WE ARE NIGERIA’S ENEMIES
“Let hundreds like me perish, but let truth prevail. Let us not reduce the standard of truth even by a hair’s breadth for judging erring mortals like myself” – Mahatma Gandhi
Daily, we listen to people as they grumble about enemies; both real and imaginary. Enemies in their villages, enemies in their lineage, enemies in their homes, political enemies, religious enemies, tribal enemies. We have heard the word “ENEMY” so much that we never stop to ask, WHO IS AN ENEMY? We have so trivialized the word that we have jettisoned the real meaning and coined out our own meaning.
It is common practice for people to refer to everyone who opposes their views as enemies. Many times, we’ve heard the government attributing misfortunes, uprisings or violence to its political or tribal enemies. Time and time again, we’ve heard people who lost relatives or friends blaming it on witches in their lineage. The enemies that i however want to address are the enemies of Nigeria.
When we mention enemies of Nigeria, the first thing that comes to mind is Boko haram. The need to think further is however encouraged, the results are terrifying.
You see, no nation can progress when its citizens sit back and refuse to act. No nation can progress when the citizens can only grumble in the corners of their rooms but fail to channel their energies to creative use by seeking to enlighten the public. You see, no nation can progress when the citizens fail move at the pace the world is moving. No nation can progress when its citizens see themselves as enemies.
The problem with us is that those who know keep their knowledge to themselves and refuse to enlighten the public. We all have blames, we are all guilty.
From christian to muslim, we are all guilty. How many times have we lent our voices to speak against injustice in the land? Don’t we hide under the guise of religion? How many times have our pastors and imams preached the undiluted truth to politicians who come to worship? When they see the big men in their regalia, do they change their sermons or go ahead and serve it hot? Are we not the ones who tell our children not to take food or sweet from their christian or muslim classmates? Are we not the ones who tell our kids not to visit your neighbor because of difference in religion? Are we not guilty of sowing the wrong seeds? Should we now throw the blame at others for planting the wrong ideology in our children when we helped cultivate the land?
We are all guilty. Yes, Northerners, southerners, easterners and westerners. We all have blames. Have we forgotten the derogatory comments we pass about other tribes in front of our kids? Have we forgotten the insultive names we called them? Have we forgotten how we segregate tribe from tribe like the white man discriminates against the blacks? Have we forgotten?
The truth lies within us but we have refused to see it. When we are robbed blind by rogues in power, do we speak up or hide our heads? – who wants to die? When we see our future being destroyed, do we question the destroyers or we spur them on? When we hear of misfortune and calamity happening in a place, do we just feel pity or do we see the need to act?
You see, God won’t do for man what man can do for himself. You can pray from now till kingdom comes, terrorism and corruption won’t end – ask the Israelites. You can cry from now till eternity, it won’t stop Nigeria’s steep descent into doom – ask Somalis.
We can continue to witchhunt enemies, that won’t solve our problem. The solution will be to start with enlightenment. A nation with more than half of its citizens below poverty level will have more than half of its citizens ignorant. Is it the man that hasn’t eaten breakfast at 3pm that will read or listen to news? The onus lies on us to open their minds and let them see reasons why there must be a change.
As for, religious excesses and religious extremists, when we begin to enlighten the ignorant, things will sort themselves out. I have always advocated close monitoring of what our children are taught in religious houses. Let matured people be put in our religious houses to look out for kids with extremist tendencies and stop them while they are still young.
Also, there is the need for schools to encourage inter-religion and tribal patnerships so as to stop religious and tribal segregation. Pupils and students should be encouraged to relate well with pupils of other tribes and religion. We shouldn’t wait till they go for NYSC before teaching them religious and tribal tolerance.
An enemy known is half conquered. We now know the enemies of Nigeria. Let us rise up and stop once and for all the enemies that have held us down these past years. Let us collectively enlighten our brother who are yet to know. Let us preach the gospel of tolerance.
A peaceful Nigeria is possible…It begins with us.
God bless Nigeria!
Ogunjimi James Taiwo
Follow James on twitter: @hullerj