A KENYAN REVERENd Sister I met, while visiting the University of Nairobi, Kenya, in the year 2010, in a joke with me, last week, sought to know if, as she had, earlier, heard, bribes are offered to be shown the way in Nigeria.  Though I never had to do that,  I was adamant to dismiss that because, I have noted, as Tola Adeniyi noted, decades ago, that corruption seems to have become an inseparable part of our culture. Needless saying that our country has, long, become a nation of absurdities - a laughing stock in the comity of nations.

Till date, the circumstances of the kidnap of the Chibokgirls remains a misery,  as different versions of the kidnap storyhad hit the newsstand. Facts that remain yet incontrovertible are (i) there was what looked like a deliberate attemptto reduce security surveillance, shortly before the kidnap (ii)a version of the story insinuated that some of the officials colluded, judging by the release of some children, prior to the take off with the rest, suggesting that the kidnap was selective (iii) the Jonathan government, in its usual tardiness, performed far below expectations and some of its officials made a gold mine of the unfortunate incidence.

If the Chibok kidnap was dramatic, wait a minute, theDapchi girls’ kidnap and release manifest far more drama and controversy -  Boko Haram commanders, brought back the Dapchi girls, in several heavy trucks and were given tumultuous welcome into Dapchi with members of the community hailing the commanders and shaking hands with them, as our forces stood by - the same Boko Haram that had long been declared a terrorist organization, now being hailed as victorious force!

That scenario raised questions about the sovereignty of our country, first and foremost. It, further, raised fundamental questions of our nationhood - are we, all, on the same page about the nationhood of this geographical area, we now call Nigeria? Above all, government has a lot of explanations to make to convince the citizenry of its non-complicity in the whole exercise of the kidnap and release. Was that kidnap followed by negotiation and release or there was more to it than meets the eye? Did government have to pay ransom and how much?  The premise of these questions are the unusual joyous mood with which the welcomed  the terrorists as they brought in the kidnapped Dapchi girls in several trucks. Further relevant questions are: whose trucks were those and which registration numbers did they carry? Where did they take off from? More importantly, which citizens were the drivers and what kind of drivers’ licenses did they carry?

If a group that has inflicted so much pains on our nation and people, necessitating being proclaimed terrorists were so celebrated by Nigerian citizens, which the people of Dapchi community are, it stands to reason that our values might be diametrically opposed to each other. This, like many other events, in our country raises, again, questions about our nationhood vis-à-vis dialogue on the future of our togetherness which people have touted, severally, under the subject of restructuring. All of us need to share the same value on what is good, or not, for our country- then, and only then, can we correctly refer to ourselves as nationals of the same country.

The drama of the Dapchi girls’ release has introduced another dimension into the subject of Boko Haram and this, or any other government cannot afford not to address the lingering controversies surrounding the issue of our nationhood which have been labelled variously as the national question, or restructuring. Restructuring this country, after purposeful and intense dialogue would only create a forum for mutual understanding, respect and strengthen our nationhood and bring about stability and developments which have eluded us for decades, since the military toyed with the idea of unification which, today, seems to have become an albatross.

Not just that, the case of the now rampaging terrorists, branding as herdsmen, would be brought under the right perspectives. A critical look at the geographical areas being attacked by these herdsmen: Taraba, Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and the Southern states, would suggest that they share the goals and objectives of the Boko Haram. No nation, ever survives sectarian war, should any group be clandestinely preparing this country for a sectarian war, it should realize (i) no one has a monopoly of violence (ii) only the beginning of a war can be accurately predicted.

A word is enough for the wise

Our Social Media