Nigeria quickly forgets her own

November 28, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Lekan Oyekanmi/AP



Prince Charles Dickson

A man is wearing black, black shoes, socks, trousers, and, gloves. He is walking down a black street with all the street lamps off. A black car is coming towards him, its lights off but somehow manages to stop in time. How did the driver see the man?

I would start my admonition this week by telling this story, in one of those states in one of those regions in the country called Nigeria, a set of Corp members were resuming in their locale of posting and were scheduled to meet the paramount ruler of the area; at the meet other villagers were all there fitted and the paramount ruler bellowed in a deep voice…”These ones na government children make una no chop them ooo.”

Do not ask me if the kids stayed put through the service year, and just musing if indeed they were killed, who would have bothered?

My essay today is not exactly about Corp Members, and not certainly about the army officers and men that are killed in service to the nation, nor is it about the few Police officers that pay the ultimate sacrifice fighting daredevil robbers, sure one cannot discount the other arms of the establishment like the Civil defense, Road Safety Officers and the like that ultimately answer the call while serving the nation. How about the ordinary Nigerian on the street…in their scores that lose their lives doing something tangible for a better Nigeria.

Let me refresh our memories briefly, some two years ago, I lost my friend Col. Kabiru Salisu, he was killed in an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), his death one that Nigerian combat troops drafted to Borno simply cannot understand. And just like Lt. Col Abu Ali he paid the ultimate price.

Kabiru was a respected troop commander, a fine gentleman and officer par excellence; he left behind two wonderful kids, a loving wife. He was killed in an ambush. In Ali’s case, we have even heard a few conspiracy stories, Ali left a family too.

Kabiru would go to Camerounian heights to get across family and friends due to network restrictions. He was fighting insurgents for a better Nigeria.

He was already fatigued; he had spent 91 days in combat uniform. We might say he signed for it, but he was cut off in his prime.

Imagine the pain his parents in Kaduna still go through, I wonder how they feel each time they see their grandkids or other soldiers. Salisu was Muslim, and he was killed. On his phone the status read—The originator of heavens and earth. When he decrees a matter. He only say unto it. “Be-and it is.”

Kabiru loved his job, and loved his nation, he is one of many soldiers that have paid the ultimate price, Muslims, Christians, pagans, inclusive.

To date, Kabiru’s kids, Kariri and Bubu, are one of the many such children whose gallant soldier parents have died so that you and I reading this can live. However not just them, many Nigerians are dying and the system simply does not care.

They said, “Mocking bird, you are accused of insulting the king.” It asked when would it have time to insult the king, seeing that it must sing two hundred songs in the morning, two hundred in the afternoon, and two hundred at night, mixing it all up with some frolicsome notes?

It is rather sad that in the midst of all these killings, Nigerians are battling each other along religious, ethnic and party lines. The divides, dichotomies and compartmentalization are growing. Like the Mocking bird making unnecessary excuses and noise.

We talk of Col. Salisu, Lt Col Ali, and scores of soldiers that we do not even know their names, some the military authorities take ages to notify their kith and kin of their whereabouts. However, the simply fact is that these men and sometimes women are forgotten, and when they are not forgotten very little is really done for them.

The man driving a black car in my earlier analogy, who avoided killing the man wearing black, was able to see despite all the darkness because there was light. We forget our own, the Military cemetery is nothing to write home about, our kids know next to nothing about our national heroes, they attend American and British styled curriculum schools where they are taught about George Washington, and Margret Thatcher, and when in public schools their teachers are busy selling local zobo drink and knitting sweaters.

The Nigerians that are remembered, celebrated and honored and either the Failed School Certificate (fsc) holders in the army, the thieves in the political class, who with all the honors end up as guest of the EFCC. If you wear black in Nigeria, chances are that you are on your own…Nigeria has no place of honor for her men and women. If care is not taken, we all are at our village at our own expense; to be pounced upon at the discretion of the host, intruders and no one to help out.

The driver in the puzzle saw the man because it was day, and there were no distractions…

I can only in sincerity hope against hope, that despite the distractions and expectation fatigue, as one remains proud being a Nigerian with deep regrets, Nigerians may yet see the light of our precarious state, but—only time would tell.










Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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