We live, we die. We do not contest this fact. As much as we know this, we would rather live. Death and suffering even though inevitable are man’s greatest nightmares. Even a tortured man wants to hang on. Even the most pessimistic of us all become soft and bubbling of hope when their lives are at stake, they clinched on a thread of hope, something, anything. We will die, but we do not want to die. It is a reality we want to extend, prolong and procrastinate on at all cost.
Zamfara, Katsina and many other places are bleeding. Babies are being snatched from the bosom of their mothers and killed on the spot. Men have been dragged out of bed from their wives to be slaughtered like Sallah rams. Young girls are being kidnapped to be raped and labor for Godless monsters that no one dares to confront. Families pay ransoms so huge they have to spend years laboring to pay off the debt of.
What kind of time is this? One could swear we live in anarchy if we were not in polls months ago. Bandits reign supreme in these areas. Sure, we voted, but we did not vote these architects of mayhem. Why are we subjected to these abuses? What curse or bad omen have we invoked? Whose gods have we angered? And where are the people we have charged with the responsibility of guarding us? Those that enjoy status and privilege on our behalf? Bulldozed, forsaken and without answers, if there is a worse situation, I have not known it.
Contrary to the many, I do not believe that our leaders are heartless. I do not believe that they enjoy this state of chaos and pain. These people are humans with a beating heart, not some demons from hell. They would rather we live in a peaceful and thriving society they can take credit for. Who in his right mind would prefer instability over smooth sailing atmosphere? We all want to sleep in peace, we all want to roam without fear. They are vulnerable to a degree of harm, surely, they would not wish themselves harm of any kind.
My opinion on our leaders is that they are either grossly incompetent or these problems nor matter how grave, do not rank high in their order of priorities. Let us deal with the former first. It is no secret that we have some clueless human beings at the helm of affairs. It is not their fault that they are deficient cerebrally. They do not have the intelligence nor the capacity to handle complex issues like these or any other issue that demands the reason for that matter. We have as much a chance of having them solve our problems as a man who requested help from a lifeless wall.
However, many amongst them are incredibly brilliant, experienced in public service and endowed with the capacity and capability to handle our current problems and any other problem that may arise. That being said, they would rather be doing other things which they either consciously or otherwise rank above the current disaster we face. Our state governments have no problem passing bills in our state assemblies. They have no problems building ridiculously overbudgeted roads, bridges, bumps or renovating classrooms.
The same energy invested in organizing economic forums and state-sponsored programs that bring in overrated experts that get paid the extravagant sum for programs that were engineered to drain our coffers of money and magically appear in the pockets of contractors with links to our beloved politicians could be channeled into keeping the population safe. But why do that? What is the gain that? Surely there are better ways to loot our commonwealth that does not involve investing millions in equipping security operatives to carry out operations to wipe out this menace.
When we decide to exercise our rights as citizens of democracy by questioning the people whose privileged was acquired by our votes, we get to shout down by armies of letting us be charitable and call them “passionate supporters” of the government. I do not blame these angels for being possessed by emotions or blinded by the gain they garner from the government being what it is or how it is. Surely, we all have our irrational attachments here and there, human beings are nothing but fault beings. To assume any moral ground over others would be nothing but absurd.
Early 2015, I received about five letters including an open letter from my brother and a friend Justice Manir Faisal which he accused me of selfishness and lack of patriotism. his open letter comes to me at a point where I was on official Assignment at the World Youth foundation headquarters in Malacca but I refused to hesitate, I replied instantly through available means. His letter focused on my write-up especially about governance and policies in nigeria and africa, though I try as much as possible to be constructive but for reasons known to him, he decided to write his open letter despite some more acceptable and dignified means of doing so.
My point here is, objective and constructive criticism is an ingredient of democracy and it is the only tool that promotes the development and strengthens governance. we should always give a good interpretation of people’s view instead of creating what doesn’t exist. However, we are all in agreement that things have gone bad in our society especially in the Northeast but to my surprise, people like Manir Faisal are nowhere to be found at a time when people need them to advocate for their freedom, I must say criticism doesn’t mean hate.
There has to be a holistic view of the situation. We have to know the cause of the problem, how it manifested into this disaster, who are the perpetrators, the people in and out of the government that colluded or were complacent in the situation, and how to battle the menace. These are not easy answers to answer but we expect them to be answered and to be answered as soon as possible.
We do know that many people compromised. We want a zero-tolerance approach to this issue. Peoples lives and livelihood have been destroyed, the perpetrators must pay no matter what. Whoever is complacent, nor matter how well placed must answer for his/her unholy act. We all know the culture of double standards that are entrenched in the justice system of this nation, we must do away with that, whoever is complacent, no matter how placed must pay.
Victims must be compensated. Lives have been lost and properties destroyed. There is no possible way of replacing lives lost and undoing the suffering felt. We have no way of restoring their lives to a state it was before these monstrous events. We cannot assume to comprehend or understand the extent of their pains. We must, however, do our best to rebuild their estates, empower them in their trades and offer them all necessary support financially and otherwise in their struggle to feel wholesome again.
These are unfortunate events and we pray they never occur again. We are also aware that prayer alone is not going to enough. There has to be a conscious effort to deter people from going into that lane. Security operatives must be trained and equipped to anticipate these events and foil them before they hurt the public.
Babangida Ruma is Youth and leadership development expert who contributed to informed youth policy dialogues in the African region.