A LESSON FOR ALL NIGERIANS by ELVIS IYORNGURUM
Mubi, the biggest commercial town in Adamawa state, was thrown into chaos the day Boko Haram descended on it and the people found themselves running for their lives. The terrorists shot sporadically, killing a lot of people while those who could escape jumped into any available car to run to safety. Christians, Muslims, Igbos, Yorubas, Tivs, Hausas and any tribe or religion, jumped onto any vehicle that was headed outside the town. Soldiers scampered onto trucks with civilians, begging to be saved, hundreds of people who could not get a vehicle ran into the hills. In their frantic effort to stay alive, no one paid attention to anybody’s religion or ethnicity before asking them for help or helping them to stay alive. It was a community of people, united by their desire to escape the common enemy that hunted them all without discrimination. Ethnicity and religion vanished, all they were left with was their humanity. Those climbing the hills stayed together, helping one another stay on their feet as they all tried to survive.
The most interesting part of the narrative is that the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Badeh is from the same town of Mubi. It has been reported that few hours before the attack, helicopters flew in and evacuated his family members from the town. The chief of Defence staff by the way, is the most senior military officer in Nigeria and he controls the army, navy and air force. Before that sad day, someone from Mubi would have boasted that the Chief of Defence Staff is from their home town. But on the day that it mattered the most, he evacuated only his family members and abandoned everyone else to their fate. It means he had information of the impending attack and as the most senior military commander, he did not fly into the town to lead his men in battle to defend the community. He quietly saved only his family and left even the soldiers without an inspiring commander to motivate them to engage the terrorists and defend the town.
One lesson all Nigerians must learn from this story is that as a people, all we have is our neighbours. When you need some help at home, you knock on the door of your neighbour. The president, governor, senator or minister is not there to help you. Why then should you continue to fight your neighbour because of a man or woman who cares only about his own family? Our elites may deceive us about sharing the same religion or ethnicity with us, but time and again, they have proven that they do not care. We have been fools, killing one another on the basis of religion and ethnicity while they stay united across all the divides and plunder our wealth. The time has come for us to rise, educate one another and unite to fight our common enemy. The politicians are our enemies and not the poor struggling men and women in our neighbourhoods.
What now will the people of Mubi boast about as the gain of having their son as the chief of Defence Staff? If you go to Otueke where Jonathan comes from, there are many people who live in excruciating poverty! There is still a lot of poverty and suffering in the home towns of all our governors, ministers, parliamentarians and former presidents, while they and their families live in scandalous affluence. The minister of petroleum spent over 10 billion Naira on a private jet. That money can end the poverty of several communities in her state. Stella Oduah bought two cars with 225million Naira while there are people in her home town who can’t afford 500 Naira to feed their family in a day. The time to throw away the sentiments is now! Support only a man or woman who has a just heart and will serve everyone and every community regardless of if they come from there or not. The moment anyone begins to talk to you about religion or ethnicity, reject him summarily! We need leaders who will unite us because our shared humanity is greater than any differences between us. And if someone does something wrong or fails in governance, do not support them simply because they’re your own. Share the message, teach those around you and brace up for a citizens action to root out bad governance, defeat terrorism and build a better society for everyone of us. We have hope and we must not lose that hope. We can turn around our country, all we need to do is unite our voices and raise them against the evil system that has enslaved us for so long. Our adversity, especially the insurgency, has taught us who our real enemies are. Get ready to answer when you hear the call. GOD BLESS YOU AND GOD BLESS NIGERIA.