Archive for May, 2014

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“Nigeria is the only country in the world where the best is impossible and the worst never happens.” 

My friend Dr. Dabin is the PDP chairman in Plateau state, with him over the weekend, he told a story of the Igalas of Kogi state. 

The Igalas have a dancing festival, in which the community is supposed to dance all night, starting from mid-night to the next morning. The dance is supposed to be uniform by all dancers. However there is a caveat, as at some point as daybreak beckons, the beat changes. 

And that’s where the danger lies, and the essence of the festival. If you miss the beat and don’t change your dance steps to the new beat and continue the old dance. You are used as a sacrifice/you are offered and killed to appease the ‘gods’.  

While I ruminated over the narrative, for me, it was not about the killing, it was about the change of the beat and the naïve dancer. 

So, its the five weeks, we are still looking to #bringbackourgirls, the United States one thought was going to wave the magical wand, storm chibok, niger, cameroun and chad and fish out Shekau and his bandwagon of insane goons. While that doesn’t seem to have happened, one thing though has occurred. 

Okay, this is it; Rann is a border town with Cameroun and about 160 kilometers northeast of Maidugiri, the Borno state capital.

Boko Haram came calling, as usual with their Hilux vehicles and motorcycles laden with explosives, infact we are informed that they had the benefit of an Amoured Personnel Carrier APC (And by the way, I am beginning a campaign to ask car manufacturer Toyota how their hilux has become a terror operational vehicle for boko haram).
 

The dreaded Boko Haram group was overpowered by vigilance group and what we know as Civilian JTF, this is the catch… “They foiled the attack on the town by confronting the suspected insurgents with weapons and CHARMS TO BLINDFOLD THEM FOR OVER HALF AN HOUR.”

Infact at the end, over 200men of the Boko Haram group were killed, the story continued that about 10 or so of the insurgents with rifles and other ammunitions could not fire any shot. And please don’t ask me why…
 
Before the attack the residents of the town we are told had fortified the town against any attack, so must of the towns and villages in the Kalabalge Local council have been fortified “spiritually” with dane guns, double barrel rifles and bow and arrows.
 
Before going far, what strikes one about this story is that it was corroborated by a military that was near mutiny due to so many reasons including poor firepower against a seemingly more formidable foe.
 
It happened while we were waiting for American commando and marines. It happened while #bringbackourgirls as a message or campaign had hit over 2million retweets. 

My fear is that the beat may have changed and we are still dancing to the old tune, as we engaged on the propriety or otherwise of Mr. President not going to Chibok or going to Le’shibok in Paris, the conspiracy theorists spurn more stories. Shettima was in London doing CNN when none of the actors think much of our own NTA on this matter, not that I do either. 

If the beat has or can change, the use of voodoo and or juju represents is part of the new beat to #bringbackourgirls. I am not asking you my reader to believe in african scud missile or baba ijebu skype that uses only a basin of water or mirror–no need for electricity or internet connectivity. 

But its time I ask, where are the jujumen, the voodoo. Those juju men from Igala, the ijebus noted for their “I go show you” jazz.  Where are the Benin arrangement, una wan carry last. 

Maidugiri as is Kano despite strong Islamic core have reputable seer zones, I know a place where policemen go in Zaria to get “cooked”. I mean fortified from bullets and all sorts. 

Where are the prophets that see everything, and anything including why Jonathan should not contest. Can’t they see where Shekau is or is it that the Sambisa forest coordinates are too strong or have defied. 

If voodoo worked in Rann, should our spritualists not be called to help, can’t our prosperity drone preachers weigh in, they perform miracles and magic, how about the mallams? We really need them now as the beat has changed. 

We need that association of witches and wizards that endorsed Jonathan in the last election to fly their drones and help locate our girls and destroy Shekau.

So, while we ‘politik’ on security, on state of emergency, across party lines etc. I end this admonition on this note. 

When I was in elementary school, I got into a major argument with a boy in my class. I have forgotten what the argument was about, but I have never forgotten the lesson I learned that day.

I was convinced that “I” was right and “he” was wrong – and he was just as convinced that “I” was wrong and “he” was right. The teacher decided to teach us a very important lesson.

She brought us up to the front of the class and placed him on one side of her desk and me on the other. In the middle of her desk was a large, round object. I could clearly see that it was black. She asked the boy what color the object was. “White,” he answered.

I couldn’t believe he said the object was white, when it was obviously black! 

Another argument started between my classmate and me, this time about the color of the object.

The teacher told me to go stand where the boy was standing and told him to come stand where I had been. We changed places, and now she asked me what the color of the object was. I had to answer, “White.”
It was an object with two differently colored sides, and from his viewpoint it was white. Only from my side it was black.
  
Have we done enough to #bringbackourgirls, or just arguing about who stole what, what is the color of Shekau’s canvass. The beat has changed, let’s call the jujumen, the bokas, or else, would I be still writing on chibok–only time will tell. 

 

By Prince Charles Dickson

A man went to a party and drank some of the punch. He then left early. Everyone else at the party who drank the punch subsequently died of poisoning. Why did the man not die?

It’s a simple riddle by my reckoning, one which I will answer by the end of this admonition.

