As the news filter through the media spaces one always hopes to hear good news but the reverse has been the case in my country, Nigeria, in the last couple of weeks. In fact in the past few years one can, on finger tips, count the number of good and cheering news that have made it to the public space whereas one has lost count of the bad ones. It is so bad that people can’t even remember if and when they last heard any good news.
A few of my concerned friends have been asking me why my BlackBerry Messenger profile has remained black. In fact one said just this morning “Is anything the matter with you? I noticed that your profile has remained in this mourning mood for some time. Are you okay?” I answered “how can one I be okay with all the madness in the land”. She sent the smiley emoticon and said “God will continue to protect His own”. Even though there was nothing offensive in what she wrote I was completely livid and I am very sure that if she is reading this would shaking her head.
Who is God’s own and who is not? What criteria are used to determine that? Does it mean that every innocent person who has been killed and maimed are not God’s own? Are we saying to be safe in a country like Nigeria we all have to relocate to Redemption Camp or NASFAT praying ground? Don’t forget that it in this same country that many have been unjustly murdered, shot, killed and bombed while praying to God. This got me thinking and the questions kept pouring out. After asking so many questions – with so much anger – the lady said “sorry, I was just trying to help” and so we stopped chatting.
What am I trying to say? We are too quick to drop everything at God’s doorstep, failing to see where and how we have gone wrong and missed our ways. Has God changed? Your answer to that question would determine how you would perceive the rest of this article. In my own humble opinion and belief, I trust that God exists and He is the only being that doesn’t change. So if God does not change how come things have changed so much and the southward movement doesn’t seem to have an end in sight? The answer is right there in our faces: you and I have changed and will continue to change either for good or otherwise. The choice we make will determine the direction of movement of things in the society. Again, there are only two directions things can move in this case – North or South.
In my opinion, we all have contributed to the egregious mess this county has turned into. Let me address the issues from this point of view, starting with the family and finishing with our government.
I recall as a little kid my grandmother communicated and imbibed discipline into me, my siblings and cousins through her body language, just as she did with her children (our parents). As a kid I grew up as a Teacher’s son (if you’re one you will understand what that means) who was taught to be contented with whatever is mine and never to covet things that do not belong to me. I am very sure a lot of us were brought in the same manner, if not better. We had parents in those days who were primarily interested in their children and wards turning out to be most well behaved and disciplined kids with proper manners. I recall my grandmother telling me as primary school pupil, nearly three decades ago, that “the world is upside down”. I wonder what her thoughts are nowadays.
Gone are those days when parent took pride in parenting with the aim of mentoring and grooming good, decent and well behaved kids. Instead what we see regularly now are parents who have outsourced their parental duties to nannies, maid and even the children’s teachers. Many parents have neglected the responsibility of building their homes and children to embrace building a wide base of business contacts to make them “hammer”. No one is exonerated from this as I am equally guilty. It is even more saddening because our parents and grandparents were also working (some even did more strenuous jobs) while they were raising us and earned far less than what many of us earn today, so what exactly has changed? What I have noticed is that the generation of our parents saw parenting as a duty they had to diligently perform. A lot of them chose to delay gratification just so we could turn out better, but parents of nowadays see parenting as a burden that has to be outsourced.
If you don’t stay close and talk to your kids and wards regularly how would you know when they have started mingling with the wrong set of people or picking up unusual habits? Yes, life has changed! Yes, demands and wants are hitting the ceiling and one has to keep up but if you acquire everything and end with untrained or ill-trained kids what success have you achieved? Where did we drop all the values with which our grandparents trained us? Where did we miss our way?
Once the family units have broken down one shouldn’t expect any magic from the society. Gone are the days when the societies we live in promote and reward hardwork and diligence. Days when people believed in living on earnings out of their sweat and being contented with what they had, however small it was. The complete opposite is what we see today. People just want to be rich overnight and at all cost just so they can oppress the next person to them. How they come about the riches nobody really cares. All you hear people say is “I have arrived”. No one knows the journey they embarked upon but to the society what we see is the money and that sits well with everyone. Shame and honour do not have a place in our society anymore instead what we do is celebrate those who have brought untold hardship on us and the land.
When this madness goes on unchecked people begin to believe that it is the right thing to do. I sincerely fear that our own children will grow up believing that there is probably nothing evil about corruption and associated crimes. Killings, kidnappings, robberies, and bombings are now regular words that are readily found in the Nigerian dictionary. So many of these despicable and inhuman acts are sanctioned, perpetrated and supported by people who one would ordinary believe are sane beings. Alas we (most of us) have lost our minds with devils taking over the very essence of our souls.
It is therefore not surprising that many of the people elected or appointed into any position in government seem to have completely lost their souls. It can only be true that we as a nation has completely gone mad too if we have a government occupied by able bodied men and women (who I want to believe are still in control of their brains) and we continue to watch them kill us directly and indirectly without any objection!
Truly the government of the land should bury their heads in shame. The government is swimming in sheer incompetence. If they don’t know what to do why not seek wise counsel and help where necessary! How do you explain that in country where there is a President, governors and apparatus of government all these mass killings, kidnapping, robberies and bombings go on unabated? The worst part is that end is not even in sight because the government is clueless about how to tackle these problems. How do you explain that some unknown gunmen lay siege on a school and killed over 30 students and nothing significant has been done or said about it? How do you explain that some people will resort to killing and burning fellow human beings just because they were called thieves? Unknown villagers? How do you begin to explain that military men will go on rampage and kill over 30 people after two of their men were killed in the line of duty?
Those are few recent happenings but let us not forget the manner in which ‘unknown’ Boko Haram and its cohort have dealt with this country with no meaningful headway made towards stopping the madness, despite the huge resources committed to the so-called ‘fight’ against terrorism. At least those are the ones we hear daily or regularly. Do you know the number of people who have died in the hospitals just because hospitals lack the proper equipment? Do you know the number of lives we have lost to road and air accident
s just because someone in government has lost his or her mind? Contracts for many of our roads have been awarded countless number of times and yet, no result!
Do you know the number of people who die daily because the government of the day cannot provide decent and portable water? The list is endless. At times one begins to wonder if we truly have government at both federal and state levels. In truth, there is government what they use their time to do in office is what seem confusing to me.
As a nation we have lost our way and the speed at which we are travelling on the wrong route is becoming uncontrollable. If care is not taken, it would not be too long before we are completely doomed. People are very quick to conclude that “God will continue to protect His own” but no one has come out to state categorically how this would happen. However, the same God said “if my people, who are called by name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:17)
I am sure you all can see the emphasis. Yes we pray and seek God but there is a caveat! The sincere question though is what does the future holds if we continue like this?
May God bless Nigeria!
You can find me @bisiogunwale on Twitter.