Ebuka Obi-Uchendu: War is our new normal (YNaija FrontPage)
Mr. President has said that he would surprise us in 2013. I will not hold my breath for that surprise to come in terms of improved security… But there’s little to show that he will deliver. I don’t want to become hopeless. Too many Nigerians are already.
I turned on CNN and almost predictably; there was another news on Syria and how rebels and forces loyal to the government were clashing once again. Many innocent civilians as usual, had been caught in the crossfire and died as a result. The rebels blamed the government, the government blamed the rebels and in what has become the norm, the sad end to people’s lives became just another statistic added to the growing number of deaths in the Middle Eastern country. It was just another day in Syria after all and CNN swiftly moved on to the next headline.
I caught myself shaking my head, wondering why these Syrians couldn’t get tired of fighting what had always been a senseless war anyway. I couldn’t understand why both sides hadn’t still been able to see reason why this fight was going nowhere. Especially why the loss of all these innocent lives didn’t seem to bother either side at all. I found myself saying; “The world is tired of these Syrians and their wahala joo.” Then I realized how much of a hypocrite I was being.
All anyone needed to do was to simply substitute the word ‘Syria’ for ‘Nigeria’ in the first paragraph here, and you would have an equally believable, if not accurate news story. We have slowly but surely (and sadly) slipped into the category of countries that are forever at war. Yes, war! That is what it should be called because I don’t know many countries that would have been able to witness the number of deaths we had to live with (no pun) in 2012 and still be so delusional to claim that they are at peace. It is mind-boggling.
I was always scared that we would get to a point where this becomes our new normal. It is bad enough that Nigerians are very quick to forget and move on. Adding that to a situation where war and terror becomes the norm is never a good sign. But we are at that point. That is the only reason why I would believe that we are easily living Syria’s problems. That’s the only reason why federal ministers would keep getting excited that “GDP is growing in spite of the violence” instead of trying to tackle the problem and fixing it. That is the only reason why we would hear that explosives in Kano destroyed installations of telecoms companies worth millions of dollars and we would not be bothered; after all nobody died. That is why even when people die (which is almost daily anyway) in violent terror attacks, we say “eyaah” and continue with our lives.
The general acceptance of it all and sad delusion that maybe we can live with this war and still make progress as a nation, is where we probably differ from Syria. They know that they have a problem. Both sides are just really headstrong and have refused to shift ground. Here, the government couldn’t be bothered. If the Minister of Information isn’t screaming about the government making giant strides in nation building and how the problem in the North is a small issue, defense and security personal are telling Nigerians to “go about their normal duty and security operatives are on top of the situation.” Makes you wonder what our lives would be like if they weren’t on top of things.
Mr. President has said that he would surprise us in 2013. I will not hold my breath for that surprise to come in terms of improved security. But we all know that nothing would surprise Nigerians better than having a country at peace again. We deserve it. He owes us that much. But there’s little to show that he will deliver. I don’t want to become hopeless. Too many Nigerians are already.
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