“On Recent Events: Ours Is a Nation!”: An essay by Ayk Afowolokoyasire

Ours is a nation where a report is ‘rubbished’ for admitting its limitations. And it leaves one to ask: was the commissioner expecting the reporter to portray his report as the proverbial cure for all ills? For, as every learned person knows, every method has its limitations, as does every recommendation; and as every wise man knows, the cure for all ills is death. One can only hope that the commissioner does not administer the latter to the report he has now claimed is ailing.

Ours is a nation where the President forever salutes his intelligence agents, yet the Boko Haram menace that was not nipped in the bud has not been chopped off its roots, let alone grubbed out of its origins. One then wonders: who is deceiving whom? Is the President deceiving us or is he himself being deceived by those who would not admit their flaws and limitations, who would sing All is Well atop the burning house that our North has become? Or is he deceiving them, publicly promising them his support while secretly limiting their independence and hindering their progress? If not, what exactly is the problem; who will explain?

Ours is a nation where people live for the sake of today, and only today. Where people forget that today’s action (or inaction) inevitably becomes tomorrow’s history. Where the masses at the base cannot trust the apex, the government, it is surpassingly heavier than. Where everyone puts himself first. And where the poorer you are, the more children you have: the gateman has six children while his boss has three. Yet all these things brought us here, and here we are.

The Boko Haram would that we, the rest of Nigeria, worshipped them; that to speak against them was sacrilege. The Boko Haram would not apologise to all the innocents they killed but would that we, the rest of Nigeria, paid them compensation, an apology. The Boko Haram would not desist from bombing us but they would that we, the rest of Nigeria, desisted from hunting them. The Boko Haram would that we, the rest of Nigeria, recognised their religious peculiarities but would not recognise that God created life and diversity, that diversity birthed religions, that variety is the spice of life.

The Boko Haram would that they were the first of all and forget that we, the rest of Nigeria, could not be the least of all. The Boko Haram would that they lived in peace and surplus, yet they put us, the rest of Nigeria, in shambles and scarcity, in pains and panic, the aftermath of their (reckless) bomb blasts. The Boko Haram would that they had plenty children, perhaps unaware of the Yoruba saying, Omo beere, òsì beere; plenty children, plenteous poverty. The Boko Haram would that they eradicated Western education, yet backwardness cannot be enviable in this modern age of ours, and freedom is for all.

The Boko Haram would that they could trust our government and not seek safety in Saudi Arabia for dialogues. The Boko Haram would that the government listened to the voice of the masses rather than the blast of its bombs. The Boko Haram would that government did not hush us or shush our labour leaders, or let out our military on us. The Boko Haram would that they saw the dividends of democracy:
accountability, where’s our subsidy?
bread, where’s our food?
construction, where are our good roads?
debate, when will we ever confront you?
equity, we are just as important as you.
finance, what’s happening to our Naira?
governance, cut your spendings and save our economy!
honesty, who is who in Nigeria?
integrity, if you cannot perform, commit for there!
justice, who will pay for all these crimes?
knowledge, do you really know what you’re doing?
liberty, can I really express myself?
…undoubtedly, things we, the rest of Nigeria, also long to see and have and own; and issues our government yet fails to address properly, if at all.

Seeing as we, the masses of Nigeria, are in agreement on these few, and perhaps some more, to the Boko Haram, I therefore say: As a part cannot truly hate that which makes it whole, we love you, we
feel your pains; we do not live in a different Nigeria, after all…
Put down your arms;
Harm us no longer.
This is the voice of reason,
To maintain your poise is treason.
…for Ours is a Nation where Nigeria must come before all–the leader as much as the led–and together we, the masses of Nigeria, will prevail together,
In love and honesty to GROW
And living JUST and true
Great lofty heights ATTAIN
To build [ONE] nation where PEACE and justice shall REIGN.

I remain yours,
Ayk Midas Afowolokoyasire,
OOUTH Sagamu, Ogun State
A Nigerian youth.