It is now over 12 days since over 200 girls were abducted from their school in a place called Chibok, faraway in Borno state, the stronghold of insurgent terrorist group Boko Haram.

As it is with our DNA and genes, to our leaders across political affiliations it is an issue to engage in political basketbal free pointing. We have engaged in the propriety of whether Mr. President should go a dancing while the girls remain unaccounted for–While All Peoples Congress chieftain Tom Ikimi celebrate his birthday with fanfare.

In faraway US, a mother hadn’t seen her daughter in well over a decade, her heart bleeds as she see pictures of scores of schoolgirls on the news with the words “Still Missing” underneath it.

She knows the pain, you and I do not truly care or know, we don’t know where chibok is, I have heard people retort, “I thought schools were supposed to be closed”, I have listened to women in Borno threaten Jonathan and the federal government.

I  watched helplessly as an extended security meeting, one with the usual suspects do nothing than exchange banters. The fact being the daughters of Chibok are not theirs. The schoolgirls are no royal blood like the Sultan or religious lineage like Oristejefor.

What have we done, for all intent and purpose–NOTHING! Today there’s no crisis room, read four reports and its four different stories, the latest being Boko Haram threatens to kill the girls if the search continues, or that they have moved the girls to another location.

We have argued about figures of girls that escaped or are still missing. In 2014, we don’t even have pictures of these girls or full names. Indicting is how the international media is first to get access to the girls who escaped or parents in pain, while National Television regales with an azonto of one leg from APC to PDP to APC.

All these because the last time you and I checked our kids and siblings were well nestled in bed or in front of the television or ‘holidaying’ with uncle in Abuja and not awol in some dark evil Sambisa forest.

I recall recently a friend lost the daughter, he told me, “after my daughter’s funeral I was going through my phone deleting all the condolence messages. There were so many of them that I simply selected ‘delete all,’ but one message didn’t delete. It was the last message my daughter left me before she passed and it was marked as ‘new.’

Sometimes my voicemail forces me to listen to messages before I can delete them, so played it. She said, “Hey dad, I just wanted to let you know I’m okay and I’m home now.”

Its only people that are well, okay and home that engage on social media campaign like this “To Mum, she’s an Angel! To Dad, a Princess! To Brothers, a Priceless Jewel,To Sisters, a Best Friend! To Aunties and Uncles an Adorable Sweet Child! I am certain everyone reading this  has  one! A girl child, a joy to the world! To be pampered, protected and loved! Over 200 of this precious ones abducted and taken away from their loved ones, forced to become Sex Slaves,Cooks, Maids, and every unimaginable thing to Dark, Evil, Demented, Dirty TERRORISTS! What a Tragedy! Yes, they seem far away in Borno born to Poor Ordinary People BUT just like you, to them these gals are Princesses, Angels, Priceless Jewels and Sweet Adorable Nieces!  Don’t be numb to the Pain. 7days and counting and still no word! No Daily Progress Report or any kind of info from the Govt! This is unacceptable!                                                     I cannot launch a Rescue Mission and neither can you but our Government can! The buck stops at their table! Let’s come together and demand Action. Please rebroadcast and mount the pressure. It works! Say a prayer and keep talking about it Until the Federal Govt takes action and brings them home! Don’t do it for me, do it for the Girl Child in your life!”

Sadly all these are a shake of emotion, who says we can’t launch a rescue mission, I know of one such effort, after all how many can Boko Haram kill, who told us that government would act beyond the current action. We really don’t care. Forget all that protest in Port Harcourt/Lagos/Ibadan etc.

The fact is imagine if 1000 men and women, young and old each were mobilized from 30 states that would be 30,000 and we all headed to that forest in Sambisa, I need not tell us the result. Call me naïve, call us insane, but I am not a dramatic clown who would cry/wail/ and make noise on the floor of the legislative house in Abuja and do nothing. After all its the same nation we all make noise that 1,2,4,9 and 11 million are jobless. Give them catapult and let’s all go a boko hunting and get our daughters back, if we turned out in thousands for non-existant immigration jobs, let’s do same for a cause.

If we don’t know the pain, I know a Chinese mother, a month and a half later, she still carries her phone everywhere she goes, and hopes her daughter will call. She was one of the passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Tomorrow, the girls maybe found, and we may run from it, another possibility is, that may be the end. I heard someone whisper “Allah forbid”. Truth is the trauma of the parents cannot be imagined/narrated, its best experienced and again I hear “God forbid”.

All because our daughters are holed up in some safe UK/US school, in my heart, we cannot reconcile that as a nation we have failed to protect ourselves. Boko Haram over three years, have been burning schools, killing teachers and abducting children, we waited for Chibok, which may not be the last.

Nigerians have a short memory span, soon we will forget, like we have forgotten the ones killed in Yobe schools, we always forget after all the noise–may your daughter be abducted, its not a prayer, its not a wish, but when Tinubu’s or Maku’s daughter is abducted, we will know that Chibok is not a place but a part of us.

The insurgents have like the man at the party, drank, poisoned the drink and we are fighting ourselves–when will we or will we ever conquer: only time will tell.