By Tochukwu Akunyili
I am tired of waiting for a solution to Boko Haram. I am tired. I am tired of inventing beautifully constructed answers to friends who are not Nigerians. I am tired of lying so as not to tell a single story! Yet with each passing day, reality gloats and mocks. Its mockery leaves the dry fields and expansive desert lands, skidding through the rashly constructed fences of our middle regions and venturing ever more audaciously to the lush forests of our fertile savannahs. I write this piece because I am tired. Tired of hoping that things will get better only to see them get worse the very next day.
Haram is an odorous economic leech, a sad political flatus and an urgent threat to our dear lives. Boko Haram is swiftly transmuting the idea of a failing Nigerian state into the reality of a failed Nigerian state. Boko Haram is a cancer that must be amputated with great haste for the good of us all. I do not share the spirit of Ezeifedi’s piece because I love Nigeria. I do not share this spirit because I am dutifully worried. I do not share this spirit because all of us are involved in Nigeria. Have Igbo traders, Tiv men, Ogoni youths or Fulani girls also not fallen victims to Boko Haram’s terror? I do not share Ezeifedi’s triumphal spirit because each Nigerian is reduced by the death of each Boko Haram victim, because each of us is reduced by the exploding reverberation of each of Boko Haram’s bombs.
Much as Nigeria may be as Ogbunwezeh has declaimed “a monument to the avarice of [Britain] … an impossible project, economically irredeemable, politically ungovernable and a sad caricature of the conflict of eternal opposites”, we – all of us Nigerians – are yet involved in this unfortunate amalgamation of a thousand monolithic nationalities. Our treatment of Nigeria must be with the wisdom, restraint and cunningness a loving husband exercises in the treatment of his rash, impulsive but passionate bride. Unfortunately, those who have led this nation, mostly skilled in the management of numerous bedfellows have more often than not lacked the wisdom of transferring much needed ideas from the private to the public realm. A little more wisdom would have done us good!
But like the son of a drunk or the daughter of a cheat we have to make do with the most we have got. We have to in one way or another find ways of keeping our heads high, our shoulders propped. This is why the national conference is a tentative right step matching tentatively to the right direction. Ezeifedi demands an apology from the North; an apology which is well needed but which will never be received. This is why we all know deep down in our hearts that we are fooling ourselves that we will all continue in the fleece-like quest of reconciling irreconcilable opposites.
We have, therefore, taken national self-deception as our alter egos. We do not tell ourselves the truth. We sacrifice our national interests, the core steps that will move Nigeria forward, on the altar of religion and race. This is why no consistent system of values can be espoused as Nigerian 54 good years after independence. Instead, we have reduced ourselves to the laughing stock both of ourselves and of the international community. Whatever set of sentiments attached to the Nigerian or to the Nigerian state has become a byword for corruption (our politicians), inferiority (our goods), fraud (our youth), unemployed (our graduates).
This is the more reason why this is not a time to gloat or be happy that misfortune is not yet at my doorstep. This is why this more than any other time is a time to call for mutual understanding and to learn the spirit of tolerance. This is why this is the time to learn to love and to impose order! May Allah be merciful upon us!! May God save Nigeria!!!
TochukwuAkunyili wrote in from Berlin, Germany