(I have been writing parts of this since 2001. The level of violence and incitement to violence has finally pushed me to publish this.)
President Muhammadu Buhari has proved to be a passable President for Nigeria. There are some things he has not done too badly. At the 2015 elections we had to make a choice between the devil and the other devil. There are of course, situations in which Mr President could have performed better. But remember that after the elections in 2011, Buhari reacted badly, when Pro-Buhari protesters took to the streets to express their displeasure, Buhari remained silent. Remember that.
Remember that across the world, in the US, Europe and the UK, there is tacit support for violence. Remember that the guilty ones are not only those that strike a blow, but those who whip up fear and hatred and panic based on differences in race or religion, colour or creed. The guilty ones are not only those who would take a human life, but those who would remain silent when humanity is reduced to the politics of anger and wrath. Remember that.
Our silence is tacit support for violence and our lack of objectivity is apparently worth more than the lives of the innocent. Buhari was silent. And I will not forget that. Neither should you. There is no saint, but neither should we be forgetful in the face of the trivialisation of human life. We cannot forget that some people stood by while young lives burned. But most of all let us remember, that hate will always, always destroy and love will always deliver. May man terrify no more.
I wrote the second part of this in 2001, thinking of the holocaust, apartheid, slavery and genocide. But as more human lives are lost, i cannot remain silent. The nature of man never seems to change….
For Okeoma, Obinna, Precious, Seun and all the Innocent
‘The shouts of the violent rise up in the desert sands,
Their bulging eyes unleash the terror in the hearts,
The terror in their hands, their machetes, their guns, their hatred, innocent blood.
Blood flows through the streets of the city, mingles with the dust,
Mingles with age old blood, shed down the ages,
In the name of religion, politics, money and power, at root of the hatred, wickedness and needless anger,
And in the forest lands and the savannah, people weep, eyes lacking sleep,
Their arms empty and bereft of their loved ones as long as we dwell on this side of eternity.
May man terrify no more.
The answer: we look up to God and take our stand
For people lie broken in our land,
For those who would break the oppressed in their hands
God hears the desires of the needy from where they lie.
He encourages them and listens to their cry.
He defends the fatherless and those of lowly birth,
In order that wicked man, who is of this earth,
May terrify no more.’