I interrupt the ‘How To’ series to say one thing. I am angry. Very angry. So if you want to laugh or have started your day happy stop right here. If your wife has given birth to that bouncing or jumping baby or if you are celebrating your husband’s finding God and quitting drink and womanizing, find something else to read. Now.
I am angry. My dear Kaduna is on fire again. This time, it isn’t a cartoon, or blasphemy, or elections. It was Christian boys going crazy over the bombing of churches. I refuse to use the word that newspapers are using. Reprisals. The word is simply too noble to describe the stupidity of the action. A reprisal requires some sort of target, some thought. Killing a man who is as afraid of bombs as you are isn’t reprisal. Killing your neighbor or the guy you buy meat from isn’t reprisal. That is just plain cowardly. It is like a man who beats his wife because his boss shouted at him at work. It is like a child who kicks his dog because his mother made him wash his own socks.
I also refuse to say, like some do, that the boys who started killing innocent passersby are not Christian. That Christianity is a religion of peace that does not condone violence. The fact is, if a man who professes Christianity kills in the name of protecting Christianity, it is a Christian who attacked. Simple. Just like I think if a man professes Islam and attacks a Church in the name of his religion you cannot try to separate him from his religion.
So now, violence has been deregulated. The Christians do it. The Muslims do it.
Instead of holding inter-religious dialogue after crises like the one in Kaduna, I have a better idea. Come to Abuja at night. Do a documentary of all the posh-club-going, expensive-alcohol-drinking, fancy-sport-car riding stupendously rich residents of Abuja. Show the stupid poverty stricken people of Kaduna how every act of money-induced decadence usually involves both Muslims and Christians. Show them how stolen money is shared equally between Muslims and Christians. Show them how, between a rich and corrupt John and a rich and corrupt Alkasim, you cannot find religion. Only schemes to get more money and power. Show them and let them bury their heads in shame because while they burn and kill, people are getting rich, having sex, eating and drinking. Show them how over bottles of expensive wine, Muslims and Christians blaspheme each other’s religions and hi-five about it. I tell you, this is better than any religious reconciliation.
I am angry. Not because I really need to go to Kaduna and get my microwave but can’t. Not because I am worried for my parents. I am angry because we are blind. Blind to the fact that we are helping to fulfill the prediction about our 2015 breakup. Do we need another prophet to tell us that our real problem is not Boko Haram but our government? Do we need a magic practicing priest to tell us that a President who tells us pointedly that first the guys blowing us up are running the country with him, and next that we are in God’s hands, needs serious help? Should we not be teaming up with those who are comrades-in-poverty to ask serious questions about legislators who, through legal allowances and salaries are among the richest in the world, but still find it necessary to supplement that income with bribes?
Away from the Presidency, should we not be asking our Governors questions? Should my people, the ones who have risen up in defense of their religion and churches not ask why the Southern part of Kaduna City where mostly Christians live is about the worst place to live in Kaduna? The militant boys in Gonin-Gora who are always ready to block the Kaduna-Abuja expressway and slaughter unsuspecting Muslim passengers and motorists when they feel aggrieved, should they not ask why there are no roads in the area, even though their Governor is a ‘Christian’? Should they not ask why parts of that community have not had electricity for months, some parts even for over a year? Should they not be demanding water?
I am angry. That in 2015, these same boys will rise up to demand the re-election of their brother and son, who has not improved their lives in any way. That they cannot see that there is really no difference between a Christian Governor and a Muslim one especially if they are PDP Governors; that there is no difference between a Muslim President and a Christian one.
I am on the phone to my parents several times a day. They too, who live around some of the boys who started the killings after the bombs, are afraid of reprisals by Muslims. Everyone is afraid.
If Nigeria fails it will not be strange. It will be a failure by design. Orchestrated by our successive governments with the complicity of all of us, Muslims, Christians, Traditional worshippers and Atheists.
BY ELNATHAN JOHN