Published on April 23rd, 2011 | by Olumide0
My Thoughts on the Violence in the North
My deductions about the violence in the north:
1. Buhari/Bakare did not cause the violence. It was an expression of frustration from people who have been brought up to believe that violence is an acceptable way of life.
2. I am of the opinion that Buhari and probably Bakare could have salvaged the situation by issuing a strong condemnation of the attacks ON TIME and using RADIO (not Facebook). I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi, a man whose supporters once went into violence in retaliation of killings by Britons. Gandhi had to go on a fast (or hunger strike) and when it was obvious that he was going to die if the violence didn’t stop, his supporters had to call it off. In fact, they started sending flowers to the same Britons that were killing them just because they didn’t want Gandhi to die. So although you may not be able to control the reactions of your followers at certain times, you have the responsibility to give it your best shot. I am aware of Buhari’s condemnation of the attacks on BBC Hausa. I just feel it wasn’t done early enough.
3. We shouldn’t be so short-sighted as to ignore the root cause of this kind of violence. Pavlov’s Experiment demonstrates that even dogs are products of conditioning- they respond to whatever they see, feel, smell or hear every day. If people see poverty, hear murder under the guise of Islam, feel cheated and watch as their leaders play big-man with the monies that should accrue to them while they (the commoners) beg for this same money, is it a surprise that they are behaving like animals now? They’ve had decades of training!
4. We create the future today. I’ve repeatedly spoken and written about the students I’m teaching. In the name of free education, they belong to a school where there are just about 6 permanent staff. The students don’t understand English, have no books (yet they have free meals)… SS2 students don’t have the flimsiest idea of what a JS1 student should know. Now, the society turns out such ‘graduates’. They will definitely not get jobs because they are not employable. 5 years from now, many of them will be poised to repeat what just happened in the North. Again, at that time, we would most likely blame the most convenient excuse.
5. The crowd is easily swayed. If you manipulate them well enough, they would praise the bad and destroy the good. Now, the real people who should be held responsible for the violence are the ones issuing threats to the “convenient excuse”.
6. Words are powerful. But taking statements out of context is criminal. Many have faulted the statements of Buhari and Bakare as being inflammatory meanwhile they themselves condemn it by using much more inflammatory statements. I believe everyone should be held responsible for his words, however, not by myopically extracting quotations out of context. Who said the following? Jesus!
“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34).
“He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” (Luke 22:36).
“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
Who said that he would destroy the temple and rebuild it within 3 days (that was like saying he would tear down the national flag or burn a Quran to a Muslim)?
My point is simply that it is dumb to extract a statement from someone and manipulate it into implying that that is the person’s philosophy. By so doing, we are leaving the real causes of this violence and focusing on detractions.
7. In all, my call still goes back to the Jonathan administration. Now, he has 4 years to make a whole history of wrongs, right. He has 4 years not only to pacify these people, but to make sure that the quality of life of the average Nigerian is elevated. He has to take the illumination of education to the North and destroy the barriers of corruption their leaders have erected. Thankfully, they have now rebelled against their own leaders. it is now clear that if you are breeding lions for your protection, they may also turn against you one day.
Today’s violence is but a warning. If we don’t attend to the root causes, we would have a repeat 4 years from now- and that is not a prophesy. It is a fact.