Editor’s note: Joshua Oyenigbehin, the NAIJ.com partner blogger, examines why some Nigerians keep silent in the face of tyranny and evil.
Oyenigbehin is a young writer and blogger at Station of Thought. More details in NAIJ.com’s step-by-step guide for guest bloggers.
In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” .
The gory video of a young man being beaten and burnt to death by some men because he was caught stealing last year still remains fresh in our memory. And there is no an iota of doubt that those who had hands in the death of that young man are wicked, heartless, and devilish.
Nevertheless, the truth remains that they are as guilty as those who watch and did nothing to stop the mauling and killing of the unfortunate victim. It is awful that some people could watch as this massacre was going one and they did not.
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Obviously, their thought were, “well, since, I’m not related to this guys, I will just stand- from a save distant and watch as evil is used to repay the evil he has done”. These people are perfect synecdoche of most Nigerians. Just as people watched with indifferent the public execution of that young man, Nigerian are sitting back to watch with incriminating indifferent as people of southern Kaduna-their fellow Nigerians are being killed without a dignity of a trial even if they have committed any crime to deserve such treatment.
Nigerians are disgusting comfortable sitting on the side lines of the events in their country, this culture of indifference have made the few who decide to take responsibility, unaccountable, since there are few people who have the courage and the desire to challenge and criticized them when they go wrong.
Nigerians have gone through lots; the history of the country speaks a lot about the not-too-palatable journey Nigerians have gone through over time. However, it is unfortunate that Nigerians have failed to learn from the evils that line their history, thereby, giving rise to the repetition of these gory histories. We have continued to savour the stench of these evil intent and action repeatedly.
The ripples of the wickedness of Nigerians have instigated super-ripples that keep disrupting the peace Nigerians have never known but wished they had. Those guilty of the evil perpetuated in this country, are not only the faceless Boko Haram members who invade communities, kill, steal and destroy, they are not merely the militants in the Niger delta who vandalise oil pipelines, they are not those who kidnap innocent people for ransom, neither are the criminals who point a gun to you head to dislodge you of your possession, they are especially not just the public officers who use their position to the siphon the country’s commonwealth and behave irresponsibly while in office.
Those guilty of the killing in the northern part of Nigeria are not just the Fulani Herdsmen, who are accused of invading, killing, maiming, destroying properties in communities in the Northern part of the country, especially the recent raid on communities in Southern Kaduna. The culprits are also Nigerians who contemptuously fold their arms while all this evils were perpetuated. They are the bye standers who pride themselves in the silence they exhibit.
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Southern Kaduna is on fire! Nigerians in the state are forced into a war. The lives of the people of Kaduna, and other parts of the country, are being cut short by people we can refer to as evil men, Men, who find pleasure and leisure in spilling the blood of human beings.
However, these culprits are not the only one to be blamed for this. They should share the blame with all those who kept quiet while all these ware happening, People who had the influence and power to make a difference, no matter how small, but refrained from doing a thing.
The fact remains that evil strive when we decide to shot our eyes to it or show our indifferent to evil appearances. Nigerians, obnoxiously, are good at keeping quiet when they are faced with moral crises; as long as they are not directly affected by it.
The Nigerians in southern Nigeria have always seen the people in the Northern Nigerian as the problem of the North; therefore, the problem in the north is not their problem, but only the problem of the north. Nigeria in the north does like wise.
Despite the seriousness of the situation in southern Kaduna, President of the country, President Muhammodu Buhari decides not to say a thing to show his moral support for the people-If that is the least he can do.
The Spokesmen to the President have ignorantly defended the president for his lack of concern for the plight of people of the state; people, who are afraid to sleep at night because they are too scared that the enemies are lurking behind the dark.
In the words of the Femi Adesina, a spokesman to the president: “You don’t have to hear from the president on that matter”. According to him, the President is not obligated to comment on the situation in Kaduna, since covert efforts have been initiated to ensure tranquillity in the state.
It is however disheartening, that the presidency can conveniently and publicly condemn attacks on other countries, while he keeps mute on such attacks in his own country. Let not forget that this people voted for him, with the promise that he would always see to their welfare and show solidarity to their predicament and find solutions to them.
One of the reasons former President Ebele Jonathan lost his esteem Office as the President of Nigeria during the 2015 general election was because of the nonchalant attitude he displayed towards the Boko Haram insurgency raging in the northern part of the country, and especially is disposition to the situation of the abduction of the Chibok girls during his tenure.
His nonchalant attitude, his inaction and body language cause Nigeria the lives of her citizens especially that of the girls. Just like the government we have had in the past and the one we are contending with, Jonathan Paid lips services to these issues, with showing much concern.
Nigerians have been in and out of crises, because those who are in the position to condemn and speak against the vices perpetuated by powerful Nigerians decided to shot their mouths.
Nigeria would not have suffered the huge material and human losses during the Nigerian Civil War if some Nigerians in other part of the country were bold enough to come out to condemn the killing and ethical cleansing of the Igbos and other tribes of the south-south by their fellow Nigerians in other parts of the country, especially in the North.
Ethno-Religious Crises in Nigeria will be minimal if religious Leaders traditional leaders and Clergymen commit themselves to saying the truth at all time and discouraging their followers from any form of religious bigotry, violence and hatred, most of them decide to use their exhorted position and influence as a tool for personal gratification.
Also, corruption would not have a place in the Nigerian society if we actively get involved in the fight against corrupt leaders and corrupt mechanism. Rather, we folding our arms to watch as our resources are drained into the pocket of few men. Spiritual leaders are guilty of this.
They encourage corrupt and unlawful men by their silence and cowardice. Abdulmumin Jibrin is an epitome in this regard, he awoken not just himself out of culture of inaction that plagues the Nigerian society and the Nigerian government (especially the Legislative Houses) but also other Nigerians who are in similar situation.
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Political Apathy in Nigeria is the cause of all the abnormalities in the country. Nigerians don’t want to get involve in the governance process of their country. They are afraid, dejected or depressed, by the awful situation that they can find an alternative to placing the governance of the country on the autopilot in the hands of mediocrity.
It is painful also, that most religious leaders discourage their followers from venturing into the polity of their country, in fact parent frown against it. The bottom-line is that political apathy is the height of the indifference and inaction in the Nigeria.
Nigerians complain about the bad leadership. However, in the word of Barack Obama, “if something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself” instead of sitting and governing with the lips.
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Our Inaction has gotten us nowhere, other than where we are presently, the erratic power supply, the bad road, the failed education system and other oddity in our society, are, obviously, as a result of the decisions of some Nigerians who decided not to do something or say something about the abnormalities in the system.
For us to evade this vicious circle of poverty and obscurity we all need to do the needful in ensuring that the right things are done and the vices in the society are shunned.