By Aliyu U. Tilde
In 2010, I drove from Maiduguri to Yola through the towns of Bama, Gwoza and Mubi. It was one of the most beautiful sceneries I ever witnessed. I was so overwhelmed that I thanked God to belonging to a country blessed with such terrain of beautiful mountains and exquisite plains. I have since been dreaming to ride on that stretch many times before it becomes too late.
In the past three years, I painfully witnessed the forces of primitivism connive to wreck havoc on the enviable land and peaceful people of the Northeast. Today, my dreams of revisits in the immediate future are dashed.
Two days ago, the largest town in Sardaauna Province where I schooled fell to the hands of Boko Haram. My people – the people of the occupied lands of Borno and Adamawa – are living under tragic humanitarian conditions. They are on their own. No government to supoort them, no army to protect them. They never thought that 52 years after they chose to stay in Nigeria this will become theor fate. Were the Sardauna who so convinced them alive today and powerful, nobody would have touched them.
However, long after the death of the Sardauna, they have their sons in his place. The state governor, the presidential advisers, the ruling party heavyweights, the speaker of the state assembly, the Chief of Defence staff, the GOC 3rd Div of the army, among others, are all from Adamawa North. Yet, these sons of the Higgi, Margi, Fulani and other tribes that inhabit the area have put their personal interests over that of their people. They have failed to bring their weight to bear on a President that has proved to be so deliberately and callously adamant on the humanitarian apocalypse afflicting his people for the primitive reason that they do not come from his own side of the country.
What these politicians and military officers are doing instead is promoting the agenda that will perpetuate the harship of their people: the President’s 2015 ambition. They are, of course, supported by many others who back the President on equally primitive grounds of religion or ethnicity, in spite of his colossal failure to carry out the basic function of a President: security for his people.
This incompetence nourished by primitivity in a nation that boasts of the greatest wealth, population and human resources on the continent is not at all promising. It validates the old claim of J.S. Mill that democracy is fit only for civilised nations of the West. What a shame!
My heart cannot contain my fury over what is happening in the Northeast. It cannot. The little I can do alone is really small, and so is what others like me might do. Howeber there is an opportunity at hand. Come 2015, I would be the biggest fool on the planet if I vote for Jonathan. At least I am wise enough to put reason before sentiment, be it sourced from religion or ethnicity.
This is not politics. It is a duty to my nation, a responsibilty for my people and a commitment to my conscience. If every sincere Nigerian were to search his heart, he would find me and himself on the same plane with the angels. That congregation of hearts and that harmony of voices close to God would be enough to make the devil vacate his seat. I look around in search of such hearts. I wish I could find many at the crucial moment next February.
Only when the embodiment of incompetence is expelled can we hope for a better future in which the subregion will once more secured. Only then will our children, girls, boys, men and women that now wander in the land return to their homes and start to reconstruct their lives. And only then would I, once more, be able to relive my dream of driving along the Maiduguri-Yola road to behold the beauty of that landscape and see the broad smiles on the face of its people.