Several months ago, as a direct result of the seeming futility of constantly complaining about the state of affairs in my dear nation, I swore off commenting on Nigerian political affairs. A few days ago, I also decided that the celebration of independence was not for me.
I made these decisions based on my assessment of the Nigerian nation. Having looked back at my own life and the achievements therein and discovering that those failures that stared me in the face are not necessary personal failures but the effects of the continuous propagation of governments that places little faith in the accomplishment of its future leaders.
It would not do to start recalling the myriad of ways that the leadership of the Nigerian state has gotten it wrong over the years, as those instances have already been documented and commented upon by better informed commentators. However, I think it would serve this commentary some measure of service if I talk about why I decided to break my silence and again comment on the Nigerian question.
I broke my silence because of the audacity for violence, which seem to be the new mantra of an organisation for which I used to harbour some form of sympathy.
As I write this, the apology tendered by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is circulating in the media. I do not much care for the fact that MEND’S belated apology cast doubts on the efficiency of our security forces as presently constituted, especially as the announcement by MEND effectively counters President Goodluck Jonathan’s assertion that the Bomb blast that caused the death of several Nigerians and cast a dark pall over the independence day celebrations was not MEND’S doing.
I agree with those who want to give the President the benefit of doubt and read between the lines of what many called his defence of a violent organisation that claims to represent his (the president’s) home region.
I base my argument on common sense, especially since the death of fellow Nigerians would serve the organisation little. More or less, a bomb away from their home region, at this time that they can be said to have control of the Nigerian state through the office of the president, is nothing short shooting themselves in the foot.
As it stands now, by attacking Abuja and killing innocent Nigerians who have nothing to do with the situation that the Niger Delta found itself in, MEND has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that they are nothing more than a terrorist organisation and should be treated as such.
For an organisation that effectively gifted its catchment area the much sought after presidency of the federal republic of Nigeria (some might disagree, but it is my believe that Jonathan becoming the vice president was as a result of the activities of the militants and the need to calm nerves in the Niger Delta), MEND acted very much the clueless winner.
I know the reasons given for the attack were viable grounds for descent, but using a bomb to stress a point was taking it too far. They should have followed the examples of those of us who chose to boycott the event or the example of the majority of the Nigerian commoners whose apathy to the whole wastage made it seem like an elitist Halloween party.
MEND and other militant groups have cried about neglect loudly for a long time. They have spread the news of the degradation of the Niger Delta for years; they have brought the pains of the citizens of the Niger Delta closer to us, but in doing this they have also gotten rich and bold, too bold if one might say so. In their quest to push their agenda, which I used to subscribe to, MEND has emboldened itself to begin seeing us as acceptable collateral damage. This I am forced to say no. No, we cannot be collateral damage for an issue that we have no hand in.
By making us collateral damage, MEND is forcing us to take sides, forcing us to strike out at them as we seek to defend ourselves. MEND, by killing us, is effectively making itself the enemy of the Nigerian people, not just the government, especially now that it has all the reasons in the world to keep the peace.
MEND’s desire to shift the blame of the deaths to the Nigerian security agencies, which it claims did not respond to its calls to evacuate the areas around Eagle Square cuts less cheese than a knife made of air. The fact is, they set the bomb, primed it to go off at a certain time. Had they not wanted the bomb to go off and cause casualties they would have told the authorities the location of the bombs, and keep the goodwill of Nigerians. MEND FUCKED UP BIG TIME and deserves little or no sympathy from Nigerians.
As it stands, my heart goes out to President Jonathan, for surely the question would be asked; “how come he can’t keep his boys in check? “