It is often surprising how Nigerian officials react to issues, especially ones that are a long time coming. It was humiliating, the way our Prof Dora Akunyili purred demurely, reassuring the US that Nigerians are not terrorists and that it was an isolated case. Her position was supported by the declaration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, that the U.S should not criminalize Nigerians.
How come we never assess ourselves? We often underplay the impact created by the events in our country and look for someone to heap the blames on. On criminality, the minister has often hinted that it is the few Nigerians who live overseas and engage in criminal activities that give us the bad image. That is to miss the target. America, and any other country for that matter, does not have to make a list of roadside criminals in order to determine the depth of our criminality. They just look at the people that lead us and event in our country and decide. It is here in Nigeria that a speaker of the house was removed for certificate fraud. It is here that a senate president was sacked alongside a minister for education for fraud. It is here that serving senators and members of the house strut and globetrot when they have mind-boggling cases of fraud against them. It is here that a house committee chairman was sitting over other people in a power probe when he had similar cases to answer. It is here that a police chief was jailed for stealing and here that a member of the house slapped a security detail for not recognizing him. It is also here that a governor escaped from custody overseas to return to Nigeria and here that the police refused to explain the circumstances leading to the execution of Muhammed Yusuf. How many immediate past governors are facing corruption charges and how many elections have been overturned. Here, the president admits his election was faulty and the head of the election body remains. Forget the criminality part. We achieved that status long ago. A former president who is accused of attempting to re-write our constitution to prolong his stay in office did not help. Now our president is ill and we can only guess!
Is our terrorist rating a distortion of facts? U.S is capitalizing on this incident to affix to waiting label. Farouk only gave them reason. When the Boko Haram matter came up, we labelled them terrorists and extremists. Over a thousand people ill-armed, offering themselves to bullets. It is scary. Not even Afghanistan has achieved such suicide tendency. The crisis frightens America because it was an anti-western value riot. That even educated people could rend their certificates in full view and pick up arms is a major signal of what could happen if they have opportunity against western interest. Another one broke out recently in Bauchi. There were international incidents that made Iran, Pakistan and Palestine to carry placards and burn flags. In Nigeria, those incidents led to the killing of security operatives, burning of churches (and government property) and the inevitable killing of Christians. When an offensive cartoon was published in a Danish newspaper, we witnessed a mayhem. It was probably only in Nigeria that deaths were recorded in that incident. When there are incidents in Gaza or Afghanistan, Nigerians would hit the street with weapons and kill other Nigerians.
America is dazed at the speed with which Farouk was trained to accept suicide bombing and embarrassed that he beat them. It is not about whether Farouk was used or trained outside Nigeria. Fact is that Farouk arrived and Nigeria arrived with him. Knowing the number of hotheads in Nigeria, the US has done what it needs to do. Where else in the world do religious riots still happen for flimsy reasons and without repercussions? Nigeria needs to stop losing sleep over what US is thinking and focus on the potential danger posed by this trend to Nigerian targets. Still, this could work to our advantage. Rebuild our country, we would have fewer reasons to go begging America to let us in or to rebrand us. If the house member who slapped a security man decides to vacation in America, he either tells them not to stick telescopes in his privates, or stays at home. They have reasons to rebrand us. If Farouk had succeeded, nearly three hundred would have died in the air alone. The figure may mean little here. In Jos, we were told only four hundred died. The figure means something to America. We have challenges and if this is our opportunity to face them, we need to take it.
Chuma Okoye.


1 Comment

  1. kene okoye said,

    The Nigerian situation is tragic. Rather than address real issues, our Government is beating around the bush trying to save face. It beggars belief that the President has been AWOL for over a month yet we carry on as if nothing is amiss. Farouk’s fiery flame was ignited in the wild North, years before his sojourn in Europe and Yemen.

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