THE THREAT IS REAL
- I grew in a very plural society, born to a Christian family, from an ethnic tribe and grew in a predominantly Fulani society, my beliefs and prejudices were rarely influenced by the contradictions in this society,maybe it was the child in me but in my eyes we all lived in a yellow submarine and why not, all religious festivities (Christian and Muslim) were joyous times for us all.
- This tapestry had everyone from the East to the North to the West to South,my then best friend’s father was Fulani and his mother Igbo,it was harmonious and if anyone dared breach this peace, he was an outcast.Religion seemed a personal choice and it was ok.
- This was the case or so I thought until I grew and the contradictions seemed to ebb my innocence,all I held dear was challenged,my friend Ojukwu left the North as he said because,with a jamb score of 240 he couldn’t secure admission into University of Maiduguri to read Medicine and so he went UNN.He had grown up in Yola all his life and now he was not Nigerian enough to read a course that would have meant he would come back to the North to make an impact.We all have these tales but I always believed that it was the anomaly in our United norm.
- The drums of war have started to beat and as always it seems far from me,I must confess when the Arewa youth threatened Igbos,I took it with a pinch of salt.Yola(where I live) has a burgeoning Igbo population, who hold the economy in their hands,they own 25 percent of real estate and probably done more to elevate the standard of living in Yola than any order group of people.To my mind(naive as it may be) they are safe in Yola and heck other parts of the North, I have been to.The assurance of Government about their safety allayed my fears and all seemed fine.
- Never,however,did I consider the fears and feelings of the Igbos in the North,what they felt and are feeling, they always been the target of irrational anarchists and senseless looters,who have bandied them into a target for their madness.Never did I,until this morning my associate in the office told me, she had to leave for the East,she said it sadly,she said it disappointingly, she said it with despair.She felt unsafe,she felt betrayed by the nation.She told me about her encounter with a senior colleague in court,who had told her the Igbos could go their way.She had expected more from him,if the separatists in the East were said to be illiterates,as she had believed,why was a lawyer with 10 years post call thinking this way and saying it with such gruff.
- Joy has lived in Yola all her life,her mother worked in the civil service,she had to endure the frustration of being denied scholarships,employment all on the basis of not being an indigene, is this not Nigeria,she would ask and I would laugh it off.She considered dropping her sure name(Ozoadinde) for Vincent just to access the largest she believed flowed for the indigenes.Now it seems,after about 30,she was never part of this society and that meant,to her,she was never Nigerian.i haven’t been this heartbroken in years,I was going to lose a friend,a sister because some idiot fired off his mouth without considering the consequence of it.We truly have never healed from the civil war,50years on, because we won’t apologize for it or even admit it was an unjust war,never mind the cause.Damn it if you want unity,act it.
- Nigeria,is a country of contradictions,no doubt, a nation where few benefit from.Yet if we blame the elite for our woes,we the masses(whatever that means) are their greatest allies in colluding to destroy our unity.Please,note that we are all to blame,whether Nnamdi Kanu is right,whether Jonathan caused it,whether Buhari is divisive,let us drop the guns,sheath our swords and ask who stands to gain?
- Joy isn’t going to fit in seamlessly in the East,she is a Northern,her norms and mores are,her kids don’t speak Igbo.Her husband just bought his shop.
I end with the words of the Prince in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
“Where are these enemies? Capulet! Montague! Do you see what a great evil results from your hate? Heaven has figured out how to kill your joys with love. Because I looked the other way when your feud flared up, I’ve lost several members of my family as well. Everyone is punished.”
- This our fate.