National healing before CONFAB! By JennyChikaOkafor

Jenny Chika Okafor

Jenny Chika Okafor
Jenny Chika Okafor

Looking at all the troubles around us in Nigeria, I believe that we urgently need national healing which in my opinion can only be achieved if we are prepared to dialogue as equals through a National Conference for healing, truth, forgiveness and unity.  Something similar to what South Africa did.

It might not heal all our wounds, but it might create the atmosphere for understanding and tolerance which is currently lacking. It may also assist us in understanding why many of us are different from one another, our varied cultures, traditions, customs etc. and how such differences influence our thinking and attitude towards all the things that should matter to us as a people.

I was not sure whether to laugh or cry over Shettima’s claim that Boko Haram may spread south. I thought that that was the most inane, inflammatory and totally undemocratic statement a sitting governor can make at these difficult time and wondered who on earth advises some of our leaders. Many of them make highly inflammatory, insensitive and dangerously unguarded statements which are strong enough to bring down a government but we simply ignore and forgive them or pull ranks on religious or tribal grounds without recognising the implications of our silence and unbelievable tolerance of evil.

A few days after that statement some Nigerians have been rounded up and accused of being Boko Haram heading down to the South. A bomb has also been found in a place of Christian worship in the south too.  Can anyone see the direction we are going and the ill wind it is bringing with it? The indifference of our politicians to a very volatile situation is now profiling us religiously and regionally.

As a Christian you are an infidel while as a Muslim, you are a suicidal Boko Haram murder. similarly every Hausa man or Muslim going about their legitimate or illegitimate business is now Boko Haram murderer. Christians and none northerners in our troubled  North East must be targeted and exterminated because they are infidels.

What a way for a people to live because of power and politics dressed like religion and tribe? I am wondering where we are going from here and how we will end up.

A clear warning which many people will not want to hear is this; IGBO people remain very bitter about the slaughter of Igbos during the Nigeria Biafra war. To the average Igbo person, the “no victor no vanquish” ideology remains utter nonsense which has metamorphosed into a devastating incurable disease of the mind. This bad disease has poisoned and infected their minds so much that inside the minds of many young Igbos you have precariously placed ticking time bombs which may explode at the slightest threat of any attack on them or their interests anywhere in Nigeria.

So take it or leave it, if Boko Haram is minded to spread East as Shettima has warned, predicted or indirectly directed Booko haram, Igbo boys will be equally minded to brutally challenge them and defend themselves not only as a way of defending their current rights to live as ordinary citizens of Nigeria without being intimidated by anyone, but also as an opportunity to settle old scores and revenge the morally repulsive and unjustified slaughter of Igbos between 1966 and 1970.

I do not want to think about what may happen if Boko Haram and their sponsors in their arrogance continue with their menacing ignorance. One thing I however know is that any such conflict is certainly not going to be a walk in the park for many Nigerians. I just hope that it ends well.

I was a war child and cannot bring myself to think about any Nigerian being caught in another civil war. That is why I sometimes get agitated when people talk about civil war in Nigeria.

Given what I see, feel and sense in Nigeria of today, I think that the way we are allowing Boko Haram to spread unchecked instead of decisively challenging them, is dangerous. If anyone feels that we can no longer live together as one, there is nothing wrong about it. We are human beings who have ideas and opinions and therefore entitled to express them without fear or favour. We only owe ourselves a duty to dialogue in a civilised manner, agree terms, shake hands and go our different ways without killing each other anymore.

A stitch in time saves nine.