DIVIDE AND RULE; THE VEIL CONCEALING FULANI HERDSMEN ATTACKS IN NIGERIA

            The various perspectives surrounding the herdsmen attacks in Benue, Nasarawa, Southern Kaduna and other regions of the country, calls for quick but rational and retributive attention. This is because, it has thrust some uncanny reactions far out of proportion. Some Nigerians fear the attacks are premeditated to propagate the ‘islamization’ of northern Nigeria and the country as a whole. Others see it as an organized attempt by enemies or oppositions to mock Buhari’s crown over insurgency and insecurity. Some still maintain it is the usual inter-ethnic rivalries common in Nigerian rural areas. As numerous as these thoughts could be, it becomes more complex to filter out a cogent truth that could navigate the hands of adequate responsiveness, towards a lasting solution on the national space. Its corollary also poses cataclysmic threats to us. These insinuations, if not tamed, could set the next flames our innocent troops will be suffering to quench. Worst of all, Nigerians could soon find themselves, touring the gory paths of settling differences, thus: religious, ethnic and political violence. Bearing these repercussions in mind, we cannot romance our national consciousness, into the nonchalance of bypassing the most probable instigator, an old idea of the political class: ‘the Divide and Rule Style’.

               The Divide and Rule style is no doubt the relic that has haunted Nigerians for a period too long to number. It keeps twinkling at punctuated intervals to bring about flashes of misery and the agony that have made life no better than death in our own country. The activities leading from 2012 to 2015 are not farfetched. As we cannot forget in a hurry, it was the problem of faceless boko haram which nicknamed former president G. E. Jonathan: ‘a careless fellow who delivered his own people into the hands of insurgents to be made slaves on their own lands.’ It was further intensified with the allegations that, the high-handed corruption he grappled with loosed hands, crippled the capacity of our military; so that, his success back on seat was not negotiable. These divided Nigerians. The Hausas who were caught in the cross fires made it clear that the Man with the hat must know a thing or two to do with it. Hence, Buhari was the best candidate.

          When Martin Luther King Jr. cautioned that it was better for himself and his comrades to live as brothers than die as fools, it was not just about the senselessness of a ‘black uniting with a black against a black’, he figured out there was a need for nationhood to glue out any form of manipulation by the Dominant Space. However, it is quite unfortunate today, that our borderline of nationhood is porous to the old divide and rule system; as though we have not all suffered from it. The President M. Buhari’s led administration has failed to challenge the very essence of leadership. We all knew the complexities before we voted for the change mantra. Instead, we are ridiculed with lies and blame games, inability to curtail the sufferings of the very man who elected him. The idea of exerting long suffering on the people, as a panacea for a happy ending has only made matters worse for the masses he claims to be representing. We celebrate security in the nation’s capital as though the rural areas enjoy same. The rampage of Fulani herdsmen has continued to gain applause from the incompetence of this administration to protect its citizens. It appears clearly that boko haram has worn a different mask. As we speak today, the security of life and property is still very well threatened. Even worst, the Nigerian social sphere is beginning to suffer wider gaps of divisions as a result of the perceived nepotism of this administration. These are concrete evidences to prove that this administration is guilty of the divide and rule style.

             Draw an analogy of the immediate past and present government and you will see yourself standing in the middle of their cross fires. Like the unpleasantness of an old song to the ears, the words of Luther King Jr. must play into the rhythm of our situation; “it is better for us to live as brothers than die as fools.” The advice of former president, O. Obasanjo, should not be forsaken. The Coalition for Nigeria must be planted against the desertification encroaching on our nationhood. Every breath we take must grow us towards a well-meaning democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. We cannot underestimate the potency of this remedy as it was long foreseen by Achebe, (2012) as thus:

First we have to nurture and strengthen our democratic institutions…Strive for the freest and fairest elections possible, create a new patriotic consciousness not just one based on the well-worn notion of the unity of Nigeria or faith in Nigeria But rather one based on an awareness of responsibility of leaders to the led on the sacred schools and intellectuals.

When this is done, the bountiful harvest for us and the generation to come will be:

Under such rubric democracy, eligible candidates will find path in the various offices, free press can thrive and thus allowing a strong justice system to flourish. More so checks and balances will accurately find their footings hence it is from such environment that a leader, humbled by the trust placed upon him by the people, will emerge, willing to use the power given to him for the good of the people, (Achebe, 2012).

       On the whole, the divide and rule system is the deadly device that has been used to deny the Nigerian people a befitting livelihood. The incompetence in ensuring the security of lives and property of the past administration is culpable on the present. The political gimmicks only seem to have worn different masks; the agenda of robbing the God-created Nigerian of life still remains. However, we have come to the point where Nationality can no longer be sacrificed on vain alters of cheap popularity and senseless divisions. This we must do by forming a formidable coalition for the love of Nigeria. Where the tie that binds us must not be of blood, religion, empathy nor sympathy, but a pain that means our pain; one that pains us all.

