Again, I am back on the barricade of reasoning. I am back because you have called me names, because you have discarded my constructive suggestions with a wave of hand and because you have heeded the voice of your anointed advisers without considering mine. I’m back to rant. My rants this time are my resurrected frustrations that were initially buried in the pit of my stomach. So I am back on the threshold of logic, on the rhetoric of our continued survival as a people, on the question of a nation in tears, on the pains of a future under siege, on the fear of our existence arrested by a sect and on the will of our drivers who have been stripped naked by the mere resolute of a few simpletons.
But before somebody journeys into the pursuance of his haunting course and crippling brownnosing, the totality of which has put the country on a staggering tripod-stand of ruse, I am quick to signpost a caveat that I am not holding brief for anybody, but for the dead. On this note, I am dragging you to people’s court. You should be happy, because these people are your voters. They fell for your pranks against my persuasions. You made them licked your boot by deceit. You told them you were like them and that shoes were not within your reach. They went gaga, dancing to your tune while their emotions reigned supreme. They did this with one hope. That once you have shoes, you would also give them shoes to wear, even if you would throw the shoes at them. They have waited for Godot, for more than 18 months. Instead of shoes, they have thrown them suicide bombs on your behalf. For perspective, your wife has not spared them of her subsidized verbal bombs. As if that is not enough for a people confronted with grandiose regret of voting you, for a people that once fell in love with your noxious humbleness, for a people battered by a bleak future, for a people whose life is hung on uncertainties, for a people now in tune with the music of bomb, they are now being threatened by the ravaging debate of your fuel subsidy imbroglio. When you deceived them with N18,000 minimum wage to win their votes, they never knew you had a plan to take it back from them in double folds through the killing of fuel subsidy.
It may also interest you that the same people you climbed to get to the top of the ladder are the same people volunteering as witnesses against you in this court. They are testifying against you while I am busy castigating them for their naivety at the polls in April. So in the long run, I won’t blame you, but them. However, this will be pretty difficult for them as I am holding brief for the dead. Hence I have to give you a share of their pains. For Mr. Williams Dike who died with three children in Madalla, his wife sent me on this journey when she asked me: “Williams, ebee K’ ino din. Darling, ebee K’ ino din?” For a bereaved to have spoken in her local dialect, the depth of pain is endless.
Before now, your voters have told me to shut up. They said I never saw anything exemplary in you. They argued that I was a twitter and facebook protestant, that I could only make mouth on social media. They advised that I should recognize a man with his weaknesses. I complained about your political will, they said it was a weakness. I winked at your leadership readiness; they told me to keep shut, suggesting that it was a weakness. I challenged your decisions; they defended you that I was just an arm-chair critic, positing that it was a weakness. I batted an eyelid at your diplomatic charisma; they fumed at me, saying that it was a weakness. I raised an eyebrow at your humbleness during the campaigns; they laughed at me, adding that it was a weakness. I murmured at your dream team; they said I was suffering from I-too-know, arguing that it was a weakness. After Madalla, I posed a question to them, that they should mention just the strength you have demonstrated over 18 months, just to mention the strength. I did get an answer. They said you have amassed the strength to trample upon them by removing the peanut they have been enjoying since the days of your godfather. Your voters have turned against you. They are now using facebook and twitter to shoot you. They have joined me.
Now I am vindicated. I am holding brief for some of your voters that were murdered. Mrs Dike said I should ask if you have the strength to help her get Mr Williams Dike back to life. I told her that you were not God. But she posited that you should have the strength to hunt her husband’s killers and wipe them from earth. Now I dare you, do you have the strength? I doubt it. Not that I don’t believe in you, but I am perplexed by the avalanche of weaknesses they said you have. Boko Haram (BH) is made up of a resolute people, people who can sacrifice themselves for their crude course. They are people who are ready to die to press forward. They attack by also killing themselves. This is a rare strength of resolution. It is only an equal but opposing strength that can neutralize them. For Christians, Jesus sacrificed himself before his people were able to win the war over sins. The war was even deadlier than ours. It was a self war, a war between flesh and spirit. Ours is less deadly, a war between flesh and flesh, so you don’t need to die. I am not saying you should donate yourself to bomb; you only need to have a tactical strength that is garnished with political will. You have not demonstrated that you have this strength. Instead, you told us to bear the burden of bombings. You told Mrs. Dike to shut her mouth and bear the burden of her pains. We will bear our burden if only you are ready to share in our pains. We will wait when a bomb will also be played like music at your backyard. When we see how tearful you are, then we will start bearing the burden in unison till bomb do us part.
