I was attracted to the picture on the newspaper the man by the road-side was holding. The picture was catchy, attractive, and sad; it was a picture of a dead man lying in his own pool of blood. Our car had started moving now and i turned my head and squinted to read the bold headline-ELEWEOMO, NURTW BOSS, KILLED IN IBADAN-which seemed to be written in red! The hot tear that fell from my left eye was immediately dried by the dry harmattan air. I was really sad! I bought the newspaper with the #200 squeezed in my jeans pocket and stared at the picture till i got to Bodija market.
I'm writing this piece because the picture above has been stuck in my head. I'm here because I have questions that may never be answered. I'm here because a bomb was detonated in Abuja a day before the New Year and 4 innocent souls were killed and many injured. I'm here because the usual sound of 'knock-outs' and 'bazookas' has been replaced with that of bomb. I'm here because my dad called me at least 10 times before i got to church on New Year eve and he kept warning me not to stand beside or with group of people. I'm here because three bombs have been detonated within the last 8 days of 2011. I'm here because I want to vent, talk, debate, enquire, analyze, speak and listen if they would make me understand man's inhumanity towards man!
Alhaji Abdul Lateef Salako, popularly known as Eleweomo, was murdered in cold blood two days to his 58th birthday and house warming ceremonies! That woman's husband and those children's father was killed by some people that are not and might not be known. He was reported to have gone to a PDP meeting with some hoodlums to disrupt the meeting which was against the candidate he's supporting. The rival candidate's hoodlums over-powered his and they chased him to a nearby primary school and ended his life! When will citizens of Nigeria learn that violence has never and will never solve anything? When will they realise justice is not in their hands?
A bomb was detonated in the country's capital just few hours to New Year. This is sequence to the ones detonated in Jos 3 days earlier. In Jos, 34 people were killed and almost 80 injured! This tragedy affected one of the relaxation centers in Jos- Sauki relaxation center. It was neither detonated close to Aso Rock nor The Governor's House. Rather, it was detonated close to a 'relaxation center' built with unpolished wood; a place where bricklayers were probably unwinding after a long day's work or where that Mallam that sells bread and egg across the road was still pleading with the owner to waiver his debt. Innocent citizens with dreams, hope, aspirations and enthusiasm about the approaching New Year were forced to six feet under! Their families and loved ones were rudely surprised with their deaths and the realisation that they may be next!
In Abuja, 4 people were killed in the 'Mami Market' of Abacha Barracks. People that were probably selling so they would be able to buy what will be needed for the next day. People that if they had known they would be blown to pieces, would have stayed in their houses and stayed hungry! The ones that escaped are scared. The fear of bomb is now the beginning of wisdom in my country!!!!!
I have lived more than two decades in Nigeria and other than making me a citizen of her, she has not been that useful. Despite all these, i see people that survive against all odds every day and think i can do something good for myself and make her better! I study for hours with my candles on and end up going to the examination hall with stinking armpits because water has never run in my pipes! I move around every day tempted to beg from the beggars and hope my left over rice from yesterday is still good! I do not complain, I move on, i focus on my dreams, I work hard. There's no light and water and we are still surviving but when the 'immune system' of our country has been paralyzed, how are we citizens supposed to achieve our dreams against all odds? What is going to be the average life span of a citizen of Nigeria that has already been reduced by preventable diseases like cholera, measles, polio and maternal mortality? Where can i hang out? Do we all need a manual showing us the different types of bomb and titled 'detonating a bomb made easy'? Let's advocate for peace! Let's speak up and one day, we shall be heard! Let's be responsible! Let's settle all grudges by effective communication! Let's be wise! LET'S LIVE AND LET LIVE!!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR Y’ALL!!!!!!!