Echoes Of Idiaraba

I was born after the civil war.

When l was growing up and in my formative years there was no one-teachers, counsellors or psychologists-who told us the reasons for the things that happened in northern Nigeria. Many of those things were unheard of or forbidden in western Nigeria.

The massacres, the beheading and the bloodletting just happened and became part of my/our history.

The other stories from the north like getting married to children as young as 8 years old blew my mind away forever!

Echoes Of Idi-Araba

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola_March

Intro

When micro-ethnic wars break out in Nigeria, they are sometimes quickly subdued and swept under the carpet.

That (being swept under the carpet) is going to be the fate of the recent micro-ethnic war at Mile 12 in Ikorudu, Lagos.

The Nigerian government is a master of this game-pretending as if everything is alright at the surface until the next riot or violence breaks out. The response will be the same-quench it and sweep it under the carpet.

Nigeria remains a volatile country because successive government continues to push forward the days of reckoning-that-is when to actually sit down and discuss a viable and long-lasting political solution regarding the colonial debacle called Nigeria.

We have come to the realisation that Nigeria, though with the potentials of a giant, ironically remains an under-developed country as a result of several factors, not least the dearth of leadership at the center and across the states.

 

The Northern Syndrome

My phobia of the north (of Nigeria) developed when l was still in my early teenage years. Now, with the established terrorism in the north (that may soon spread to other places) and recent news of filtering in, in different forms and shades, my phobia may be incurable.

It’s sad but it’s true.

This is not the first time l’m expressing my fear and phobia of the north.

Sometimes people take your experiences and life stories with a pinch of salt. They even argue and bet that you’ll change your mind as if they are you.

The trauma of the teenage years lingers. I may go through my life cycle without ever steeping my foot on the northern part of Nigeria.

When l was growing up and in my formative years there was no one-teachers, counsellors or psychologists-who told us the reasons for the things that happened in northern Nigeria.

Many of those things were unheard of or forbidden in western Nigeria.

Did we even have counsellors or psychologists? Where were they?

The massacres, the beheading and the bloodletting just happened and became part of our history.

The other stories from the north like getting married to children as young as 8 years old blew my mind away forever!

 

The Echoes of Idiaraba

l learnt about the aberration in Yorubaland. I mean, I became more confused when several of the riots in western Nigeria were propelled by disagreements between the men from the north and local indigenes. The question of one Nigeria was laid to rest several decades ago.

So when l was studying at the postgraduate level at the College of Medicine in ldiaraba, there were some days I looked over my shoulders because of the tension between the indigenes and the men from the north or beyond the north. We found out later that Chad and Niger also invaded western Nigeria.

Sometimes l felt that the gods were with me because l’d been home when the massacres took place. But what about those whose lives were taken away just as if one was blowing up fumes from cigarettes?

The episodes have just been repeated at Mile 12, with precision!

When l served in lbadan, there were some places l never dared to disembark from the bus to even look around because my traumatic mind told me that l could be stabbed to death by the herdsmen or a collection of rioters with mixed identities.

Such was the height of my phobia.

For me, as a young boy, and then a young student, the echoes of Idiaraba are the echoes of northern Nigeria and they still make me sick.

I am aware of the pockets of violence even amongst indigenes or local gangs. They just added to the heap of confusion in the lives of an innocent teenage mind.

Sometimes l think about the post-civil war Nigeria and all the unhealed wounds. These thoughts diminish my hope for Nigeria. I am convinced that the ever-fresh Biafra struggles are closely tied to unfinished businesses.

Indeed in my adulthood l have learnt about the unusual constellation of Northern Nigeria but too sad that that the constellation won’t drive away the fears and trauma. It may be too late to help me. I don’t know.

In fairness, considering that the only place where l feel safe-western Nigeria-is under siege from time to time from herdsmen and the foreigners who have failed to respect, revere or reciprocate the hospitality of the locals/indigenes, my trauma can still be aggravated.

One can argue from now to eternity about the underlying factors that brought me to this dilemma. We can sweep issues under the carpets. We can take sides and apportion blame.

Aren’t we expert in these areas?

Our common vision reveals to us what is on the surface. They are mis-governance, poverty, ignorance, deprivation, lack of education and sometimes mis-education of the minds. The list can be grown.

Still reappearing below the surface is the complete failure of nearly all the regimes and governments of Nigeria. There also lie the fundamental questions of the political and physiological structures of Nigeria.

The failure of “governance and politics” in Nigeria is monumental!

What next?

The echoes of Idiaraba are not going to leave Nigeria soon. They reverberate with different tones along the landscape.

They resonate from Idiaraba, to Sabongarri, to Mile 12, to Sabo and everywhere across the country.

No. they won’t leave soon.

In some places these echoes are already the drums and sounds of terrorism and war.

With the drastic curtailing of the Mile 12 episode, the day of the next massacre just got pushed forward.

The usual politics may one day send Nigeria to her ultimate demise. It will be a sad day for Africa, for humanity.

The advocates of regional government or self-determination are not totally wrong. Nigeria needs a lasting and permanent political solution.

The other day, Nigeria’s almost foreign-based president, Mr. Buhari was rooting for the Palestinian agenda. I don’t know if that is contradiction or pragmatism.

One who does not propose a referendum for the Biafra state should not support the Palestinian agenda.

Anyway, there was a road Nigeria did not take. Hence we will never be able to evaluate the roles that proper governance and good leadership could have played in Nigeria as it is today.

We will not be able to answer the question: had Nigerian been governed by sensible people and responsible government, where would the country be today?

Could we have moved beyond ethnic massacres? Could we have moved beyond racial profiling within the country? Could we have relegated imported religious beliefs and local cultural differences to the background in favour of humanity and common sense?

We will never know the answers because up to this day in 2016 Nigeria is ruled by greedy, selfish, myopic and extremely wicked souls.

Nigeria is led by politicians who will acquire the latest cars in the middle of the worst economic situation in the country’s history.

Call them fools, call them idiots, call them what you like, they don’t care anymore. The redemption point got exited long, long time ago!

They’ll even loot more when you say stop. They’ll build more houses and tell you to live, fight one another and die on the streets, you wretched citizens!

I don’t know who to turn to.

But l’ll try the Lagos state government and the custodians of western Nigeria: please take major proactive steps to ensure the safety of lives and property of all the citizens of Nigeria living in your domain.

Some short films emanating from the recent micro-ethnic wars revealed a lot about the extremely low standard of living and poverty in that part of Lagos.

Please do what you can to provide more employment opportunities, basic education, basic housing, basic infrastructure, possibilities for sport and other extra-curricular activities. They are urgent steps that could avail much.

Don’t forget that the farm settlement schemes will be a big boost for western Nigeria! Please start and develop it in earnest, or boost the existing ones, both private and public.

Youth empowerment, community-based mentorship and leadership programs should not be overlooked.

In our hope and dream of a better Nigeria based on integrated regionalism and a greater Africa the peaceful coexistence of the people will play a pivotal role.

Maybe if the right leadership comes someday, the future generation will radiate the ancient glory of regionally integrated Africa.

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

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