BH has taken the fight to the church. They have declared the war open. They have dared the continued existence of this country as a nation. They have shown you how to lead people, be daring! They have spoken the language of war. They have challenged your tactical reprisal strategy. They care less about the security beef up you are doing at your security head quarters, churches and mosques. After all, the security in other places is loose. They know that these places are open for them to bomb, so they are coming. They know that your security intelligence cannot cover all the corners of the country. They are fully aware that you are worrisomely reactive, not proactive. They know that you lack the will to prepare for their coming. They know that you only make noise after they have wrecked havoc. They are less concerned on how much noise you make. All they want is that we must all become illiterate like them. So I ask you: do you want all of us to become illiterate like them? But this is what they are calling for. If we are not ready to be like them, then you must lead us to get rid of them, for they have desecrated the land.
When Rudolf Okonkwo predicted that by next year, we would be confronted with the eluding question of: “to be or not to be,” I took an opposing stance. This may interest you. As for me, we would forever be confronted with the question of: “how to sustain our continued existence,” provided you can develop, within the shortest time, the strength I am craving for. Rudolf’s prediction might have been based on his calculated assumption that such strength might keep eluding you, which I don’t doubt. Your voters are now suggesting that it is better they start living as independent friends than being united in fears and hatred. They are also saying that you are a butterfly, and butterfly does not belong to the tribe of birds. They are hopeless that you would be lucky enough to locate the strength. They said you are carrying a country that is heavier that what your neck can carry. I’m from Kogi, meaning I’m from the north. I’m scared because I don’t want to go through the hassles of getting a work permit before I can work under the tutelage of Tope Ogunfayo and Bimbo Yoade in the West. I don’t want to apply for passport before I can facilitate peace-building sessions with Biodun Awosusi and Oluwaseyi Olaobaju in the West. I don’t want to go through the hassles of rigorous airport security checks before I can take a walk of life with Victor Agbagu in the East. I hate to hear Arewa Republic. I am not down with hearing Biafra Republic. And I get nauseated hearing Oodua Republic. I’m pained that I may be forced to hear these words often if you fail to prove Rudolf wrong.
Prior to Madalla bombing, I have been attacked by your voters about what I have been doing on my street to right the wrought of wrong in the country. With Tolerance Academy, I have been mentoring a movement of thinkers, those who are poised to disengage the country from negativity. Because they see things differently, they have started building voices at the grassroots. Their voices are becoming stronger. They are teaming up, they are forming strategic alliances, they are moving with panache, they are not retreating because of bombs and they are not making noise after bomb blast. From grassroots, they are immersed in building a society that would someday, be immune to life claiming crises. But they are worried by how you have been managing crises in the country. They are worried because you have thrown their suggestion into the bin. Like BH, they are also resolute in marching forward. So I told your voters to go and start something on their streets too, no matter how little. Great things start small. For those of them who have started something, I told them to continue. However, all these little things will manifest into big deal if only you search your inner man for the strength I’m yearning for. They are waiting for you.
As I am holding brief for the dead, the onus is on you to win the war for the dead. Otherwise, your frustrated voters will seek justice by themselves. They will move the barricade from facebook and twitter to the streets. They will march you with stones and confront BH with equally assorted bombs. It will be fatal. It will be a war between a friend versus a friend, a friend versus an enemy and an enemy versus an enemy. For the avoidance of doubt, I will rephrase what Rudolf coined out from the movie, The American President, when people are thirsty for genuine leadership, “they will crawl through the dessert toward a mirage, and when they discover there is no water they will drink the sand.”
I am beating the gong loud for you to hear. I am not saying dance along, but you can reason along. After all, ours is democracy. In your subsequent actions, you can take note that the colour of fire is beautiful, but when you enter it, your body will tell a different story.
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