          God bless Nigeria!

Alpha Enoch Yamush

2018

 

References

Achebe C. There was a Country New York: Penguin Press. 2012 Punchng.com/full-letter-obasanjo-writes-buhari-asks-president-to-halt-2019-ambition

 

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KISMET

You own the oil

We tilt the soil

We built the alter

You will the scepter

We say the prayer:

Let every toil by karma repay

‘Amen Lord!’ you answer

 

Look up to kismet countrymen

With our sweat soaked faces

We shall sniff clear our nostrils

With your watery-spring tongue

You will lick your nostrils

For your hands are too dirty

Nor your face any sweaty

 

Alpha E. Y. 2018

The Land’s Libation. (In memory of the bloods spilled in Benue State, Nigeria)

The masquerades were beckoned again

To dance rhyme-less cha-cha-cha of bane

Traced by blood-dripping leaves

It led to the theatrical abattoir

Where an acapella of clanging knives

Echoed like symphony of a mass choir

Our pregnancy protruded to see

When the holy choragus sings

In a rage of spilling blood

It gushed in a shimmery flood

With our heart’s purgation

We poured the land’s libation

 

Alpha E. Y. 2018

PARA SIEMPRE

On my life’s petals, wide and red

Your memories beam my dear friend

Like fireflies twinkle in the dark

Your smile winkles on my heart

 

You wrote in a night’s tale

A compendium of our lives fairy tales

You grew in flickering moments

Roses of our lives better days

 

The wrinkles on your senescent face

Will not blur your enamouring place

On the corridors of my journey’s end

I’ll hold your hand through every bend

 

Alpha Enoch Yamush

2018

TIME SLEPT

Time slept

Madiba crept

Needling tunnels

For Soweto

 

Our polished fathers yawned

Ate light off each day

And cuddled at nights

Sucking and gulping

Mother’s bustling milk

And slept on silk

 

When time arose

Soweto jingled tambourines

We only glared

Licked like Almajiris

Wishing food crumbs

Tables never freed

 

When time arose

Madiba lay aloft

Munching world praises

They laid still

Perhaps, dustless in peace

 

Alpha Enoch Yamush 2017©

 

1960s

1960s,
Greater than treaties.
We won our freedom
But lost our people.
Successions of pogroms,
Rebirths of riddles.

The atmosphere
Was fair,
Full of promises,
Like Noah’s rainbow.
On a platter it rippled
Yet we lost our people.

All gone astray,
Wondering in ambition.
In lies they pray
It gives them satisfaction.
They untie to us snakes
And close their gates.

Every four years,
They work tirelessly.
With sweat and tears.
I tell you very fiercely.
Setting time bombs,
While they fly abroad.

 

Alpha Enoch Yamush 2017©

My Dangling Memories

 

My dangling memories of yesterday
Dangles like a spider to a web string
It haunts me from a distance faraway
Will my hanging from a noose, freedom bring?

My heart-beat now a heated steam
That emits vapours of tears from deep within
My sight blurs at the face of love
When from the groans of a birthing mother it pours

All I know is the sordid lesson it bought
When for my innocent heart love I sought
Without discretion my heart it burnt
Alas, love burnt but loved me not.

Alpha Enoch Yamush 2017©

A NATIONAL TESTIMONY

Every part of our roof leaks
Our refuge is the space from one leak to the other
The drops on us, burn like trickles of magma
Heated by our fury for vengeance
At the clouds that gave us the rain

Our trees are falling
On our dogged shoulders they lean
For their falls to us is an out-pouring
Of the boiling sun
Heated by our fury for vengeance
At the years that grew them tall

Farewell our blighted farms we bade
To fallow from home, we sailed
To greener lands unknown
Now, nothing to call our own
Baba, may I beckon a Versed Emissary?
Once immersed in the blood of Abel
Or await your dreams so fairy?
And languish in this misery?

Alpha E. Y. 2017©

Recycled Life

Tabwal stands staring at the big yellow sun, splash into the western clouds. Whatever ran through his mind, one could tell from the solemn looks on his face that, conscious satisfaction breaths far from him. He is empty of any manliness. The sober fall of the sun which greets the evenings of Wamba, forges newer generations of tragic heroes. The early appearance of the moon is an ordeal to many survivors. Perplexing is the unfair treatment it inflicts on many like Tabwal, in a town, not big enough to contain the dreams they could work all day to have come true. This pricks one with a thirsty enthusiasm to seek and unveil the cockroach nature has in its cupboard, for having the same people of like fate exist in Wamba. A life you can call a recycled one. Nothing went straight developmentally. In fact, the few iron-shit roofs sitting flamboyantly at Ago Hills are canopies of a shy mirage. Not a proud story to be told nor a beauty to behold. For the few houses that succeed in crowning their mud bricks, corrugated shits, have in them the usual bamboo and raffia, resting on each other, so that, a moderate level is formed for a bed.

