Irèke Kalu Onuma writes Nigerians

Kalu Irèke Kalu
Kalu Irèke Kalu

FELLOW Citizen Greetings, I hope this meets you well, though there’s nothing well under the circumstances we find ourselves today.

I am afraid that we have come to a point where our yesterday’s doubts are becoming our today’s worst reality. Yesterday we had a semblance of a country, today am afraid that for majority of us nothing of such exists.

Strange darkness has come upon us. Brother is turning upon brother. Fear has become us. Law and order, has completely gone through the roof. Besides the pandemic of Covid-19, a worse one, that of debilitating cruelty and fear has taken over our land. Our streets and cities are no safer. We do not know whom to trust anymore.

The near peaceful protest over the rascality and above the law attitude of the deadly Police unit, commonly known as SARS, has turned ugly and deadly. Innocent blood has been shed. Mass looting and a total breakdown of law and order has taken over the land.

There was a deep and dead silence from the President over a period of two weeks. And this isn’t the first time he has acted as such. He is culpable and responsible for what’s going on today across the land.

Now the people who have served as his spokespersons and mouthpieces, have all suddenly gone dumb. Brethren we are on our own.

The venting of anger on the visible features of this oppressive regime is apt. But it still doesn’t solve our collective problems. By the time all these settles down, we must start the arduous task of rebuilding the burnt infrastructures and the broken systems and Economy which is been hit badly today. But above all, we cannot afford to settle back to the same Unitary system that gave rise to all these. A reformed and restructured nation must be the ultimate Prize.

While one can make a case for the anger expressed. One cannot but feel that the rage and destruction are getting worse and would topple us all.

We must start reigning in our excesses. We must not be like them. We must not descend on ourselves to make a point. What we want is a change for good. We do not want to become another Somaliland. We do not want to be unable to rebuild our relationships with each other after this dust settles down.

That is why we must start listening to our better nature. That’s why our dark side must give way to the light we all have carried inside for so long.

The deaf President must have heard loud and clear that his reign has become a sore burden upon the citizens. Yet in his speech to the nation, he barely empathize with us, barely acknowledged the youths and their agitations, and spared no breath for the dead. What are the lessons from this?

It’s now clear from the ongoings that we are not one country. While the larger South is agitated with the lack of good governance, Police brutality, and excesses, the North is simply reacting primitively, in defense of their “Supposed” own. What own? Failures can’t be owned. Rascality can’t be owed. Claiming ownership of such shows one to be such. We are not one country. For the honor of life which we all cherish, there’s nothing more to really fight for, if brutality and irresponsible leadership have different meanings, up North and South.

The political class of all shades of opinion and party has shown themselves both incompetent and cruelly disconnected from the people. While we are being mauled down in the streets of Nigeria, they remained silent. And when they did speak, did so from two sides of the mouth. Sad.

My consolation and our consolation should be in the wise sayings of Ecclesiastes 4-13: “Better is a poor but WISE YOUTH than an OLD AND FOOLISH King who no longer knows how to take warning.” We need to now show wisdom. And wisdom is not found in the burning and looting going on now. It is not found in the false heroics of self-immolation and death. It is wise to show restraint. It is wise to find strength in retreat. It is wise to reach out to others now, we all are hurting. It is wise to understand that out there now is risky for the “… King… No longer knows how to take warning.” Our wealth is in our lives alife. We can never be strong enough when we allow the weaknesses of cruelty to eclipse our judgment. No. No. And No to intolerance.

Nothing appears sacred anymore. Reports show that a lot of barriers, traditional, Secular, Religious, Private and public has been breached. Police Stations, public buildings, banks, toll gates, barracks, places of worship and Palaces are been set ablaze and looted. This is anarchy. This is chaos. This is hell let loose. We may as I have said earlier not recover from this if we allow it to go on.

What started as a peaceful protest by a handful, has been hijacked by thugs, miscreants, ruthless soldiers and dark historical trajectories. We have seen gore visuals of young men cut down in their prime. And, like my response to a ceartin clip sent to me by my wife, I did mention that they have resorted to acting Jack Bauer on the streets of Nigeria. [Buut rather than against Terrorists and Enemies of the State, it’s against the unarmed citizens of Nigeria] Regardless of how this finally ends, we have lost our innocence. Our future has been raped by a demonic brutality that has also damaged our consciousness and psyches. We are deranged as a nation but must not degenerate to the level of senseless beasts and urchins.

I am deeply pained. I am sad with what’s going on with us. The level of insidious hatred and rage being exhibited is mind blowing. Slowly but surely we are drifting back to the dark ages. The Lynching of police officers and the young man with his brain blown out and spattered all over the floor with others standing around and many jerring and others cheering shows the level of psychological derangement we’ve gotten to. We seem to be loving it. The sharing across social media handles is quick and spontaneous. We do not have any feelings for the dead. No respect for their loved ones. Our communities has become one large quirky warped zone of Zombie madness.

Pain is probably the most popular turncoat today in this country. We say we are pained, but feel some ill skeed erotic pleasures in the shootings, bloodsheds, confusions and chaos. It has become clear that the pulpits and minarets has like the politicians lost their voice. The face of the nation today is the facelessness of our collective falsehood. We are alone. We’ve been alone. Let’s act sensibly, not like the truant children left alone in the house. Let’s grow up. Let’s take charge. Let’s save the roof over our heads. For if we allow our other darker instincts to take over, we will wake up tomorrow without a house.

Like Mahatma Ghandi once said, “The problem with the world today is that humanity is not in its right mind”, Nigeria over the past few days lost its mind. The graphic pictures, shared everywhere, proved just this point. We have a bigger problem of facing this mass delirium and emerging with some semblance of normalcy to enable us start the slow but long journey towards healing.

From all said, my fellow Citizens, it is delusional to think that turning against each other, playing up our respective tribal and ethnic innuendos would bring the change we all seek. It won’t. Rather we would have played into the hands of our detractors. Nigerians, please let’s wake up to the realities before us. Any decisions we take henceforth that leads to the death of any one of us is a failure on our part. Any actions we take that leads to further destructions of properties, public or private, is a failure on our path. Our actions can only be justified by one thing: If it leads to freedom, positive Change, Restructuring and disbanding of the Unitary State of Nigeria and the improvement of our lives and system.

My prayers are that we sow love, care and tolerance in our communities and neighborhoods rather than the cruelty, hate, greed and intolerance that has become us these past few days.

We can. We would and we must, out of the ashes of this Phoenix would rise a nation or nations of civilized men and women!

Above all, please be safe!

**Irèke A. Kalu Onuma can be reached at email:

– Oct. 23, 2020 @ 14:38 GMT |

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