VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA: The Tyrants amongst Us ~ Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede
“What saddens the heart most is that the same people who had endured years of untold economic hardship and insecurity, still grant their attention and courtesy to unrepentant leaders who come to their door steps during election periods to ask for their votes for more misery years of economic degradation and lawlessness. And yet, like a cow being cooperatively led to the butcher slab, they give them their votes.”
The annual global Eid Al Adha celebration as marked on the Islamic calendar has once again come upon us. It comes as a time for all Muslims to reflect and rededicate one’s belief in God’s power to bring an end to man’s sufferings, wars and pray for peace amongst brethren all over the world.
In Nigeria, it is revered as the Eid-el-Kabir or more popularly, Sallah. This is one of the few occasions in a year that brings people of different religions together to celebrate with Muslims for the ensuing festivities. It was a welcome experience for Muslims to open their doors to all visitors on this special occasion, regardless of one’s religion. For some, it is an opportunity to fulfill the alms giving which they might not be totally faithful to in the course of the year.
However, in recent years, Sallah celebration is gradually losing its dynamic and celebratory touch amongst residents of most parts of the country. This is a new development that adversely affects both the celebrants and well-wishers - no thanks to the tyrants of our land.
Around the time of celebrating the Sallah of 2010, a large cache of arms shipmentlabeled as construction materials was intercepted at a sea port in Lagos, Nigeria. In the aftermath investigations, it was argued that the ‘strange’ gift was enroute the Niger Delta region of Nigeria to the waiting reception of the Niger Delta militants. Other authorities maintained it was headed to another West African country, notably, Gambia.
The alternative to the seized arms proved too much to bear as the Islamic insurgent group, Boko Haram claimed their first major massacre during a church bombing that December. An estimated 38 people lost their lives, further confirming the message from the group of their businesslike seriousness.
This, in comparison to the days of military dictatorship, proved to be worse. The worst of crimes in the brutal days of dictatorship would have been to disregard the government either by word of mouth or through participation in an anti-government activity. But, never have people been put to such unprovoked fear in the convenience of their homes and regular daily activities.
But in broad daylight, around the time of Sallah celebrations of 2011, an estimated 63 people were reported killed in bomb and gun attacks on innocent people by the insurgent group, Boko Haram, almost a year after the major attack the December before, and a much bigger casualty than an attack earlier in June of same year claiming about 25 lives. While unconfirmed sources reported counting as much as 100 dead bodies in the aftermath of the Damaturu event, the fear of a helpless government in the face of these fierce attacks was quickly becoming a reality.
The tyrants in State houses in response to these attacks reinforced security in the nation’s capital, and fortified their residences including the state house with huge sums of tax-payers money. The same tax-payers whom they effectively have failed to protect.
What saddens the heart most is that the same people who had endured years of untold economic hardship and insecurity, still grants their attention and courtesy to unrepentant leaders who come to their door steps during election periods to ask for their votes for more misery years of economic degradation and lawlessness. And yet, like a cow being cooperatively led to the butcher slab, they give them their votes.
Here is another period of the holy festivity, as I wish our Muslim brothers and sisters a happy celebration, I do hope that they will take a moment to reflect on the lives that have unnecessarily been lost due to the carelessness and nonchalant attitude of those they elected as the custodians of their rights to life, liberty and property, and to meditate on an ideal alternative.
The worst a government can do is to stand by as the people are being slaughtered by powers and principalities the same government finds it difficult to develop a political will to stand up against. The real tyrants are not those taking the laws into their own hands, but those with the vested powers to prevent the rise of those that perpetrate such crimes, yet sit back and do nothing.
For the sake of the younger generations, and those unborn, it is time to rise up and demand for the security of lives, liberties and properties such that these younger and unborn generations can someday live to celebrate Sallah in the land of their fathers.
Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede is a Columnist on the AfricanLiberty VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA (VOLA) project