are where we are because for far too long we allowed acts that are inimical to common good to reign supreme. From the foundations of the nations, we have failed to name and call into question the tribalism entrenched by our founding fathers.
The same history continued with young army officers who in the name of cleansing the nation through coups were actually carrying out ethnic cleansings. The combination of the demagoguery of civilians and retired military officers turned politicians kept the entire nation in a strangle hold.
Where were the citizens when money started disappearing from government coffers? Why did we not speak up that we have never really had a constitution? And that the one we currently hold as a constitution is not respected by those who strut around the corridors of power? Why did we not resist with our lives the transgression against the people’s fiat now known as June 12?
Why did we not resist the idea that Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC)? Why have we acceded to the three arms of government that has become fantastically corrupt, rotten and decayed? We have sat back through governments and individual persons’ shenanigans, and it just befuddles the rational mind.
I am so tired of these barbarities in a nation endowed with human and natural resources for sustainable development and growth. I am tired of a people whose inertia empowers village idiots, imbeciles, and ignoramuses leadership roles; can anyone give what they do not have? While the rest of the world is growing in leaps and bounds in the sciences, arts and technology, Nigeria is content with eating goro and staring into space.
As a nation, we are reaping what we have sown by our inaction. We must tell the truth before the flames of war engulf our nation. We have to change our direction by looking for new leadership. These same politicians have led us since the second republic in these fools’ errands. It is time to change the script and the actors. We have not only failed our nation; we have failed God and ourselves.
We have failed each other when we no longer can look at each other and value the inherent worth of each human person because of their dignity. We continue to fail each other when the other is considered dispensable simply because they do not belong to “our side.” The nation and our commonwealth have failed if in fact, the worth of every citizen biologically, morally and spiritually are not of the same value; if I cannot see in the other myself.
Worse still, we fail generations yet unborn when currently, our children are not safe in schools. Our children are abducted from their schools, forced into becoming sex slaves, suicide bombers or child soldiers. You know your nation is doomed when a section argues that education, western or not is bad.
My mind is tired, so is my heart and body. I am tired of the bloodshed, of the careless and ceaseless wasting of innocent fellow citizens’ lives. I am tired of the rest of the world looking on as a beautiful nation implodes and terminates its great human and natural potentials.
Nigeria is dancing on a cliff, but the music is one of death. Plunging into the abyss is in our hands, in what we do or fail to do. Salvation is possible, for us and by ourselves; if we choose to do right by ourselves and for our nation.
Rev. Fr. John Segun Odeyemi
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA