Naija Notes: The End of Nigeria

by Toni Kan Onwordi

“Joy has a slender back that breaks too soon” Ola Rotimi

I have never been this angry in my life and if this comes across as angry and un-objective, then c’est la vie.

Those who bother to read my penny’s worth on this site would have seen my comments on the Miss World pageant billed to have been hosted in Abuja. Last week I had written: “And now to some cheering news. A bevy of scantily clad beauties swooped down on the nation last week giving us cause to cheer and ensuring CNN had some good things to say about Nigeria, at least for this once”

One week after that article was written, Nigeria has taken a huge step backwards and today we are back, as far as civilization is concerned, squarely in the Stone Age.

What happened? What went wrong? Who pulled the plug to activate the Time Machine?

For answers look to the North to some faceless mullah(s) pulling the strings like deranged puppet masters and setting the almajiris, those face-less organs that make up the corps of Northern mobs on orgies of senseless violence.

A mob is a bloodthirsty animal with bared fangs. A mob has no control. And like a wild unbroken horse, a mob will not obey the prompting of its master. That is as far as normal mobs go.

Northern mobs are abnormal mobs. They are wild and unbroken all right but they are abnormal in the sense that there is never any master urging reason or seeking to control the madness. The Northern mob is senseless and filled with nothing but atavistic madness and insatiable blood lust. Once it is set loose it will not stop. Fuelled by visions of virgins waiting for them in paradise, the almajiris race towards martyrdom like a car with a demon behind the wheels.

I saw it twice in Kano and for months my family lived as refugees in Lagos, but even then I never felt such rage. I could connect with what Maitatsine was about. I could understand the rage against Reinhard Bonnke but this last one beats me.

From a purely PR point of view, the Muslims in Abuja and Kaduna have cost us a fortune in good will. For the first time, the outside world was seeing Nigeria from a different perspective. They were seeing a slice of Nigeria that was not clouded by smoke from burning tires and human beings. They were seeing beaches, hotel lobbies, tourist spots lit up by the presence of comely young maidens drawn from various parts of the World. For once, CNN was not beaming their cameras into burning houses and the set faces of anti riot policemen. They were not interviewing information ministers or policemen promising to look into the causes of the protests and bring the culprits to book. No. CNN was showing and reporting GOOD news about Nigeria. There was joyful news for once. But what did Ola Rotimi of blessed memory say about joy? Joy has a slender back that breaks too soon.

Our joy broke too soon under the weight of a story from a little known writer in the employ of THISDAY Newspapers.

Much as I blame THISDAY and the editor (not Isioma Daniels) for publishing the part of the story that referred to Prophet Mohammed, I cannot shrug of the persistent belief that the THISDAY story was a mere excuse to do what they had been waiting to do all the while. If there wasn’t a premeditated plan, the front page apology that ran in THISDAY for all of last week would have counted for something.

First, they wanted the pageant moved to a date after the Ramadan and they were obliged. Then this!

I don’t know how the rest of the nation sees it, but I am angry and my anger is directed not just at the perpetrators of the carnage but at our spineless president. When it happened in Odi, OBJ rolled out the armoured tanks and leveled the place. When it happened at Zaki-biam, OBJ called out the troops. When it happened in Kaduna, the man stayed in Lagos and had the THISDAY editor arrested.

It is time we stopped appeasing the NORTH. The North is a part of NIGERIA. The NORTH is not NIGERIA. The earlier we understood this the better for all of us.

And the more we ignore that the more we dig NIGERIA’s grave. As I see it, if care is not taken, this might well be the beginning of the end for NIGERIA.

The East I hear is already burning and I say, let it BURN!

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1 comment

ACHILD July 4, 2006 - 1:27 pm



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