Poetically, Friedrich Nietzsche saw ahead of his time. He crafted a parable to describe the winds of disbelief that would blow over modern Europe. A mad man lit a lantern at noon and went into the public market looking for God: “Where is God?” Mocked by the townspeople in an escalating series of exchanges, he finally threw the lantern to the ground. It shattered and the light went out. “God is dead,” cried the madman, “and we have killed him.” “Let the churches begin the funeral.”
While everyone laughed, Nietzsche said that his generation was not ready for the news but when it would reach the ears of future generation, the horizon would vanish. While people went about calling Nietzsche names, they got dizzy with loose morality. By the mid-20th century in Europe, the mad man’s news had arrived. It was all odds against Christian morality. What’s more? Christianity became a little church in a much bigger world.
When Nnamdi Kanu started calling Nigeria a zoo, we laughed at him like the madman of Nietzsche’s parable. When he burst out in court with tightened fists that Nigeria will fall, we laughed and called it a melodrama of a fraudster. Nigeria went on with her usual. Where are we now? A bleeding economy, a fragile sovereignty! Nigeria is dead.
Google it out! The most frequently looked-up words in Nigeria today are Biafra, secession, Arewa, restructure, change, sickness, injustice, and marginalization. These carry negative values which convey the public mood in the once giant of Africa, Nigeria.
Who killed Nigeria? All of us! For Emir Mohammed Sanusi, Nigeria has only two tribes- the elite and the poor masses. Nothing can be truer than this classification. Gauge the comments of the economic parasites, the regional overloads, and see how irritating they are to the people of their zones. If the self-centred Igbo leaders in the Southeast are not condemning Biafra agitators, the economic vampires, the northern oligarchs are describing Arewa youths as jobless imbeciles.
If the elite laid the foundation for the collapse of the country, it was a section of the poor masses that did the killing. Often, it is even the enthusiastic youths who mislead their leaders. When the Samaritans refused Jesus’ passage through their city to Jerusalem, it was James and John who pleaded, “Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus rather than yielding reminded them that Samaria is not the only route to Jerusalem. ‘Let the sleeping door lie.’ Unfortunately, Nigerian leaders are neither Jesus nor do they know him.
The support of our youth to this standstill has been overwhelming. Come to think of it! When Charles Otu, a journalist was beaten to coma not long ago in Ebonyi State, it was not the leader whose government he earlier criticized who manhandled him. It was rather a group of social never-do-wells who wanted him dead, the same people who can only be rehabilitated when government introduces sincerity in governance and expands opportunities to every willing heart.
How many lives do we waste during electioneering in Nigeria? In fact, Rivers State is nicknamed ‘rivers of blood.’ This blood pool is a creation of overzealous party boys who are always quick to pull the trigger. In this way, we have wasted our best brains and suppressed golden voices of freedom.
When the masses are terrorized into silence, they boycott either election or acquiesce with stronger force, sell their votes with few stocks of fish and naira notes rather than go home empty. Where some masses defy odds to vote according to their conscience their votes are made not to count by a section of us who inflate figures in favour of the highest bidder. The rest of the story is destroyed in court before rogues with wigs. Then we end up every four years enthroning mediocrity.
African revolution has always been unsuccessful for the same reason there is always a willing section of the masses that compromises and sells the battle front of the masses to the elite enemies. Again, the revolutions are sometimes led by an aggrieved section of the elite who exploits prevailing public mood to wrestle power from another club of pirates. The later explained when a clueless party like All Progressive Congress, APC, should be ruling a nation in 21st century world.
The political tension building up in the country presents opportunity for the youths to humanize our polity, free themselves from clutches of political hippopotamuses. Like John Cardinal Onaiyekan said in the penultimate week; Nigerian unity cannot be decided or guaranteed by political jobbers but poor masses. The masses have enormous power when courage is joined to common purpose.
Whatever name one adopts, the present Nigeria should be buried and a new workable social contract built. This is the prerequisite to go together as a mega-country or separately as independent mini-nations.
The funeral must begin with rejection of the status quo and relinquishing of every role the masses have played in enabling the political hippos to gain such weight at our expense. No oppressor willingly grants freedom unless the oppressed prevails on him. In reverencing blood, we must swear never to allow anyone’s blood drop for the ambition of the desperadoes; no more money, no more stock fish for votes. We must shout this rejection with amazing intelligence it deserves.
Next, we must take back our village ponds; drain them up to expose big fishes eating up the fingerlings. Through fishery technique of sorting, we should take big fishes home for feasting; and create aquatic condition for the small ones to grow.
Humanizing Nigeria challenges us to ostracize irritants who cannot live like ordinary citizens, drink our water, use our source of light, send their kids to our schools and access health services in our hospitals. When we deny them abode in our midst, the communities of men, they will have a choice either to fly abroad or live on air. We can then elect leaders from among the people and usher new era.
To achieve this we must not raise comments that weaken the courageous voices in our midst. Scolding people like Nnamdi Kanu, Femi Fani Kayode, and even Arewa youths is like shooting ourselves at the feet. We may not like the ideologies they represent; but they have created an atmosphere that can hatch our revolution. No matter how discordant these voices are, they remind us to get ready for the mad man’s news.
There was a country.
Nigeria is dead.
Let the funeral begin.
By Felix Ucheakam