Tabwal waves Akumu goodnight and sets upon his usual lonely road. He staggers lackadaisically, dragging his loaded financial trauma along the grassy plains which leads to his home. This added load of misery is heaped upon him by the deflated tyre of his wheelbarrow; a factor that consistently denies him a full-day work. It goes flat any time he sets for the biggest deal of the day. He has to do something about it, if he will one day, stand the rating of the male gender. Yes, he has to fix it, else, he would not get to the People’s Republic today. The People’s Republic is a popular eatery which has grown to be the comfort zone of Tabwal and his contemporaries. They yearn for the satisfaction of the food, and dream of the varieties of locally brewed drinks it offers. Factor, they consider in maintaining their culture. In fact, they equality and reverence of voice it liberates to them replaces the dead people they are.
Pulling a sharp stop, Tabwal turns the wheelbarrow to the ground so that the handle is facing where he headed. The pan lies flat to the ground and pointing the devil-born tyre to the skies. He unties the screw between the shaft and the wheel but could not get a good hold of it hence, he bends his right knee to the ground so that his left leg is some inch before it. Frustrated by the trickles of salty sweat from his face now streaming down to his mouth, Tabwal pauses to wipe them off. He wipes his face severally with his wrist, hissing out all forms of lamentation; his usual saying: “we won our freedom but lost our people… even more, we’ve bread leaders ordained on alters coated by our bloods.” This further leaves him wondering if being a well-fed slave is a more honorable dignity than being a hungry free man. A question he would ask God if he makes it to Heaven.
Tabwal has his locomotive back on its wheel again just in time to catch the moon on the brink of chewing the last remains of sunlight for that day. Pushing through a light bush swaying dancingly by the gentle air breezing, Tabwal makes it to the People’s Republic to meet Birabi, Audu and Aklo all seated and munching what their toiling for that day could fetch. “All hail the Republicans” Tabwal salutes from the corrugated zinc-coated entrance. Without hesitation, he grabs a seat and calls out to Pam, the waiter. “Four parks of noodles, one boiled fish and three fried eggs.” He ordered without mincing words.
“I tell you, that greed-filled pot belly is our major barricade to success.” Aklo crunched out the words with particles of biscuit from his mouth. “I dare you to break it open and you will see that, it is that gluttony that has reaped us of our destinies.” He added. Pam chuckles while pickling Tabwal’s eggs. “You fat lab rat, keep laughing like that and all you will end up with from this falling shop of yours is a rusty, yet guarded relic. Your son will hand it over to his son with no electricity in it.” Birabi, haven listened to a perfect introduction to his seminal essay continues from where Aklo stopped. “We’ve got all the fortune to change us from ordinary wheelbarrow pushers into bus drivers or perhaps, attendants to some government busses.” He hisses out loudly and waving his right hand in the air, as if to signal a crowd out of his sight. “I hear there are a lot of them parked in Maitama. They were bought to convey the civil servants who now own cars. Who would drive in them anyway?” He concludes, with his eyes now gazing at Tabwal. “I tell you faithful republicans that, this is the reason to why the margin between us and freedom is like from the solid earth to the fairy skies. Who the hell named the word “democracy” into existence? God is the only government I know.” “Birabi, you sound as if God is a place we can go to after tonight, because I don’t want to see the face of tomorrow. We are all pathetic to think a divine hand would lift and fly us somewhere other than earth. The only place where true freedom can be found is the space between heaven and earth” Tabwal suggests. Banging the empty calabash on the table, he stands “You know what? Nothing can feel better than a second chance that would accommodate me as a major character. The current plot of life we are in, needs to be looked at again by God.” He says this with all seriousness this time, pulls his old coat from behind his chair and heads towards the door. He was losing his temper amidst his turbulent senses and eyes. That would mean too much to handle. Tabwal’s words came hard upon the republicans like a gavel smash the table. So that, the house falls under the spell of a bewildering silence. Their thoughts must have been sent on a wild quest for answers beyond God. Tabwal bangs the door behind him. He raises his arms to shoulder level to rest on an imaginary support as he struggles to find the slightest sight to his next step. “Fools, they will never learn” he condemns, as he staggers into the night, fairly lighted by the moon.

Alpha E. Y. 2017©