Death and a Nation: A Bloodied Path to 2019 By Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq.
You can choose to look away or shrug it off soon as the TV goes off or the radio is turned down. While the pages of newspapers and the inked screens on social media platforms are stained in the copper-red of fresh blood drying on the corpses of mothers, children and fathers, you can choose to take sides and play politics.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow you wait for the numbers and chew words over those received. We talk about the 74 dead in Benue, the 25 (and counting) in Taraba. Over 20 in Kogi, innumerable in Jos and the scattered cluster of old and young men and women in the eastern towns of Enugu and Ebonyi. This is because lives in Nigeria are now nothing more than numbers.
You ‘ve let greed, hate and politics turn you into an accountant of Death, keeping ledgers of maimed souls debited in their prime while leaving the balance books unbalanced by an absence of retribution for the guilty.
Because a cousin or sister or mother or father isn’t lost, you find no cause in the pains of survivors. Because the numbers-book have no column yet for your state and locality, you feel no threat. Your ambition is tied to that man or woman whose ambition is in turn tied to that man or woman and to another and another till the strings hook unto Mr President, or that Senator or Governor or Minister or neighbourhood politician- you bottle those words that ought to call order out of darkness.
You mute your caution and rationalise your greedy priority. You sell your conscience and soul for crumbs ostensibly in loyalty to those who hoard the truth and profit from these deaths. So now truly, the blood of baboons and dogs are spilt for the ambition and ego of one and the few?
Know this then, these deaths and sorrow will find you. There in that cosy spot of yours as your tongue wags in brazen defence of what is wrong. These pain will find you, on your waking steps and sleeping hours. The cries from the hearts of mothers, fathers and children snatched of comfort and consort will reach you and its din will undo you.
You can choose now when the choice avails you, to come out of Babylon and speak the truth. To make penance for your complicit role in the deaths of many by a maurading few. You must be ready to make penitence in whatever form it comes. For the wages of sin is indeed death. Death of a legacy, the death of a name, death of a form that lives a pulse in you but takes your soul away.
As for me and my family, our consciences are clear and our stand crystal. At pain of oppression and intimidation, the truth must be told. At risk to aspiration and ambition, I boldly say this pain, these deaths are too contrived to be coincidences. The silence from above is complicity and the priorities of government must bring shame to us all.
The road to 2019 starts from your doors- yes you, you and you. Take that step and be that one vote to count and help make a difference. Be that citizen- man or woman, whose voice rises boldly to speak the truth at all times. Do not let your apathy lead our nation down the grave.
Do not let your silence amplify the sound of sorrow that pours through from the remotest ends of the country to its city gates and beyond. Find your voice in our shared humanity and in the name of our mutual struggle and history. Let’s call a spade a spade.
We are not ignorant of political devices. We are not unknowing of political plots. Those who play this game of death to earn speaking points will lose their voices before it is found. Those who gamble away lives and properties to make their political opponents ineffectual do so at a peril to selves and cohorts.
We are driven as one people united by our common pain and struggles. Our vanguard is one and indivisible, and we shall (because we can) prevail through these times to better days. Together, we are one for all and all for one!
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. is the Principal Partner of Pelumi Olajengbesi & Co. Law Corridor and the National Coordinator of YouthLeadNigeria Campaign.