Naija Notes: Say A Prayer For Nigeria

by Toni Kan Onwordi

I may be pre-empting things, but God loves this country.

Two elections down the road and blood isn’t flowing on the streets. Now, did I hear someone say just yet?

People have died, I know. Six lives were lost in Bayelsa during the National Assembly polls and just over the Easter weekend four others including two hapless children were killed execution style in Ogun state when armed men ambushed a vehicle belonging to the presidential fleet. There have also been reports of pockets of unrests and violence in other parts.

The roads may not be flowing with blood, but people are mourning because every loss no matter how insignificant the deceased is, speaks directly to our humanity and our mortality, reminding us of a date awaiting and also of the decay in our midst.

Before the elections began, prophets of doom had created a cottage industry out of dark prognostications. Those of us at home were living as it were with our hearts in our mouths. Most of my friends from the East have fled home. Those who stayed back were held back by economic considerations. They were in Lagos but their hearts and minds were at home.

With Nigeria’s chequered history of never being able to conclude a successful civilian to civilian transition staring us in the face like a portent, every one was waiting for violence to erupt at the polls, for blood to flow and heads roll.

Reports of massive importations of arms did not help matters neither did the reports of skirmishes involving rival political groups help to assuage the feeling of impending dread.

On April 12th, we stayed in doors and waited for the bullets to fly but God sent rain instead. Veritable showers of blessing, the rains calmed frayed nerves and sent troublemakers indoors or to whatever haunts they are habitués of. In plain language, God said “shame to bad people.”

The story was no different on April 19th when the presidential and gubernatorial elections were held. With the results trickling in and a clear indication that the PDP had upset the old order in the South West, wresting power from the AD with the force of a tornado leveling everything in its path, we feared that trouble would erupt again, but once again God waved a benevolent hand and calmed things.

Tomorrow, the INEC will announce the results of the presidential elections and if emerging indices are anything to go by, the PDP’s presidential flagbearer and incumbent president will be declared winner.

I am writing this as dusk falls and I don’t know what the next few days will hold for Nigeria. Are we poised at the threshold of a new era, of the shaming of naysayers and presages of death, destruction and decay? Or are we poised at the cusp of a cataclysmic explosion that will destroy Nigeria as we know and have known it since 1914.

As an optimist, I see peace rising like the sun from behind thick clouds of fear and doubt. But only time will tell.

Say A Prayer For Nigeria.

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