HAS THE TIME COME TO SAY GOODBYE?
Parting time is characterized with much sorrow and unending tears. This is the case even when the parting has the prospect of a reunion. In other words, the heartbreak of a permanent detachment is only best imagined. To say goodbye aches even the most strongest of men. That is why despite the sourness of a relationship, people prefer it managed than severed. This applies to people and countries. The questions that run through my mind as I write this piece is this- has the time come to say goodbye to all our loved ones? And has the time come for us to say goodbye to Nigeria as a country?
It is disheartening that people leave their respective homes in search of their daily means of survival and sustenance with no certainty of returning back. The more disheartening story is not just for the person's family and relations to be called and informed of his/her death, but only to be confronted with a mutilated and dismembered body and left with the herculean task of identifying whether it is truly the remains of their beloved that is left lying, or they should lay claim to some other remains. In whichever case, the task of comforting the relations of the deceased cannot come from 'flesh and blood', for no human can fully comprehend the intensity of their agony and sorrows. And in most cases, it is the bread winner of these families that fall prey to the ungodly activities of these wicked people, and of recent, those in search of knowledge. But what I am not sure of is whether the time has come for all of us to wish one another goodbye, so that when we eventually fall, the news should be received with the premonition that it was actually anticipated.
At the risk of being pessimistic, I venture to state that the security of our lives for which the government is responsible, cannot be guaranteed. Most unfortunately, our lives are under threat from a ferocious and dreaded life terminating group, Boko Haram. They lie in wait, planning and doping out means by which they can terminate lives without pity and circumscription. On a pathetic note, they succeed in virtually all their attempts that it would not be out of place to say that Boko Haram is a progressive group, expanding their territory and modus operandi. What has the government done to check their activities? Well, whatever it is that the government is doing or claims to be doing, has minimal or no impact, that is why lives are being lost, and people disfigured, times and again. At least, I know i am speaking the minds of those whose voices will never again be heard, as it was abruptly silenced without their notice or permission; those groaning and writhing in pains as they were forcefully made to lie on hospital beds, with their friends and families watching pitifully and helplessly; those young lads who will have to live the rest of their lives with such a psychological trauma at what they encountered in the hands of their abductors, and their parents who cry and wail every night at what could best be described as government's lackadaisical and nonchalant attitude that led to the kidnap, conveyance and unknown fate of their daughters; and all those Nigerians who weep in silence, and go about their work in fear, not knowing where the next target is, or who will fall prey to the next machination of Boko Haram.
It appears the majority of the populace has lost faith in government's ability to safeguard our lives. To make matters worse, the opposition political parties and groups, instead of joining hands with the government of the day in order to win the fight against terrorism and insurgence, only seize the frailty on the part of the government to lambaste and berate it. I take that flaw from them as their open show of cluelessness on matters seeking to tear us apart. The proactive and preventive measures of tackling issues appear alien to our country. It is only when there is problem that government will summon a serious meeting purportedly aimed at preventing future occurrences. However, sooner than we expected, same problems arise in a more sophisticated form. "We are on top of the situation", that is what they always say. Well, I believe its about time they come down so they can visualize the root cause of the problem, and proffer constructive solutions.
Now I fear. My fear is provenance from the happenings around me; and exacerbated by the government's approach in tackling them. There is a saying from my part of the country that whichever shape you want a tree to take can only be achieved when the tree is at an early stage of its growth. It follows therefore that terrorism is best tackled when it is not full blown. In this regard, the government has failed, and if care is not taken, will fail woefully. As caliginous as this may sound, it is based on facts. Presently, there are reports of insurgents trying to establish another 'Sambisa' in Taraba State, and nobody seems to be saying anything reasonable. Or better still, the government seems not to be acting fast and sensible. We can afford not declaring a state of emergency in another State if we are prudent enough.
Of course, we can only begin to say goodbye if the government outrightly confirms to us our greatest fear- that they have failed in the protection of our lives and properties. The fire consuming this country has just been lit, and is capable of consuming the rich as it has consumed the poor; the rulers, as it has consumed the ruled; and the government as it has consumed the governed. Till then, our hope will never completely wane. Thus, in the same way that the Psalmist would lift up his eyes unto the hills from where comes his help, so do we lift up our eyes to God through our government for the safety of our lives, while playing the role we must, to ensure our safety.
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