(By Franklin C. Onwa)
“Recently our country has been associated with quagmires and ordeals – ordeals viz. incessant killings; rituals, bombings – ranging from ethnic conflicts, want of community shares, religion and to the most dispiriting, the disparaging and detestation of Western education. The incongruous collapse of church buildings and structures that recently started is another that has joined the trend in its eeriness“.
Mignolet: Why are you crying son?
Bellario: I saw a corpse on my way into the house.
Mignolet: Who is it and where did you see it?
Bellario: I don’t know the person, but I saw it just at the street junction.
Mignolet: Then why are you crying when you don’t even know the person?
IT is no longer news that we live in a country that has a great deal of natality. The rate at which the nation acquires new citizens nationalised by birth is at increase, or rather has grown a little past normalcy. It is in our country that increase in birth rate is seemingly a normal trend due to the fact that for our country’s peasant citizenry, more birth is nevertheless a culture and of course, no anomaly.
These natal inflows have been of great importance to the country. It has helped to boost the nation’s human resources and obviously will continue to add same as the years come and go.
Nigeria has, however, checked, rechecked and upgraded its economy, made constitutional amendments and also passed great more bills into laws. All these and more have been put in place to contain this inflow cum simultaneously provide a liveable environment for its emerging posterity.
On the other hand, the mortality of the nation has helped contain this increase. It has been a way to help the nation check its route to overpopulation. A rational will want to give accolades to our Creator for this great gift – the cycle of life. I am not saying I am particularly blissful for the fact that people die, rather I’m grateful that one does not need to resort to constituting nuisance when one is age stricken and tired of life; save the eternity that awaits all afterwards. God’s unquestionable ways – One is born somewhere, some other dies elsewhere. This has kept the population of the country increasing at a gradual rate.
Few years ago, the death rate has become questionable. One tries to fathom why the death toll is lately becoming so significant, and the birth rate on the other hand has turned insignificant; plummeting the country’s populous numerical strength.
Recently our country has been associated with quagmires and ordeals – ordeals viz. incessant killings; rituals, bombings – ranging from ethnic conflicts, want of community shares, religion and to the most dispiriting, the disparaging and detestation of Western education. The incongruous collapse of church buildings and structures that recently started is another that has joined the trend in its eeriness.
One would want to conclude that the government has given up on engineering solutions to curtail and contain these sordid national menaces, but no. To a great extent, the government is working tooth and nail. The big question then is; what is the citizenry doing about it?
Nigeria is a country consisting of about 250 ethnic groups. These ethnic groups put together has given rise to about 170,000,000 citizens in the country and these citizens in turn, occupy the 36 states of the nation plus the Federal Capital Territory.
The country is blessed by the fact that there have not been any international wars since its independence, yet, the rate at which the intra-national conflicts claim the peace of the country is disheartening. It is most despairing that these conflicts are initiated by the nation’s citizenry.
Yes, the difference in ethnic backgrounds has developed to pure hatred for the neighbouring group. The desperate poor unemployed masses want to go the extra mile to acquire wealth, so they must sacrifice heads. The other blood thirsty ritualists won’t cease their cabalistic activities, so as to avoid being bankrupt. Politics won’t get better if there are no killings involved. The citizens of the oil producing states must be recognised in all affairs dealing with our nation’s crude exploitation. And Western education? Now a no go area for many.
The manner at which the patriots of our nation individuate questions is not at all exemplary. I was on a bus one day, passing through a popular junction in Rivers State; we came across a freshly murdered body lying on the busy junction. The vehicle approached and the passengers in the vehicle beckoned on the driver to please increase the speed. As the vehicle steered past, they thrust out their heads from the window to check the familiarity. It shocked me that as busy as the junction was, nobody seemed to care for what next should be done. At some point I was relieved people gathered. The same way they gathered – one after the other they disappeared with the comment; “I don’t know him.”
They ask, “Who died” and indeed they tried their best to know, but this shameful quest was originally not meant for philanthropy. They only asked to be certain and self assured that a member of their family, clan or province was not the one affected.
What happened to the love we once shared? Where is the unity? Nigerians, what happened to the cliché mantra – Unity in diversity?
Now every citizen is chanting songs of war. Crucify her! Crucify her! Nigeria must be split! There’s been plenty of finger pointing, accusing fingers are roaming. One people are accused for a menace and another takes the blame for the other. Biafra must come to life. The northerners must pack their loads. The southerners must find their base. There must be war!
What happened to the dream behind 1914 Amalgamation? What happened to Lord Lugard’s vision? Did we forget why the Northern and Southern protectorates were amalgamated? According to Lord Harcourt, the British Colonial Secretary, unification of Nigeria demanded both “method” and “a man”. The man was to be Lord Lugard and the method was to be the “marriage” of the two entities.
According to Lord Harcourt: “We have released Northern Nigeria from the leading strings of the Treasury. The promising and well conducted youth is now on an allowance on his own and is about to effect an alliance with a Southern lady of means. I have issued the special licence and Sir Frederick Lugard will perform the ceremony. May the union be fruitful and the couple constant.”
What happened to this fruitfulness? Isn’t amalgamation supposed to mean unification? When did the couple split? Plenty of questions on the lips of average Nigerians, and there you are, many people walking in fear of the next visitor. These questions need not be provided answers once the peace we seek is restored. We seek unity – we seek a lasting solution to our country’s present predicament.
• Onwa is a final-year student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and resides in Rivers State. firstname.lastname@example.org
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